Near the northern tip of Long Beach peninsula sits Leadbetter Point State Park.
Back in August of 2015 (yep, we’re still catching up!), we invested in a Discover Pass and were out to make the most of it. We’d been to Leadbetter Point years ago. The great views of Wallapa Bay from there were still stunning…
…even with the tide out:
On an impulse (generally not a good idea, even for a short day hike), we decided to follow a trail around the point from the bay side to the ocean beach. The northernmost tip of the peninsula is home to part of the Wallapa National Wildlife Refuge where non-US park service folks like us aren’t allowed, so the trail cuts along the boundary of the two areas:
Before long, the trail cut into the forest…
…and what started as a nice walk to the beach turned into a speedy jog to avoid mosquitoes. The trail narrowed through the woods (more and more people turned back, no doubt) and emerged from the trees into tall grass:
If you’ve read my novel, “Pea Body,” you know part of the plot involves limiting beach access in North Carolina’s Outer Banks because of Piping Plover nesting habitat. Seems all the way across the country on the west coast, the Snowy Plovers are being protected…
…with areas of the grassy dunes roped off:
The beach was quiet and moody, with a foggy mist blurring the edges of our vision.
We lingered, reluctant to venture back through the mosquito-infested woods. Hoping for a better experience, we took a different trail back. Dune grass taller than my head, switchy bushes that might have harbored ticks (ew!), and even worse swarms of mosquitoes plagued us all the way back. All of this was made worse by the fact that we were in shorts rather than lightweight hiking pants that would have protected us (remember I said sometimes it’s not a good idea to hike an unknown trail on impulse?). So no photos of the return hike — I didn’t want to stop for fear I’d get eaten up!