Outerbanks Desolation

OuterbanksPaul and I awoke in our backpacking tents on the front lawn of a Kitty Hawk resident, Larry, who was holding doughnuts and hot coffees. We knew this was going to be the start of a good day biking. We bid are farewell and I posed with him for a photograph. Paul and I were sporting our newest shirts made for our mission. We will wear them from now on but will not forget our Bikesenjava shirts that have carried us up to this point.

Regionally we were biking in an extremely unique environment for the East coast. Shoals that make up a barrier to the Albemarle Sound are home to famous towns such as Rodanthe and Ocracoke. For the first time in weeks we had a strong tail wind that helped push us south. The islands and inlets are navigable by ferry, bike, and car. Stopping at the nearest ranger’s station after passing Roanoke Island we were advised to fill our bottles; The next place with fresh water is 25 miles south through barren drifts and grassy dunes.

The wind howled behind us when we stopped for lunch but as we biked with it we felt no breeze at all. The sun beat down and we kept pedaling, hardly passed by a car or service vehicle due to the recession of winter tourism. We had the road to ourselves and only had telephone poles to mark distance traveled. It was nice to be isolated on such a beautifully paved road.

Sunset was coming and we had already logged near 70 miles. Visitng Cape Hatteras Light at sunset was a pleasant coincidence of natural and manmade beauty. There was, however, no campgrounds available. We biked farther south in the dark and unrolled our mats in a baseball field dugout. We had ramen noodles with spicy sausage and went to bed. The next day we would make Ocracoke Island and the mainland.

Ocracoke was even more desolate and seperated from land connections. Coming to and from on ferries, most cars on the road were only passing through. Most of the scrub was pruned from the salty air and the town on the island was empty and lacking activity. We were able to take the afternoon ferry off the island and head towards Columbia South Carolina where we had intentions of making christmas in a home.

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.
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