Started camping as a kid when my parents would take the family camping and hiking
all over North Carolina. My family moved to Germany for a year in 1965 ( my father
was a Professor of Bio-chemistry ) and at age 12, I spent many hours by myself
hiking the German Black Forest.
I continued camping and hiking in the Boy Scouts and hiking in the woods in the
area I grew up in (Durham NC) which is now Eno River State Park.
Around 1970 I started hitchhiking up to the mountains in North Carolina and
Tennessee to hike parts of the Appalachian Trail. I used an Appalachia Trail
Guide Book ( that thing was heavy ) to find my way. Gear back then was heavy
compared to today's hi tech equipment. Sometimes I would hike with some friends
but mostly I hiked by myself.
I moved to Banner Elk one summer and a friend and I would hike and camp out and
go rock climbing every time we got a chance. We hiked all over Grandfather Mt,
the AT and Linville Gorge and other places I don't even remember.
I met my wife to be at Banner Elk and our first date was a camping trip. One
weekend when I was gone she borrowed my back pack which was way too big for her
and went with some friends to camp in the Linveille Gorge. My friends said that
from behind it looked like the back pack had grown legs and was walking down the trail.
I joined the Marines in 1976 and while stationed in Hawaii and California the wife
and I continued to hike and camp. When we had children we took them hiking and
camping with us. In 1993 I was transferred to MCAS Cherry Point and I retired in
1996 as a Chief Warrant Officer 3. The wife and I continued to travel to the mountains
where we met to hike and camp.
The days of sleeping on the ground are long over and when the wife and I camp out
now in the woods, we do so in the confort of our camping hammocks. The wife uses
a Black Bird 1.0 or a
Ridge Runner Bridge
Hammock and I use a Black Bird 1.7 (which I haved used on the AT) or a
Hammeck EnvyS hammock .
The wife and I also host three group hammock hangs a year at Merchants Mill Pond
State Park where bear burritos ( hammocks ) and bear forture cookies ( tents ) are
welcome to join us for a weekend of camping in the woods and cooking over a fire
and or Dutch Ovens ( and we have a lot of good stuff coming out of those Dutch Ovens ).
These group hangs are family friendly and open to everyone from long time hammock
and or tent campers to folks who have never camped out before and want to learn
more about camping in hammocks. We have chldren under 2 to folks close to 80 and their
wives or husbands, boyfriends, girlfriend ect attending. Email me if you want more information. The hangs are
held in January, April and October.
I also conduct hammock classes for any interested parties ( mostly Boy Scouts )
and have been asked by Merchants Mill Pond State Park to conduct a hammock class
and demo 30 April 2016 during their Mill Pond Days ( and we got invited to back for 2017 ).
I did some research about the trail but could not find much more than
where the trail head was located. On a cool new years day in 2010, the wife and
I along with our two Labs decided it was time to check out the trail. We hiked
from the trail head at Pine Cliffs Recreation Area and stopped at Copperhead Shelter
to take a break. It was slow going as the dogs had to constantly stop and sniff
the sniffs. After we left the shelter we were crossing a very deep mud hole and
trying to balance our way on some logs crossing the mud. I was on one leg and trying
to step on another log when my dog ( a 110 pound Lab named Baby who was on a leash ) decided to take off.
She pulled me off balance and I twisted my knee. We were still two miles from the
Hwy 306 and a couple of more miles to the car. I tried to hobble back to the car
at Pine Cliffs but I could not make it all the way back and the wife continued on
and got the car and picked me and Baby up. That knee was swollen to the point it looked
like the size of a soccer ball. I dought it was that large but it looked like it
to me The next day after some x-rays the doctor said I had sprained my knee as
bad as one could and if it had been any worse I would have been looking at surgery.
I spent the time waiting for my knee to heal by looking for more information on
the Neusiok Trail. I found very little and decided that if I was looking for more
information then there must be others. Once I was able to hike again I started
hiking the trail and trying to record what I found and develop the web site.
In the process I attended several Carteret County Wildlife Club ( the folks who
built and maintain the trail ) meetings and when they found out about my website
on the trail they made me an honorary member. I later joined the Cub. My youngest
son Jeff often accompanied me on my hikes on the trail until he moved out of the
area early this year ( 2015 ). Of course he told me that he only went on the hikes
for the snacks I took and the hot chocolate I made when we took a break. He told
his mother that he went on the hikes with me so he could tell her where my body
was in case something happend since I was so "old". We often made the hikes a
contest to see who could out hike whom. Sometimes he won, sometimes I won but we
had fun ( at least I did ).
You will still see me out on the trail during the day and sometimes at night.
I also enjoy setting up my hammock along the trail and spending the night out in the woods.
These days I am taking my new Lab named Sam with me on the hikes and camping out.
Like most Labs, if he finds water, he has to check it out to make sure it is Lab approved.
Hope to see you on the trail.