The Neusiok Trail is broken down into four sections and named from North to South, Pine Cliffs which is approximately 7 miles long, Toad Wallow which is approximately 3 miles long, The Pines which is approximately 9 miles long and Oyster Point which is 3 miles long.
I spent a couple days leading up to my FKT attempt running different parts, taking pictures and just becoming more familiar with the trail.
My FKT run started at Pine Cliffs and ran south to Oyster Point to my finish line. I started shortly after 0700 in the morning as I didn’t want to have to deal with any humidity that the area is known for later in the day.
Pine Cliffs in my opinion is the prettiest and has the most varied terrain out of the four sections. You run on the beach, there are hills, there are swampy sections, many foot bridges that make you feel you are somewhere else entirely which was really cool. However, the area has been the least kept up and been damaged by multiple hurricanes over the years. There were times when it felt more like an obstacle course. Massive or multiple trees together that were down over the trail requiring you to scale over or crawl underneath. You also have to scale a 20’ cliff and a 15’ cliff. I’ve included pictures for examples.
Toad Wallow has one of the longest board walks that I have ever ran on while on a trail. It was approximately one-third of a mile long and is on the south end of the section. It has a name engraved on it, properly calling it Cotton Mouth Spa, so named for all the poisonous snakes in the area. This section is pretty flat and straightforward.
The Pines section is the transition from what I would consider traditional trail to what I would call swamp path. The southern half of The Pines section made me see my pace drop to zero at times. There is shoe swallowing muck that is the trail. Good luck trying to stay on the shoulder as you’ll be met with every king of thorny plant imaginable. In addition, there are some real twisties where the path constantly jerks right and left making it really hard to maintain any speed and clear your head space at the same time. I did take a picture of the swamp path.
Oyster Point is pretty straight forward and well-marked trail. You can tell you are getting to the end because of the brackish/ocean water type smell. Here you’ll be able to pick up speed without issue. I did come across a pretty decent size snapping turtle that was inches from the path (which was flooded). I took a picture of him. Glad he wasn’t interested in me.
In the end, I drank more water then I planned to and was still dehydrated. I stayed on my nutrition plan as best as I could but really felt drained from dealing with the swamp section in The Pines.
If you are reading this and considering checking out the Neusiok Trail, I highly recommend that you do so, especially the Pine Cliff section.
Side note – The Neusiok Trail is part of the Mountain to Sea Trail (MST) that traverses North Carolina from West to East.