Finding place to hide in rural NC would be surprisingly difficult



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

(Editor’s note: To make room for Valentine’s Day stories in Albemarle Life, we’ve moved this week’s School Life page to Wednesday’s edition and this column to Tuesday’s edition. These standing feature items will return to the regular schedule next week.) 

A TV program has me thinking about the best places to hide in Currituck and nearby counties.

We discovered the reality show "Hunted" on CBS where average people go on the run, and professional investigators try to find them.

I was surprised at how quickly the investigators can figure out two people's whereabouts when only given their names and locations where they were last seen.

On one episode, two women had eluded the investigators for 14 days, but made a major mistake. The pair had the chance to win $250,000 if they could stay hidden for 28 days. The women were at the half-way point and decided to celebrate at Taco Bell, guessing that investigators would never spot their vehicle. While the two were munching on their celebratory meal, investigators came knocking on their car window. The license plate readers on the highway were that pair's undoing.

I was surprised at how many clues the investigators can find very quickly -- especially if the runners use electronic devices of any kind. Facebook and computers leave behind big clues. Even attempts to avoid electronics had their drawbacks. Two men's secret message system, using the U.S. Postal Service, was even thwarted. Who knew that the mail service takes photos of every piece of mail it delivers?

So Bob and I had some fun trying to figure out where we would run if we were on the show.

The rural landscape in Currituck and surrounding areas seems like a good place to hide. There's not many video cameras and the vast stretches of water and woods would make good cover.

Here's five of our choices, in order of least desirable to most desirable:

5. Hide out in Dismal Swamp State Park. With its history as part of the Underground Railroad, we know it can offer good cover. It's also inhospitable. I figured the mosquitoes and ticks would flush us out, even if the investigators did not.

4. Ask some fishermen to take us to one of the many marsh islands in our region. If we brought our own crab pots, we may be able to find enough food. We could end up in a place like Monkey Island, a rookery for all types of birds, which would be fun to watch. The problem would be the cottonmouths; Monkey Island, a preserve that's off limits to humans, is home to large numbers of cottonmouths,

3. We could hide in the vacant top floor of a tall downtown waterfront building in Elizabeth City, but gaining permission and access to stay there would probably leave a trail for investigators. The woods at the edge of cornfields might be another option, if we decided to camp out. There would be plenty of food, but sharp-eyed farmers may give us away.

2. The off-road beaches may be a fun place to hang out, but totally impractical unless we found a house to stay there. We'd have a difficult time hiding behind sea oats when the investigators launched drones and helicopters. We could make a run to the Currituck Lighthouse where we would have a panoramic view of all the black SUVs keeping surveillance.

1. Our favored way of hiding out would be to hop a ride on a huge yacht at Coinjock Marina and earn our keep as crew for the huge boat.

On second thought...finding a place to hide, even in rural northeastern North Carolina, would not be easy.

Cindy Beamon is editor of the Albemarle Life section in The Daily Advance. Contact her at cbeamon@dailyadvance.com