Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Spring is coming

Posted March 3, 2009

Monday's snow helped remind me that spring is right around the corner. After my marathon day on the air yesterday I grabbed my new camera and took a few photographs in my Cary neighborhood just as the clouds started to break and the final flakes faded away. I was drawn to the scarlet maple in our front yard. Soon those red dots you see against the blue sky in the photograph will be lush leaves. These cold and challenging days will fade. The warmth of a new season will break loose before you know it. Let’s start planning for some fun activities this spring.

Friend Kristen Roberts showed me a wonderful book yesterday: Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina by Pam Malec.   Kristen and my wife Cindy are already planning to take one of the kayak journeys outlined in the book – from Swansboro to Hammocks Beach State Park on Bear Island. Kristen and Cindy have seen bears on adventures in the Rockies but what about North Carolina? I did some research and discovered that bears are not usually found on Bear Island. The original name was Bare Island for its lack of vegetation. If you’re wondering the island is three and a half miles long and about a half mile wide. Todd Miller of the NC Coastal Federation once described Bear Island as the perfect beach – “the way things used to look on the coast before all the bulldozers and beach houses arrived.” How many of you have been to Bear Island?  What was it like?

What kind of spring fling are you planning?  I will concentrate on some of North Carolina’s natural jewels over the next several weeks.


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  • Raleighnative58 Mar 4, 2009

    Yes, I have been to Bear Island - once in the early 80's. I remember that we were told there were bears there, but of course we never saw one. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen and VERY quiet. And many more shells than other beaches in NC. It's worth it to find someone with a boat or kayake to get there.

  • jakiret99 Mar 3, 2009

    Spring is Coming.....Oh Yeah!!!
    Spring has sprung
    The grass has riz
    I wonder where the flowers is.

  • k8ered Mar 3, 2009

    Bear Island is awesome, Bill. I have been camping there twice, but haven't kayaked there. Both times I took the ferry from the mainland at Hammocks Beach State Park center. It's so peaceful early in the morning at the campsites, and the shells you find are well worth the trip! Plan carefully for your trip, though, and pack as lightly as possible--it's about a mile trek from the ferry landing to the beach on Bear Island, and depending on where your campsite is, it's another hike--through the sand!

  • fishnett5977 Mar 3, 2009

    Congrats to happy! Going to be a beautiful day Friday and Saturday. And mdoodle, please do let us know about the your trip - PICTURES PLEASE TOO!!!lol Let me see, I'm not planning anything much now - going to the beach twice - I hope - in June. Going to take a half day on the 18th - Johnston County school is a half day that day and it happens to be my granddaughter Katrina's 6th birthday! How neat! Think she and I will head home after the bus brings her and play outside - on the swing set and in the dirt and enjoy a hamburger and fries that night with a homemade birthday cake and ice cream! Going pool shopping too! Want a pool and a saline set up for it so me and that granddaughter can play when it turns warm - I hate wishing my life away, it's too short as it is, but I am so ready for warm weather!! :)

  • happy Mar 3, 2009

    I've taken it as a sign from above that the warm up begins in earnest on Friday. That's my wedding day!

  • GRush Mar 3, 2009

    My sister-in-law is coming for a visit from Colorado in late April or early May. She's never been here, and wants to do it while she still can, as she has cancer which has spread to numerous places in her body. So, we'll do whatever she feels like. She says she'd like to go to the beach to relax so we may get a house at Emerald Isle for a few days and just "chill". I'd love to take her to Old Salem, too, if she's up to it, and for sure we'll drive around Raleigh so she can see the city.

  • bleslie Mar 3, 2009

    mdoodle - what a great trip you have planned! please keep us posted.

    thanks adcckpack for the kayak information. how long does it take to get from Swansboro to Bear Island?

  • blytle Mar 3, 2009

    We'll be welcoming spring in London!! Five nights planned with a day trip to Canterbury as part of the trip. We'll see Les Miz and Wicked plus we'll do Sunday afternoon tea at the Browns Hotel. We plan to worship on Sunday at Westminster and go back that evening for an organ recital. Upon return to North Carolina, we plan to enjoy spring driving around in my new Smart Car Cabriolet!! Have only had the top down a few times. Looking forward to full-time top down weather.

  • adcockpack Mar 3, 2009

    My family has made the Bear Island kayaking trip at least six times now. I absolutely love it. The trail is well-marked, and except for a very short stretch when crossing the waterway, the water is usually no more than a few feet deep--and if you catch the tides wrong, you may even find yourself pulling your boat part of the way. We've had dolphin jumping 10-15 yards in front of us before. And there are always an abundance of birds along the way. I have to stop multiple times to explore the tidal flats and all the critters there. And when you get to the island, there's a beach the way nature intended. Tidal pools galore, and the best shell-collecting I've ever experienced. My husband and son always take the fishing gear, and usually catch a few. A picnic in a cooler, lots of sunscreen, and for me it's the best day out of our yearly week at the beach. Lots of good family memories have been made there!

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