Not a single luxureeee….. Like Robinson Crusoe….Only with 4G!
After hearing the Park Ranger talk about the remote, rustic Great Island Cabins over on the Cape Lookout barrier island as the ideal place to “get away from it all,” and fall asleep to the lull of the ocean waves after a night of brilliant star gazing, I decided to leave the Winnie behind for a one night sample.
It is a short 45 minute ferry ride from the mainland over to the Great Island Campground. Since this is a private ferry, not a State run ferry, I opted to “walk on” to avoid the $80 ferry crossing fee required to bring the Tracker.
The nice guys that work at the Ranger Station meet all the ferries with their “Gator” (a two- seater ATV) and haul your stuff to your cabin, equipped with bunk beds with mattresses, propane stoves, flush toilets, and running hot and cold water. But no electricity and therefore no refrigeration, so you must bring a ice chest, along with all your own linens and cooking supplies. Pretty much like camping, only without the tent!The practically deserted beach is only a few minutes walk from the cabins. In some cases, the cabins are right on the water’s edge, but Hurricane Sandy deposited a few small dunes in front of mine. Still, it is an easy walk back and forth to the beach chair.
Unfortunately, my night of “Sleeping with the Stars” set to the ocean’s melody did not turn out exactly as planned. Just as I was coming back from my day at the beach, I heard coming from the direction of my cabin….actually my neighbor’s cabin….that unmistakable drone, rumble and whine….of a generator starting up. Don’t get me wrong, I own one! But that doesn’t make me like them any more when I have driven an hour, taken a 45 minute ferry, and hauled an ice chest full of relaxing refreshment to a deserted island!
To make matters worse, this guy had BYO-AC! He had a cheap AC window unit propped in the window. My thought progression went like this: “Oh, well, they will turn it off as soon as the sun goes down. Okay, well, as soon as they are finished with dinner then. Just as soon as quiet hour….There IS a there a quiet hour, right? No? Well, then, surely as soon as they go to bed”….Until finally, I couldn’t wait them out any longer. I woke up to the call of nature at 4:00am. Not only was the generator still running, but so was the AC, and every light was still on as well! Their cabin was like a radiating sore on the black velvet night landscape!
Finally, at precisely 7:59am on a Sunday morning, the beast fell silent. That, along with the good graces of the NPS crew who gave me a 4:00pm check-out, I was able to enjoy the blessed serenity I was seeking.
One of my friends asked, “Why didn’t you just knock on the door and ask them to turn it off? This got me to thinking… North Carolina is really an interesting social study, kinda like a little “microcosm” of the rest of the country. Here you can see all four seasons change, swim at the beach, explore miles of coastline, and hike, bike, and ski the mountains. But you will also find more than any state’s fair mix of “Red State/Blue State” politics. The outdoor enthusiasts seem equally as divided. There are the naturalists, those who love being outdoors, communing with nature, and nurturing the outdoor spaces to preserve their serenity and ambiance. Those who will go to great lengths to experience a natural setting while thumbing their noses at those who need their “creature comforts.”
Then there are those who seem to appreciate nature for what it can provide. These are the people who drive the ATVs over the dunes, drive their cars up and down the beach very fast crushing the shells, and insulate themselves from nature by bringing generators, TVs, and AC units to primitive campgrounds, leaving the electricity and lights running even when not needed. When they fish or hunt, they don’t flinch over cutting the heads off sharks, or the tails off stingrays, or “bagging” a living being as a trophy.
I realize this split in recreational enthusiasts exists everywhere, but it feels more prevalent here in North Carolina, possibly due to a more even split than most states I have visited. So I think I can sense a greater struggle for control here than I can in other states. Also due to the fact that much of the land used to be old “fish camps” that were handed down through generations, but now belongs to the National Park Service.
So why didn’t I just ask? It is sometimes a very delicate balance coexisting between the Happy Hour crowd versus the Quiet Hour crowd…