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Primitive Camping & Easter Egg Hunt on False Cape

Author: Lisa C.
Date of Trip: April 2010

Our Easter week-end in Virginia Beach, VA provided unseasonally warm and sunny weather, so we took a short boatride across Back Bay and hiked into the False Cape State Park (FC), a mile-wide barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, intending to camp for the evening and inviting our grandchildren to come over as well on Sunday for their annual Easter egg hunt. A call ahead to the Virginia State Parks (1-800-933-PARK) secured our primitive camp site, so we stuffed our backpacks with one night’s provisions then made a few stops enroute to the bay for plastic eggs, candy and prizes of beach buckets, et al for the kids.

In order to camp at the primitive sites in FC, you must be able to either hike the 9 miles into the camping area, or have a small boat that can cross Back Bay, which is very shallow. Our arrival at the 2nd of three public wooden docks put us within 1/4 mile of our campsite, located in a large open field with nearby access to miles of trailheads, as well as an approx. 1/4 mile further hike to the Atlantic Ocean in all it’s glorious and expansive emptiness – You will not find a more deserted beach anywhere in Virginia. The NC state line is approximately 10 miles further south, and there are clearly marked trails that lead you to other beach or bay accesses, as well as a lovely tall viewing platform, and further still, the Wash Woods cemetery, neatly hidden in a mossy grove about 2 miles from our campsite.

We set camp under a large oak with what appeared to be a large open knot hole. After stowing our foodstuff on the raccoon pole (all food must be tied up to the pole to prevent ‘pillaging’ by wild beasts!) and tucking our bedding together, we hiked to the wild and wonderful Atlantic Ocean for a miles hike, finding buckets of wonderful shells and driftwood. The night slipped in quite quickly and before we slept we found that a small owl, hooting loudly and receiving many return hoots from out in the wild, lived in that knot hole – his eyes glowed eerily from within. What a hoot!

The next morning dawned bright and sunny as we hid eggs along the trails and in the field and waited for our son to bring the grandkids to their surprise Easter in the woods. What a surprise it was for all when we had a daytime owl sighting as well while eating the marshmallow peeps out of the plastic eggs.

Living primitively can be fun (for one nite only!) if you can get used to no fire, no toilet (pit only) and, of course, if you like to hike about in the woods endlessly! We took the hike to the cemetery alone, just the two of us once the kids left via their flatboat, and the peacefulness of that resting place is beyond description (esp. just after young-uns left!)… You MUST experience FC firsthand! But remember, Leave No Trace!!

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