The Neusiok: the forbidden fruit of our backpacking dreams. For more than two years we've been hoping to recreate the magic of our last backpack trip, in 2017, on this 22-mile trail in the coastal Croatan National Forest, southeast of New Bern. The easternmost 16 miles are pancake flat and explore a mix of pine savannah and boggy areas that are tamed by boardwalks and neutered of the flying, buzzing and slithering critters that make this land inhospitable in warmer times of the year. In early December, though, the stillness and quiet of these coastal woods offers an overnight experience you likely haven't had.
Friday, March 6: We'll head down in the afternoon and plan to be on the trail by 3 p.m. (sunset is at 6:10 p.m., with twilight lasting until 6:34 p.m.). It's a flat, two-mile hike in to the Blackjack Lodge Shelter, our camp for the night.
Saturday, March 7: We'll hike eight miles and camp at the Dogwood Camp Shelter.
Sunday, March 8. We'll get an early start and hike the 11.3 miles to the Pine Cliff Recreation Area and the end of the Neusiok. We'll plan to finish around 1 p.m.
Campsites both nights have shelters and ample room for tents. They also have well water, which needs no treatment. This weekend is a great way to take a deep breath and get through the holidays — and hopefully will hold you until our first trip of 2018 in January.
This trip includes an eguide , with custom map of the hike, tips on coastal hiking and cold weather camping — but not too cold: the typical overnight low this time of year is 40, daytime high 63; perfect for traveling with a pack on your back — and information about the forest and the area. We'll also have some leftover swag to give away. Fee for this trip is $105.
Note: Starting in 2020, all of our trips will be non-smoking. This is in part due to growing concern about wildfires, but largely out of concern for the heath and wellbeing off all of our hikers. Thanks!