Friends in the Great Dismal Swamp

Great_Dismal_SwampSince the conception of this trip I have wanted to visit the Great Dismal Swamp in northeastern North Carolina. Based on the name alone I knew this place would be something else. We had one contact in Elizabeth City, south of the Great Dismal Swamp. Soon after crossing the border into our newest state to explore, we were struck by recreation signs for this famed swamp. We were excited.

The old route 17 is now a recreation trail and runs parallel with the new 17. This trail flanks a dredged ditch, flowing with the excess from the swamp. We pedaled the distance and ate lunch by the trees rooted in soaking soil, covered in vines and growth. This, my friends, was the Great Dismal Swamp.

The trail spit us back out on the main road and we continued to the nearest visitor’s center for a quick snak. Dave O.,at the time riding his Trek cyclocross bike, was consumed with curiosity enough to ask us where we were headed. That small conversation led to us three cycling a short recreational trail, headed south. We chatted about our trip and how it came together. Immediately we felt warmth in his amiability and accpeted his offer for some hot cocoa and pizza at his home, not far from our planned route.

Arriving at his home we found he had a deep love for all two wheeled creations. He and his wife owned quite the collection of bikes for just about any fancy. They let us stay until dark (I got to try Dave’s pumptrack, a small dirt course carved into his backyard). He noticed the wear on my pedals and gave me a new set that would work much better, although he would never agains use this brand of pedal, I appreciate his gift in making my efforts easier. I was a smiling cyclist with a new part to test.

Paul and I were extremely grateful for our stay with this family and got a ride to Elizabeth City. There we met Rob L. and happened to be welcomed into his apartment for his ‘going away’ party. I’m sure our invitiation made that afternoon much more unique. We had much to talk about as all of in the room loved adventure, in a sense, and seemed to have a lot in common. It was great fun and the irony of the friends we made passing through The Great Dismal Swamp satisfied us all.

About Clint Valentine

Clint is currently enrolled in two undergraduate degrees in Biology & Environmental Science at Northeastern University. He enjoys pursuits of endurance and distance which have included summiting many peaks in New England during winter alpine ascents, sailing the Atlantic in a vintage gaff-rigged schooner, rock climbing in five states including Oregon, and cycling 5,000 miles across North America. He has goals of pushing the envelope of his limits and combining his many outdoors interests into one big trip. He has a passion for photography and hopes to one day produce a documentary for a round-the-world tour.
This entry was posted in Transamerican. Bookmark the permalink.