For years I wasn’t really impressed with the little nature trail at the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Preserve next to the Atlantic Station shopping center in the beach community of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. At a scant 1/2 mile length, at best, I found it to be too short of a hike. Simply put, there were longer hikes to make. Better adventures. But then one day after visiting the nearby Fort Macon State Park in search of some small song birds to photograph, I decided to head over to this little trail to see if I could find any small feathered creatures to capture with my lens. It was on that visit that my eyes opened and I saw the beautiful Live Oak trees for the amazing things they are. You might say I couldn’t see the trees for the forest!
You see, while I always love being surrounded by nature, there are times that it is almost as if I’m wearing blinders. My attention would be set upon finding a bird, a pretty flower or some kind of wildlife. It was easy to overlook these big, beautiful trees in a quest to make photos of other flora and fauna. But these trees, with their twisting, curving limbs reaching skyward. They are a thing of beauty.
The next time you’re in need of a little adventure, consider a visit to Hoop Pole Creek. Just keep in mind to open your eyes not just to the wonderful maritime forest, but also to the trees that make it up.
The following are a few of my recent photos taken along this big little trail in Atlantic Beach.