“Sand … Hold it in your hands and you are in touch with the planet’s essence.” Anne W. Simon


As we climbing to the top of the 100ft sand dune in Jockey’s Ridge State Park, I looked around and wondered where all this sand around me may have come from.  Was it once at the bottom of the ocean, or perhaps from the rocks of mountains hundreds of miles inland on a journey lasting millions of years.  Regardless, the mighty dunes  in Nags Head, North Carolina are impressive.

The huge hills of barren sand have been a significant feature of the Nags Head area for centuries. Jockeys Ridge, the highest of these dunes, reaches a height of over 100 feet at its peak and is in fact the highest active sand dune on the entire Atlantic Coast.
It was Saturday morning and we were just heading home from a week in the Outer Banks in North Carolina in which we had rented a house on bay side with my family.  Though both me and fiancee were eager to get home, I managed to talk her into this little side trip to see the dunes.

The best time to see the dunes is early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening, when the sand is cooler.  Temps in the mid day can reach well over 100 degrees, so most people try to avoid it during this time.  Though it still early in the morning, as we make the short hike in the parking area, the temps were already significantly higher than when we started.

End to end the hike to the top of the tallest dune only takes about 35-40 minutes, and it’s well worth it.  The landscape on the dunes makes it feel like you’ve been transported to a completely different place.  If you were dropped in the middle of the park you’d swear you were in the middle of the Gobi or Sahara desert, not a family vacation destination.

When Brian was in Egypt's land....


But once you get to the top of the dunes, you’re quickly brought back to reality as you’re greeting with impressive views of the bay, the ocean and the surrounding trees and brush that make up the park.  Hot as it was, it was well worth the hike.

Fiancee demonstrating how windy it is at the top


Taking in the view




My only regret?  We didn’t go out early enough to try hand gliding!  Oh well…



Next time....


Happy trails!