If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a bit of an outdoors enthusiast. Whether on the beach, paddling a river or stream, or out for a stroll in the local woodlands I thoroughly love being out in nature. It is always a head clearing, soul inspiring experience for me.
The Croatan National Forest
Living in Eastern-North Carolina I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful natural environments. When you think of the Crystal Coast you likely think of the beaches, world class deep sea fishing or internationally known wreck diving. But there is another wonderful resource here, the Croatan National Forest. Occupying land in Carteret, Crave and Jones counties, this natural treasure includes a variety of ecosystems, plant and wildlife. The well known hiking trails include Patsy Pond, Island Creek Forest Walk, Tideland, Neusiok and Wee Tok trails. What many people may not realize, however, is that the various access roads serve as gateways into the forest for hikers and trail bicyclists. Many miles of forest road can be explored by car or truck, but others are closed to motorized traffic while hiking and cycling is permitted on them.
A Walk in the Woods
One lovely, warm March morning I decided to head out into the forest for a bit of exploration. A few miles up the road from my home is one of the entry points to the Neusiok Trail. Running adjacent to the trail, for a little ways, is a forest access road. A few hundred yards into the forest the come close together and there is a short path where one can cross from one to the other. On this early Spring hike I decided to explore a bit of both the road and the trail. Below are a few of my photographs from the adventure. Take a look and see what you think. Perhaps you comment and tell if you’ve every hiked the Croatan and, if you have, what is your favorite hike?
Great article. Love the close up images of flowers. I think forest images are difficult as it can be hard to determine the focus point that you are trying to bring to the attention of the audience.
It can be difficult, Steve. Most of the local forests are Long Leaf Pine. Much of that has heavy, thick undergrowth I find that very difficult to find images in. Other sections are more open Pine Savanna environments. These are easier to work with but still, for the most part all the trees look alike. Deciduous forest, on the other hand, is easier to find compositions in. The trees tend to be more individualistic and what I’m looking for are unique, interesting trees to build an image around. The amount of underbrush and spacing of the trees can play a role. If interested, do a search on YouTube for “Woodlands Photography.” There are several very talented photographers with channels that specialize in that type of landscape photography. Most of them, interestingly, are located in the United Kingdom.