I am a proud

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Hermit Story

Along the Basin Trail

Boardwalk along the Basin Trail
We love our summer beach vacation. This year because several family members are taking a Christmas vacation out of the country and needed to save up vacation, we cut our beach trip down to three days instead of a week. We found a nice condo at Carolina Beach, NC within half a block of the Sea Ranch Motel, where my wife always stayed with her family growing up. It was like old times for her. We enjoyed the sun and the surf for several days.

I broke away from the family for a short while one day to go down to the end of the peninsula to visit a series of geocaches called the Hermit's Hangout Series. It was located along the Basin Trail in the Fort Fisher Recreation Area. I parked at the designated parking, just 100 meters from the trail head and the first cache. It was 5 p.m. in the afternoon, sun shining and a nice sea breeze blowing. The trail began in the tall shrubbery and trees that grow in the sand along the coast. It then broke out into the open and followed a sandy road for a while, then darted into the marsh grass. At two points I was traveling on a raised wooden boardwalk over swamp but out in the open sun. The trail ended at the inlet. Along the trail there were several geocaches. I'll post one that was typical of them all. For instance, Hermit's Hangout Series: "End of the Trail" (GC4P01A). The caches were mostly micros and there was nothing particularly special about them. What was special was the walk, the wildlife (I saw several bucks), the hermit crabs, and the Hermit Hang Out. When I first started out on the hike I thought that the series was named after the numerous hermit crabs that scurried along the path as you approached. Not the case. There is a story here.

Back in 1973 some teenagers found Robert Harrill's body in his makeshift home. Robert had become famous, even known as the state's #2 tourist attraction for a time. He had moved from the hills of western North Carolina at age 62 back in 1955 to get away from it all. For the next 17 years he lived a hermit's life, at least in the sense of leaving behind a job, a home ownership, a vehicle, and other normal responsibilities. He found an old World War II bunker and turned it into a home on the North Carolina coast. He lived off what he caught and what was given to him by visitors. One of the caches dropped me off right close to the bunker. At the bunker there was a plaque left by the Hermit Society and a large information sign telling about Harrill's life. Check out the following link for more of Robert Harrill's history. When I got back to the condo and told my wife about the experience she said she remembered as a child hearing about the hermit. This is just another example of how geocaching takes you places you don't expect to go to but are blessed to learn about!
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