In addition to the three “shake down” trips Andrew and I have planned, we decided to continue a tradition I started at work last year – to take new staff who are interested on their first backpacking trip. I am thrilled that my staff are eager to learn more about the gear we sell at the shop, and I am happy that I work for a company that supports these kinds of trips. At the beginning of October, we took two of my new staff out to the Neusiok Trail in Croatan National Forest. This is just an hour and a half away from Greenville, so its the perfect location!
The Neusiok isn’t a very popular trail during the summer, because it is in a swamp and there is a serious bug (mosquitos and deerflies) problem. We went to the Neusiok 2 weeks later last year, and we didn’t see a single mosquito, so we didn’t think the bugs would be bad. We didn’t take into account the 2 weeks of rain we’ve recently had. So the trail was very flooded in spots (knee deep water, boardwalks washed away).
Overall, I think it was a great trip. Some things that made this a memorable weekend:
- mosquitos the size of small birds
- wading through knee-deep water
- seeing 3 hunters walk up to the shelter we were staying in at 9p carrying rifles and a machete
- broken boardwalks we had to crawl across to not end up in the water
- hiking through the ocean because of downed trees across the beach
- seeing an eastern rattler in the wild for the first time
- more mosquito bites than we can count
Hopefully we didn’t scare my staff away from backpacking!