Hunting Island South Beach
So today, June 2nd 2017, was the first time our State park & beach was open since Oct 6th 2016, due to the damage hurricane Matthew caused. I was very much looking forward to my first time back to see for myself the changes the storm caused. I set my alarm, got up early and headed out at about 0515 this morning. The main gate normally opens at 0600 however, I arrived at 0545 and to my surprise, the front gate was opened. I headed for south beach because I had already seen what north beach looked like after the storm.
The first thing I noticed from the parking lot at south beach was the lack of tall pine trees. All I could see where the palmetto's all along the front of the beach. Then I noticed you have a clear view of the ocean through the Palmetto tree's. The large dunes that used to obstruct the view were gone. I know the dunes are imprortant in slowing down the erosion however, I loved the "new look".
We had cloud cover and a little rain this morning but even that didn't take away from the awesome view. This area of the beach looks 100% better. I also noticed all of the new picnic tables on south beach. For a long time this area was always short tables for families who wanted to spend the whole day on the beach and have a cookout, so the tables will be a welcome site for a lot of folks.
Walking up the beach towards Fripp Island, the first thing you come to is the last beach house on Cabin road. It has also changed quite a bit since the storm however, it looked very safe and definitely livable. Cabin road was covered in sand and isn't much of a road until you get around the corner, then it disapears again towards the end.
Continuing down south beach it pretty much looks like it always has with trees fallen along the shore and old remnants of a few of the old cabins. As you get to where the lagoon curves left towards the ocean, you run out of walking space, unless you want to get your feet wet. It was a little more then ankle deep to cross to the other side, so I decided I wouldn't attempt it. The road is all broken up like large rocks, but you can only go so far while navigating across them.
What I did discover in this area is just how much better the lagoon view is now, facing both directions, north and south. This whole area of the beach looks completely different from before very photogenic. This is my new favorite spot on Hunting Island and I believe you all will enjoy the view as well. Its a perfect spot to explore and though it might be a tough trip at high tide, it is well worth the walk.
I'm loving the new look of Hunting Island beach and can't wait to discover the other side of the beach by the lighthouse and the campground area.
Hunting Island North Beach
Today, 3 June 2017, I returned to Hunting Island beach to check out the North beach side of H.I. In my opinion, it looks a lot like what it used to look, before hurricane Matthew. The things I did notice were the lack of dunes but North beach never really had large dunes. Also, you see a lot of the large pine trees have fallen, same as South beach, all you see are the Palmetto trees.
In one area there are 4 concrete structures, pyramid shaped, sticking out of the sand that weren't there before the hurricane. I'm told they were used to ancor a water tower years ago. There are a few new trails made from the use of heavy equipment. For me, it was nice to have new scenes to photograph from with the palmetto's and new trails. Its much more photogenic then it was before.
Plenty of beach however, the tide was going out this morning when I was there. Other then the 300 picnic tables staged by the lighthouse, North beach looks a lot like what it used to. Overall, both sides look great with some new scenery and plenty of beach sand to enjoy the day soaking up the sun. Tomorrow I plan on checking out the beach from the Lighthouse to beyond the campground area, see what changes I can see.
Hunting Island Campground
Today, 4 June 2017, I visited Hunting Island beach once again and this time it was to see what it looked like from North beach to the Campground area. Much like the rest of the beach, the first thing I noticed were the lack of tall pine trees. They really took a beating and most that ran along the beach front are gone now, just the Palmetto trees remain.
The nature trail that ran towards the campground area is also gone, covered up in sand and fallen trees as well as being flooded. The lagoon seems much larger then it was before between the campground and North beach. Its fantastic for photography but I'm not sure at high tide that the ocean doesn't reach it like it does on South beach.
The campground area is also thin as far as trees go. The roads were all covered with sand and there isn't nearly as much shade as in the past. I didn't enter the campground area, I just looked at it from the beach side. They have danger signs posted and since its not officially open yet, I stayed out.
The beach looks the same, plenty of sand to walk or lay down on. I did take this photograph of the turtle tracks right in front of the campgrounds today and saw several nests in the area. Overall the area looks nice though it won't be quite as manicured as it was in the past and not as much shade. Still a fantastic beach!