Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dogs' First Camping Trip: Crystal Coast

It is always nice to take an impromptu camping trip, but difficult to do for those with dogs. This past weekend, we decided to test out car camping with the dogs on my first trip out to the Crystal Coast.
Rocky, Trudy, and yours truly.
We left Friday in the mid-afternoon, hit a bit of traffic, but arrived in the Croatan National Forest at a free primitive campsite around 7. Rocky and Trudy were a bit confused, but coped just fine with being leashed to the bench we sat on while we ate, and sleeping in the (covered) bed of the truck.
Siddie Field Campsite
Saturday morning after breakfast, we found a nearby trail, parked in a shady spot, and left the pooches with plenty of water and vented, screened windows for a short hike. We took the Neusiok Trail from the Pine Cliff Recreation Area down the beach to where the land ended. We walked along the gorgeous Neuse River on a gorgeous day, angering an osprey on a nest by walking above 100 feet away along the way (sorry!).
Neusiok Trail
After the hike we rejoined the dogs and made a nice lunch at the picnic area. Rocky enjoyed his beloved past-time of picnic bench-sitting, and we ate pretty tasty sandwiches and a green smoothie (car camping has its perks).
Look at that tasty sandwich!
We ventured out toward the coast, spending a bit of time reading at Atlantic Beach. The sky looked ominous despite the zero percent chance of rain, and the wind made it up to 15mph, so we packed up and went to dinner in Beaufort. After grabbing a beer with a friend from Duke, we made our way back to the campsite.
Rocky looking out over the river. 
Sunday morning brought wind, making cooking difficult. We drove to another part of the Forest, where the ecosystem changes, to walk along boardwalks above marshes. Since this trail, the Cedar Point Tideland Trail, is much shorter, we took Rocky and Trudy on their first "hike."
Cedar Point Tidelands Trail
After about a mile and a half of boardwalk and crushed granite, we finished and poured the dogs some water in the shade. They seemed tired, but happy. Another trip into Beaufort for lunch and a nice walk, and we headed back to Durham.
Rocky and Trudy, thirsty dogs!
All in all, the dogs did wonderfully on their first camping trip. I'd prefer to backpack, of course, but if we want to get away for the weekend and it isn't too hot, it is nice to be able to bring them along!

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