Red Wolf Crossing, Unlawful to Feed Bears…
North Carolina’s historic Albemarle Highway snakes east through juniper swamp, and giant swaths of tobacco and corn.
With a slight drawl distinct from Georgians down south, a soft-spoken girl shelving jars of chow chow takes a break to explain the sign below. Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts, a small country store in Jamesville, North Carolina (population around 500), offers jams, sweets, books on Carolina lore, boiled peanuts (only salted – no cajun), and sweet muscadine cider slushie samples on a hot day.
The acronym stands for outlying landing field, and the girl says a proposed airstrip threatened to displace farmers from land worked for generations.
She fails to mention that the Navy’s plans would disrupt one of North America’s most critical migration paths for tundra swans and snow geese, who winter in the protected refuges nearby, in addition to local endangered red wolves. According to the opposition’s website, on January 22nd, 2008, “The Navy announced it is abandoning its plans to build an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties, along with Craven, Bertie, Hyde, and Perquimans counties in North Carolina.” Click here for more on a battle between the United States Navy, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, farmers, and the National Audubon Society.
The trail beyond the saw palmetto leads to a secret skate spot we frequented as kids called the “Indy Wall.”
It’s an old concrete drainage ditch with seven foot banks and a tight four feet of flat bottom.
Now long faded, the first piece of graffiti was a large Independent Truck Company symbol on the far wall.
With two skateparks in the county, once treasured spots like these are now mostly neglected.
Crooked River State Park
I knew a girl who spent the first few years of her life on Cumberland Island among the dunes and mangle of maritime forest. On our first visit to the island together, she showed me how to eat saw palmetto. Grab ahold of the center-most spike of a young plant and give it a tug. The soft, lower few inches taste a bit like heart of palm.
The USS George Bancroft is a decommissioned nuclear submarine now half-submerged in front of the main (Franklin) gate of Kings Bay Naval Base. At the age of eleven, I begged my dad one day to let me join a raucous group of Greenpeace activists and Hare Krishnas in the same spot. Today children climb on the US monument to mass murder.