Saturday, May 26, 2012

OBX Running

Each year, I like to take one active vacation and absolutely get away from everything.  These are the best vacations to get in a few good runs, ride bikes, go hiking, or try random 'resort' sports like kayaking.  This is usually followed up by laying on the beach dead tired, and doing nothing, eating a huge dinner, and then heading back to watch a movie at night before passing out before 11.  I wake up early and start over again.  I could do this for months, but I suppose then it wouldn't be called a 'vacation'.

Ocracoke Island was about the perfect place for this.  Some people would get bored, and maybe I would have after more than 2 nights.  The whole island is about 16 miles long, but has only one town, and everything in town is so close that you practically can go without a car.  Most people drive around in golf carts or ride bikes around the island.  No highways, no large commercial hotels, no chain restaurants -- but strangely enough a really good Thai place.  The beaches are practically empty -- decent for running, only down side being that many parts aren't accessible because they are closed off for bird nesting. I put in my longest run mostly around town, with a short loop around Springer's Point, and going back and forth on a dirt road connecting NC 12 to the south side of the beach, just outside of town.

Amazing that this is really only 3 hours of driving + 2 1/2 hour ferry away from Durham.

Springer's Point Nature Preserve - Ocracoke Island
Desolate beach in Ocracoke at sunrise

We then took the ferry across to Hatteras and drove up to Buxton where we stayed for 2 nights on the sound.  And after 20 years of living in the state (off and on), I finally saw and climbed up to the top of lighthouse.

The beach near the lighthouse is a little better for surfing than running.  Erosion is a huge problem just naturally (the whole Outer Banks are shifting gradually to the southwest).  Recent hurricanes (Isabel, Irene) have only made this worse.  I tried running a little at Buxton Woods preserve, but the path was mostly soft sand with poor footing, which made for running away from the horseflies (worse than Umstead on a muggy late-May morning) all the more difficult.  The beach in Frisco seemed like it would be a little better, but I did not run there.



One of NC's most famous landmarks


Sunset on the Pamlico Sound

Not on our list of beach vacation movies.



For the record, a apocalyptic/rogue-wave movie probably should be re-done every 5 years or so.  The 2012 version would make no attempt at creating a plot -- just lots of animated destruction.



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