Surf Dog! Fun and Frolics at Fort Macon, NC

Fitz Roy Visits Fort Macon State Park Beach

Sylvia and I are all about doing something new. Last weekend, we went to the beach. For us, this is nothing new. We live only two or three hours from some of the best beaches in the Eastern US north of Florida. We make several trips to the fine coastal areas of North and South Carolina each year.

But this is a new thing for young Fitz Roy, the newest member of our expedition. We don’t know if Fitz’s original owners, whoever and wherever they were, ever introduced him to the beach at all. Perhaps they did, but it seems quite unlikely to us.

Fitz Roy was signed on as the charter member of our future dogsled team. However, there is very little dog sledding (or sledding of any kind) in the Carolinas. So, until we get the whole sledding thing figured out, we have plans to make Fitz into a surf dog instead.

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Fitz continues to wait for the B.I.T. Dogsled Team management to get its act together. 

The perfect place to start this new adventure is Fort Macon State Park, one of our favorite North Carolina Beaches. If asked to name the best beach in the Carolinas it would probably be one of the huge, wild beaches along the sprawling Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where one can very often enjoy a whole section of beach to themselves even in peak season. Also near the top would be some of the islands of Cape Lookout, Ocracoke Island, Bald Head Island and Fort Fisher out on Cape Fear.

We happen to the think the more popular beaches in the area – Wrightsville Beach, Virginia Beach, Oak Island and Myrtle Beach – to be overrated. They were doubtless beautiful places once upon a time, but overcrowding and over-development have greatly diminished their appeal.

Fort Macon is perhaps our favorite because it is relatively unspoiled, well managed, mostly free of heavy development…and is just three hours drive from the house (Hatteras is at least two hours further.) Also, because it is a North Carolina State Park, dogs are allowed on the beach if leashed.

We were interested to see how Fitz would react to the seashore.

On the way down we stopped along the roadside to allow Fitz to take care of business. Somehow he managed to find a dollar bill in the grass along the roadside. Now, if we can only teach him to recover higher denominations…

As it turns out, Fitz took to the water like a natural.

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Mostly unspoiled beach at Fort Macon

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The tide was low and Expedition Beachcomber Brian found a number of different interesting items along the tide mark…he found some interesting shells and shell fragments and one object that he though might be a sharks tooth, but upon further examination is likely just an odd shaped fragment.

We kept Fitz leashed up and didn’t let him venture very far into the surf, which as usual is quite rough. Fort Macon is not quite as windy as the notorious beaches of Cape Fear but it’s still pretty brisk. It’s not Half Moon Bay by any means but waves here can generate powerful force.

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But even if the surf were calm we’d have kept Fitz on his leash…it’s the law, and besides its for his own safety as well as our own and others. We are dismayed by the fact that so many people we meet do not leash their dogs. There was one completely avoidable episode on this trip that resulted entirely because a dog was not on a leash. It’s hard for us to understand why so many people ignore this. Is it because they think its cruel to their dog? Or do they just not care? We really don’t know.

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We think a leashed dog is a happy and safe dog. Many others seem to disagree, we are unable to understand why.

 

At any rate, Fitz had a blast. He especially enjoyed the windblown foam that came off the waves.

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Shore birds were also of interest to Fitz, and we always see many at Fort Fisher. Today was no exception.  Brian did not see any exceptional birds today – his best sighting on these beaches was a Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage – but there were plenty of sandpipers and gulls.

The nearby town of Beaufort is a great little town to visit, but it was mostly closed up for Easter Sunday by the time we got there. We stopped at a supermarket on the way back for a meal and to exercise Fitz.

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After that, we returned successfully to base. Mission Accomplished!

We’ll return for more adventures on the coast, and in particular at Fort Macon. We have not yet explored the very interesting pre-Civil War fortifications at Fort Macon (the Fort of its name) which we in part designed by a young Robert E. Lee. Sylvia is very wary of ‘exciting’ historical sites that Brian might wander into, and especially wary of forts after Brian lured her into Fort Moultrie last year.

Brian in turn is very careful about pushing too many historical sites on his wife ever since the unfortunate events that led to Colonial Williamsburg being declared officially Dead to Brian.

Now all we need is a board! Surf’s up for Fitz Roy!

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