A Winter to Remember

It is hard to believe that it was only Wednesday of this week when I snapped this peaceful picture of Bogue Sound and Emerald Isle. Tonight the east coast from North Carolina to New Jersey is under assault from Mother Nature.

Here on the Crystal Coast, we have managed to get our temperatures up to 63F at 11PM on Friday night. Just three hours inland from us, the temperatures have stayed in the thirties all day.

Many areas of western North Carolina and Virginia saw
snow, sleet, and freezing rain this morning, We got by with just a gloomy day until the rain started this afternoon. I figured we were in for some nasty weather since our pelican and big blue heron were hanging out in the water in Bluewater Cove this morning.

Tonight it has rained as hard as I have ever heard it. We truly do not need any more rain for a while.

The only good that we might get out of this storm is the all that warm rain might help to moderate the water temperatures. Of course the White Oak River will have such a shot of fresh water that all the salt water fish will head offshore anyway.

I had a mission when I was driving around Wednesday taking pictures. That night I was scheduled to present to the men of the church at the
Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church. I was tagging the pictures with geographic information so that when they were posted on the web, they would also show up on a map and be a very good introduction to geo-tagging. The online album that I created has some interesting photographs of the area if you are thinking about visiting in the summer or retiring to Crystal Coast.

Blue sky pictures like I took on Wednesday help me get through the winter when the weather turns cold or wet. This winter has turned out to really be a winter to remember. While we have seen colder than normal temperatures and
more ice on the quiet waters than normal, the massive amount of rain is quickly becoming the real problem. We had a very wet fall, and now we are receiving one soaking after another during the winter. I think the farmers are already behind schedule in preparing their fields. I doubt anyone will be working the land for a long time after tonight's rains.

Days when you could
enjoy some time on the beach have been harder to find this winter. Still I am thankful that we are not in the snow belt which seems to have dropped south a few hundred miles this winter. Tonight's Snowmaggedon in Washington, DC might break their all time record for a snow storm.

Both DC and the New Jersey coast are under a blizzard warning. Even the Canadian side of me is not very interested in joining friends battling this storm.

I just heard on Twitter that Interstate 66 in Virginia has been closed tonight. There was also a mud slide in the Maggie Valley this evening that damaged or destroyed a number of homes. With all that happening, I feel fortunate to have grabbed some blue sky this week. Our sheltered location in
Bluewater Cove has been a good place for us, the pelicans, and the herons to winter.

We will dry out long before Washington manages to shovel itself out. It will not be long before the power of the February Carolina sun makes itself felt. Only then will we be able to start forgetting this winter to remember.

More than Just Beautiful Beaches

We have been through some really nippy weather recently, but Saturday when almost all of North Carolina and Virginia were suffering through snow, sleet, and freezing rain,

We only had to endure a very cold rain. There must have been a few snow flurries late in the night because there was
a dusting on the roof our house this morning.

The walkway to our dock was also icy. However, by the time we got back from church all the ice had melted away, and even the winter pansies were starting to recover from the cold. While most of the state was cleaning up after the Saturday storm, we were all looking for something to do on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon.

It did not take much time outside to figure out that a walk on the beach might be a chilling experience, but a walk sheltered by the woods could be a very nice experience.

We had driven through the Croatan trails access in Cedar Point on the way home from church and were surprised at the number of people who had the same idea a nice winter Sunday activity. We were still in our church clothes so we figured that by the time we had lunch and changed, the early afternoon walkers would be spread out on the trails.

If you have never hiked the Croatan trails you are missing a real treat. While the trails wander through the woods most of the time, there are a number of beautifully done bridges with aluminum walkways which cross the marshes. We never fail to see some neat birds and have a great time.

Unfortunately for our hiking plans, I got a call just after lunch from some clients wanting to see a listing. So we gave up our hiking agenda and headed off to show property.

After the showing, my wife and I were standing in the sun in a sheltered spot, and I could not help but think how nice it would have been on the trails this afternoon.

The good news is that Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the first week of February will all be sunny and warmer than today. By Wednesday the temperatures are expected to rise into the mid-fifties. The February sun in North Carolina is more powerful than most people expect.

Sometimes when we don't have time to hike the Croatan Trails, we go over to the Emerald Woods Trail just off Coast Guard Road. While the Emerald Isle deer herd is thinned, the Emerald Woods Park is closing at 4 PM each day, but the trail is a quick one and enjoyable unless there is a strong north wind like today. The Emerald Woods Trail is a very accessible one with boardwalk almost the whole way.

For those who enjoy camping, the Cedar Point Croatan access has a beautiful campground that is walking distance from the water. Near the picnic grounds, there is also a ramp where you can launch canoes, kayaks, and small boats.

As you can tell from the picture, the marshes look like a great place for fishing. I have a friend who did quite well there with red drum last summer.
This link will take you to more pictures that I took from the small dock at the Croatan Cedar Point access. There are some pictures of pelicans from Cape Carteret and a few taken in Bluewater Cove, but most of the water pictures were taken at at the Croatan Cedar Point access.

You can find actual pictures of the Cedar Point Croatan Trails and the Emerald Woods Trail at
this website. We enjoy hiking there more in the winter and spring than we do in the summer.