Nickens is editor-at-large of Field & Stream and the author of The Total Outdoorsman Manual and The Last Wild Road: Adventures and Essays from a Sporting Life. His articles also appear in Smithsonian and Audubon magazines.
Hopes were high in the 18th and 19th centuries that Harlowe Creek would connect Carteret County with the world. That didn’t pan out. Now, the narrow waterway is shrouded in mystery. And for a few brave souls, it’s an adventure through wild country.
Centuries ago, migrating passenger pigeons flew south by the millions, great rivers of feathers streaming through the sky. Those birds are gone now, but their memory is a reminder to look up: Spring still brings a flood of winged wonder.
A century has passed since Latta University closed its doors, and generations have come and gone from the Raleigh neighborhood where it once stood. In North Carolina, history is all around us — even when evidence of the past has all but vanished.
Once, our longleaf pines produced the materials that helped ships travel around the globe — but the profits came at a price. Now, the forests that rang out with the sounds of industry stand quiet, and the last witnesses to that era are a rare find indeed.
It’s the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring — only Mom and Dad, assembling toys and steeling themselves for those famous last words: “Batteries not included.”
Times have changed since scions of the Gilded Age hunted quail in piney woods across the Piedmont. But those who hope to preserve a home for the little birds will always listen for a bobwhite’s whistle.