Ocean Isle Beach
A Hike Is Where You Find It...
Every year for the last three decades a group of guys from Kernersville attend a golf trip at Ocean Isle Beach....18 holes on Wednesday...36 on Thursday....18 on Friday and 18 on Saturday....so how did the FBWG find time to take a hike....well on Friday afternoon since we did not have a golf game, I spotted a trail through the marsh on the east end of the beach .... and had to hoof it to see what I could see....
The trailhead is 1.5 miles from the Atkins "Hilton" Hotel and Spa...about 2 miles from the big water tower and begins at a street corner with a familiar name: Winston-Salem St.
The bridge leads into the depths of a salt water tidal marsh...it is the first of many bridges erected to preserve the marshlands.
The bridges crossed the tidal marsh connecting various tree covered elevated dunes giving me an idea of what OIB must of looked like before all the tourists showed up and made OIB such a popular beach destination.
In the distance I could make out an American Flag fluttering over the Ferry Landing Park which I had made my destination. While never far from the beach cottages, the trail was designed to provide some solitude to the hiker. In fact, I was not so sure I would not encounter a victim from an episode of Criminal Minds. I was also glad it was a cool spring day and the wind was blowing cause I got a feeling this place has a few "skeeters" flying around.
There are bridges seemingly at every turn... if you begin the hike at the Winston-Salem trailhead, keep taking the bridge to the left and you will follow the longest trail through the tidal marsh.
The Park is really just a gazebo with a small fishing pier....but it provides a nice place to watch the sunset and a convenient place to drop a hook into the water.
The trail was an interesting diversion to a lazy afternoon but in comparison to the views the FBWG gets in the mountains, a saltwater marsh really is not that exciting....glad I took the hike....about 5 miles total. Take the hike if you like but the best views are at the Ferry Landing Park....no need to rate this one.
Now a few words about our Golf Tournament...we had a great time and got some glimpses of nature while we were waiting for some duffers to find their lost balls.....
Especially interesting was a hawk perched in a tree above a small pond. We actually got to see him dive into the water trying to catch a fish! As he emerged from the water he provided us with an amazing flyover as he returned to his perch.
These turtles were seen sunning themselves a rock in the middle of a pond.
The tournament is not played to win....you see our motto is taken from Matthew 20:16- "So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen." Gary Spring says that these words must be true because Bob Dylan said the same thing. So the only person who gets a trophy is the loser....or shall we say: "the best of the wurst". This year Chip Cooke took home the "prize"!
We also honored one of our players who is no longer with us. Shirley G. Smith better known as "Smitty" carpooled with me to the beach for years. The stories that man could tell were legendary! He was one of our better golfers and was surprised to learn the first year he played that he "earned" the pink flamingo in spite of his finely honed golf game! We often were teammates and on one memorable trip we won every match we played. I am a better person for having a man like Smitty in my life. I learned a lot of things from Smitty on these beach trips...some of which I can even repeat to my wife....I miss him and so do the rest of the crew.... May God's Peace be upon him and all those who mourn his passing.