Fall arrives in the Piedmont: Eno River State Park

In the two weeks since our summery dip in the Cape Fear River, fall has sneaked into the Piedmont, complete with brisk temperatures and golden leaves and a time change that allows nighttime to accost you suddenly just after 5 p.m.  Yesterday, a sunny, beautiful, and very autumnal day, we hiked the 3.75-mile Cox Mountain trail at Eno River State Park.  It was chilly and the sky was that deep blue that comes only with fall.

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Out of the parking lot, into the forest.

Eno River State Park is a 25-minute drive from Chapel Hill.  It’d be a great escape to the countryside, if Chapel Hill was the kind of urban jungle you needed to escape to the countryside from.  The park is dominated, as its name suggests, by the Eno River, which winds its way without any hurry to Falls Lake, near Raleigh.  I can’t call it a big river–Scott, who grew up next to the Columbia, would laugh–though it is more a big river than Cox Mountain, topping out at 680 feet, is a mountain.  But the Eno River is a perfect size for strolling along and, in warm months, for a puppy to swim and a person to wade.  And the Cox Mountain trail provides plenty of beautifully forested, mildly strenuous, and mostly deserted trail to work off the Halloween candy you didn’t share with the neighborhood kids.

The Eno River, after the descent from Cox Mountain

The Eno River, after the descent from Cox Mountain.

The trail begins with a bang, or at least some swaying: a wooden suspension bridge across the river.

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Not a fan of the suspension bridge, Sasso pulls Scott across it with all her might.

From the bridge, the trail ascends “steeply” to the “summit”.  We weren’t sure when we reached the summit, but we couldn’t have asked for a lovelier, more sun-dappled trail.

IMG_6670Hiking with Scott and Sasso works out great for me.  I amble along, snapping pictures and staring at the leaves or the sky or the mushrooms.

Oooh, leaves!

Oooh, pretty leaves!

Scott and Sasso run.  They run way up ahead of me, then they run back, straight at me, and skid to a halt behind me.  And then they repeat.  So yesterday I walked about 4 miles, and Scott and Sasso may have run as much as 8.  This strikes me as completely fair.

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It’s probably about time for me to jump out of the way . . .

We amused ourselves along the way by trying to get good shots of ourselves with Sasso.  A couple of times this worked well.



Mostly it didn’t.


Sasso rarely deigns to pose for pictures.  Walking her on a fall day can feel like this:


The forest is still.  Why should she be?


9 thoughts on “Fall arrives in the Piedmont: Eno River State Park

  1. Good job! The photographs are perfect. Very entertaining storyline. I like the way you describe the area – makes me want to drive down and take the hike myself – and then add some Sasso antics. Look forward to your next entry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A spring (really! officially! spring) hike at Umstead State Park | The North Carolina Project

  3. Pingback: Blink and you will miss it | The North Carolina Project

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