Hoop Pole Creek – The Big Little Trail in Atlantic Beach NC

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.

A beautiful Live Oak tree with its twisting and curving limgs reaches towards the heavens in the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Reserve. Located in the beach town of Atlantic Beach, this nature preserve maintains a small sampling of a maritime forests. Such wooded areas once dominated the barrier islands off the Southeast coast of the United States. This black and white photograph was made one morning in early May, 2021.

A live oak is surrounded by lovely morning light in a maritime forest fould along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. This photograph was made on a late February morning in the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Reserve, Atlantic Beach, NC. A starburst sun shines behind this twisted, backlit tree. Green moss growing on its limbs provides a nice color contrast to this image.

This ancient Live Oak tree is believed to be around 300 years old. A popular spot for portraits, this old oak is found along the nature trail at the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Preserve next to the Atlantic Station shopping center in the center o Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

A beautiful live oak tree springs up from a lush green maritime forest floor in the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Preserve, Atlantic Beach, NC.
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