Venture North Carolina

On our way to find the Fort Fisher Hermit Trail, we stopped at a small guide shop and asked a bit about it. WWII bunker was home to the hermit Robert Harrill for 17 years until he was murdered in June of 1972. More info here The Fort Fisher Hermit

Excerpt from the site:

“Asylum escapee Robert E. Harrill, who became known as the Fort Fisher Hermit, lived for 17 years under the stars, living off the land and the contributions of visitors who came by the thousands every year to meet “The Hermit.” A misnomer from almost the beginning, “The Hermit” treated anyone who came by with a warmth and friendly appreciation that was contagious. Life wasn’t so ideal, and in the end, the questions surrounding his death created an even more compelling story.”

We were told not to go there, because mountain bikers were not allow off roads or off of designated paths. We were also warned that if we were going to go there, to take mosquito protection.

So we set out down Kure Beach, past the aquarium and down to the fishing wall that connects Kure Beach to Zeke’s island. It was built as a barrier to keep the Confederate Navy from running the blockade during the Civil War. The wall is mostly deteriorated, and the internet tells me that Zeke’s Island isn’t accessible via that wall any more. Which I can believe, after coming upon several holes in the wall that could easily swallow a bike and rider whole.

On the way back we investigated a mysterious trail head, which had a cement marker, but no signage. We ignored the guide’s warning (foolishly) and plunged into the woods.

The trail itself was a little boring. There was dense low vegetation, and it was mostly flat. The defining feature of the trail was the standing, mossy water which served as a turbo-charged breeding ground for mosquitoes. Alexx got bit up quite a bit, while I didn’t. After exploring a few of the offshoot paths and coming to dead ends, we decided that this indeed was not the Fort Fischer Hermit Trail, and bailed.

However, once I uploaded this track to GPSies, and looked at it a little more closely, we were indeed on the Hermit Trail, and if had plowed through the vegetation wall on the most distant dead end, it would have broken through into Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, found the Hermit Bunker, salt marshes, and been a quarter of a mile from Zeke’s Basin.  Oh well, the more you know.

Sadly, I neglected to take pictures of any of this.

OTB: 0 — Miles: 12 — Time: 1:17 (which is not bad for a mountain bike speed run)

GPSies - Kure Beach, North Carolina For Fisher Hermit TrailClick here to see the full ride statistics

I took no pictures of all of this,  so here are some other people’s:

Hermit of Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher Hermit Bunker

Taken by seancarr54 on Flickr

Fort Fisher Sunrise

Sunrise over Fort Fisher Battlefield

Taken by Civil War Trust on Flickr

sea wall

Fort Fisher Sea Wall

Taken by my moustache on Flickr


People on the Wall

Taken by Stubabes0137 on Flickr

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Why don’t more people ride Mingo?

I think I’ve said this before, but I can’t fathom why more people don’t ride Mingo Creek Park, in Washington PA.  I realize it doesn’t have the mileage of Bavington or LOL LOG PILES!!1 of North Park. What you’ve got is a ride through several different sets of conditions.  Each one is a little but more fun then the one you’ve just cut across.

You’ve got grueling steep climbs up unforgiving rocky horse paths.  You’ve got fast and loop descents with plenty of roots to put you on your ass.  I’ve got hidden single track through overgrown glades of tall grass.

You encounter groomed trails, overgrown single trail, soft surface pine groves, surprise mud bogs and creek crossings.  Each time I ride this park I end up liking it just a little bit more.
7.75 miles — 0 otb — 2000 calories

GPSies - Mingo Creek 09/05/2010See the full track statistics here



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Pennsylvania Large Fauna — South Park 8/16/10

Not too often I’ll come across interesting beasts in the woods.  A hawk, some squirrels, a fat couple humping (it’s true)…  Thankfully all it was this time was a semi-disinterested deer.  I rolled to a stop about 5 feet away from him.  He’s a big 8 point, with antlers still velvet. He had stalked another 2 feet away before I was able to get the camera out, then he showed me his butt.  Thanks a million.

1930 Calories — 8.5 miles — 0 OTB

GPSies - South Park three quarter loop -- 08/16/2010Download the full track here.


I'm just here to read the meter!


Here is my butt.

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South Park Full Loop (improved) – 8/14/2010

Second time attempting this loop and this time I added in the super technical section at the end instead of avoiding it this time.  Every time I ride this section, something on the bike breaks, and this wasn’t any exception.

Last time I attempted this loop, about 7 miles in I hit a wall so hard I had to curl into the fetal position for about 20 minutes.  This time, I did the whole loop strong, only taking a single break at about the mid-point.

Last time I road the Rockhopper,  I managed to shear the rear derailleur and hanger off the back of the bike using a trail the runs along the top of a wall.  When you slip into a spillway, well bad things are bound to happen.  I haven’t used that trail since, but I’ve been missing out because it’s a ridiculously fun little ride.  Some pictures of it are below.

This loop has about 1000′ of climbing.

10.5 miles — 2730 calories — 1 OTB

GPSies - 08/14/2010 South Park Full Loop (improved)Click to see full track


This trail will swallow your soul.


Looks harmless, right?

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