Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall on the Crystal Coast

We're lucky along North Carolina's Crystal Coast.  Fall sometimes is the most gentle time of the year.  It is not unusual to wake to cool mornings, but by the time you get moving around after a cup or two of coffee, the air temperature is already quickly warming.  With little humidity, a bright sun, and cloudless skies, you cannot complain about the weather, especially the beautiful brilliant blue skies.  By late morning, it is usually warm enough for shorts and a tee shirt.  Fall in 2011 has been just such a year.

The weather is so good that it is easy to forget the work that needs to be done.  In the last week, I have boated, walked the beaches, kayaked, biked and fished.  Saturday afternoon, November 12, I was so tired from paddling around the river, that I couldn't help myself from a little napping.

It was one of those perfect naps where you are still aware of what is happening, but your mind is resting peacefully.  The warm sun was shining on me, and my interest in football was so little that napping seemed much more important.

This summer we were on a roller coaster of weather. Fall, however, has been pretty amazing in comparison.  There are times that I have suggested that the weather was good enough to bottle.  At the same time, we have had more moisture than we did during the summer.  The fall plants have been gorgeous.  We still have some beautiful geraniums and our hydrangea has some great blooms on it.

Unlike the bluegrass and fescue yards of the Piedmont and mountains to the west of us, our centipede yards have been dormant for a while.  No grass to mow just gives us more time for the important fall things like fishing.  We have also managed to plant our fall snap dragons and pansies.  We will enjoy their blooms all through the winter.

The week of November 7, 2011 has been the best week that I have had for fishing in a while.  I have fished three times this week.  One day my fishing was just a few minutes, and the other two days, I fished for a couple of hours.  I caught fish each time, and on November 12, I caught a nice 20" trout that weighed 2 lbs and 3 oz.  The trout was the perfect size for dinner for two.  It is nice to have fish in my backyard.  This week it didn't seem to matter whether I was in my kayak or skiff, I was catching fish.

Water access here along North Carolina's Crystal Coast cannot be beat, and in late fall, there are no crowds.   If you want to get on the water, there are plenty of places to do it even with the Cedar Point Wildlife Resources Ramp being closed for a month, it is still easy to find a spot to launch.  Even if you just want to walk the beaches, there are plenty of places to do that.   It is also cool enough to walk the trails at the Cedar Point Croatan Access.

I watch a couple of the beach areas, Emerald Isle's Third Street and the Point,  pretty closely, and it is not unusual for the beaches to change from day to day even in the fall.   We were at Third Street about a month ago, and were surprised to find a huge amount of sand had disappeared.  About a month later, the waves put the sand back.

On Thursday, November 11, I walked about 2.5 miles along the beaches at the Point on Emerald Isle.  I wore shorts and a tee-shirt, and I was very comfortable even wading in the water at times.  While the water is cool, it isn't bone chilling like it is in early spring.

The only problem that I have this time of year is that there isn't enough daylight left to do everything that I want to do.  I have to pick and choose my activities, which is okay since I would rather have too much to do than not enough.

It you have never visited the Emerald Isle-Crystal Coast area, there is no better time to do it than fall.  The annual Christmas Parade in Emerald Isle is coming up soon on November 26.  This is a movie of the 2008 event.  The town always loves to have visitors.  Without lots of visitors during the parade, there is always a risk that there will be more people in the parade than there are watching it.

When you drive across the Emerald Isle bridge this time of year and look out at Bogue Sound, it is hard to not be impressed with the beauty of the scene, the blues, greens, and golds are never prettier than they are now. The view like many others in the area will renew soul and stretch your imagination.

If you need some quick information on the area, visit my free online guide to the area.