Even though summer is in full swing here in Eastern North Carolina, it's not a bad idea to start thinking about some great off season hikes. When that pumpkin-spice aroma starts flowing and the first frost finally sends the mosquitoes into hibernation, it's nice to get back into the forest.
A great quick hike with easy access to the main highway (highway 24 in this case) is the Patsy Pond Nature Trail in Carteret County. Located near the NC Coastal Federation headquarters, this trail has 3 loop routes through a longleaf pine forest and around some small ponds (Patsy Pond is the largest). It's flat and the trail is well marked.
These photos are from hiking the trail in March. As I write this (in early July), the NFS has just completed a controlled burn in the Patsy Pond area - so if you head out to the trail now bring bug spray and expect some charred landscape (I think it looks kinda cool after a burn).
All and all, a nice and easy hike recommended for all!
~Paul, Amber, & Eleanor
P.S. - Be sure to check the hunting season if you want it extra chill on this trail (or at least wear orange!). The NCCF states that hunting occurs Oct-Feb & April-May. They have complimentary orange vests to borrow across the street at the NCCF building. Read more about this and the trail at nccoast.org.
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