— Go on a guided nature walk.
While vacationing with family on the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina, we took in some of nature’s best. Since most of our time was spent on the shore side, we made a special effort to explore the sound side. (OK, I know everyone was being nice and trying to appeasing me.)In Nags Head there is Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which contains the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States attracting hand gliders and wind surfers from up and down the east coast. There are plenty of self-guided hiking trails, however we learned of a guided nature walk Wednesday morning that proved to be very information — at least for me. Our guide was a retired high school teacher/administrator that spends his summers as a park docent.
As it turned out, we had a our own personal guided nature walk, since our family were the only people on the walk. There were a lot of people in the park, however, most were on the high dunes watching the gliders. The maritime thicket of live oaks, persimmons, red cedar, wax myrtle, bayberry, sweet gum, red oaks, and pines grows best in areas protected by the large dune.
A lot of the older pine trees died a few year back then a large storm pushed saltwater in the low areas of the park.
Shifting winds are constantly reshaping the dunes. Because the Ridge is always changing, it is often called “The Living Dune.”
Looking out over Roanoke Sound.
The edges of the maritime forest contain a lot of marshy areas attractive to birds.
While on the nature walk, the docent told us about the Nags Head Woods Preserve, so after completing the walk, Joy and I decided to go for a short hike in the preserve.
The preserve is a nature conservancy containing the largest maritime forest on the east coast. The trails wind through marshy woods and wooded dunes.
The Nags Head Woods Preserve Center — Images by kenne
- The Outer Banks from Elaine Palladino (stylemepretty.com)
- Natural Wonders Abound in Corolla (seethesouth.com)
- Friends of Jockey’s Ridge (obxcommongood.org)