Last hike of the summer, an old place with new (dog) eyes

Today is the equinox; it’s hard to believe summer is over! Hard to believe for a couple of reasons–one, of course, is that in North Carolina the weather has just recently shifted from so sticky you sweat when you twitch to pleasantly warm.

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“Fall, at last!” says Sasso. “Now it’s time to RUN!”

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A spring (really! officially! spring) hike at Umstead State Park

I’ve been trying to sample as many of the hiking trails in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area as I can, and for a while now–probably at least since December, so pretty much forever–I’ve had my sights set on checking out Umstead State Park. On Saturday morning, more social plans were postponed, and the garden looked just fine (no weeds yet!), so Sasso and I finally had our chance for a good long hike in a new park.

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Loblolly pines at Umstead State Park.

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North Carolina rocks: Hanging Rock State Park

Even though we had already been to two rocky state parks (Raven Rock State Park and Chimney Rock State Park, as part of our trip to the Asheville area in August), word of mouth and, of course, my trusty Hiking North Carolina assured me that Hanging Rock State Park is the park to beat in central North Carolina.

The views from Hanging Rock State Park are not bad. Not bad at all.

The views from Hanging Rock State Park are not bad. Not bad at all.

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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.

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Joys of the Piedmont: swimming in late October edition

Would you believe Scott, Sasso, and I went swimming yesterday–October 18?  In a big, rushing river an hour from home?  And that it was warm and perfect in every way*?  I certainly wouldn’t have believed such a thing was possible before moving here, but now I am realizing that October, the best month in many places, is perfect in central North Carolina.

We took a day trip to Raven Rock State Park, currently our favorite place to take Sasso hiking. It’s a delightful, sunlit-foresty 2.5-mile hike from the parking lot to Lanier Falls.

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Lanier Falls. Sort of cheating, this picture is from June.

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