A walk in the park.
We are blessed to have two very nice state parks within a short drive of our home, Umstead and Eno River. Here in North Carolina, so far, access to the state parks is still free and Shawn and I have a goal to eventually visit all of them. I am so thankful our government leaders in years past set aside these lands. Both Umstead (15 minutes away) and Eno River (45 minutes away) have their plusses and it can be hard to choose which one to see. This has been a great week as we went to Umstead for a Sunday afternoon excursion and today I took a day off from work and we explored Eno River. I did not call in sick, ok, I used a vacation day.
Shawn loves to take pictures and we usually see something worth capturing on every hike. Who would expect the falls at Umstead to be completely flowing this late in the summer? All the local thunderstorms have kept things well hydrated. This view is from the top of the dam and we usually (carefully) walk out and slid down to move downstream but not this time. The lake was overflowing, the dam had wall to wall water spilling over, and the rocks below were extremely slick. We didn’t take a chance and opted to climb uphill and hike around.
The next views were taken below the dam. Most years in August this area is quite fragrant as the stream over the dam is tiny trickle and the water in the pool below is still and brackish. We ran into some NC State students who were sunning on the rocks and graciously continued their hike while recommending we take a turn and enjoy the falls. It is encouraging to meet folks who think about others and share. Thanks, men. I hope this year of school for you is great.
In this picture Shawn was capturing a Cardinal Flower in full bloom but with the lighting and the water patterns, it became a masterpiece. Wow! I think that one is getting printed and framed. God has placed so much beauty around us if we take time to stop and look.
Well, on to Eno River. We visited this park for the first time many years ago and I fell in love. It does not matter what is stewing in my mind or what kind of worries are clouding the day – an hour or two at Eno River is just what I need to restore some perspective. Doesn’t this path look inviting and does it not draw you to hike on to see what is waiting around the bend?
Eno River is a treasure. Maybe when I see the crystal clear water flowing and listen to the babble of the rapids, it reminds me of some of the streams I used to visit in West Virginia. I feel at home and at peace when I visit.
Every turn in the path gives a new feast for the eyes!
We saw several fish although I am not an expert on fish-ology. There were turtles sunning themselves on a slow August morning. According to my Mom if one of these bites you it will clamp down and not let go until it thunders. The big guy looked like he could inflict a pretty painful bite.
I spent a few minutes trying to communicate with this heron but I must have an accent. He just turned his head to stare at me as if to say, “Tourists!”
We’ll be back, bud, and next time, maybe I will be able to greet you in your native tongue! Squawk, squawk!