Fall Lake Hike with Hiking Group

On Jan. 12, 2014, I went hiking with the hiking group I am apart of.  Here are some pictures from my hike that day. I love the fact that now I am using Photoshop to edit the photo.  I am able to get more blue sky in my pictures.  On such a sunny day, most of the time my photo never turn out looking like a sunny day before I edit them.

Croatan National Forest Oyster Point Campground

Croatan National Forest

This last weekend, I went on a camping trip at Oyster Point Campground inside Croatan National Forest.  I had so much fun on my trip.   It cost only $8 dollars per night. The host camper was really nice.  They were celebrated their anniversary and looked really happy.

The only draw back to the trip was that the bug spray does not work again horseflies. I started my first day by hiking on Neusiok trail; however I lost the trail and the horseflies was eating me alive. I spend the morning on the trail.  The trail was enjoyable in the fact that I saw wild blueberries, turtles, and wildflowers.  I did not want to spend the whole day on a 22 mile trail and get eating by horseflies, so I used my GPS on my phone and found the nearest beach.  I have never been to the beaches of NC so it was a new adventure for me.  I went to Emerald Isle Beach.  My first thought when I learn of Emerald Isle in NC was the anime seriesAvatar the Last Airbender” when Zuko and his sister and her friend went on vacation.  When the old lady twins said, “Emerald Isle a magical place when you can learn things about your self that you never knew.” Well, it did feel like a new day. The water looked as the color of emerald stones. As I sat on the beach, I could feel the saltwater air and smells of the oceans. I was able to relax and spend some time swimming.

Emerald Isle NC

As the day die down, I headed back to camp.  I set up my tent and made a fire. I had a little trouble started my fire at the beginning.  I used magnesium fire starter but it was too windy, so I borrowed some matches from the host camper.  After that I had a nice fire and I boiled some water for my ramen. As I was making my dinner, some more people came to the campground.  They were having trouble founding fire wood so I help them.  I knew where the fire wood was and I had my handle headlight to guide me. After that I put my camp fire out and when to bed in my tent.  I had trouble sleeping because the ground was hard but I was so tire that I fell asleep right away.  It was weird, I was asleep but I could heard everything going on around me.  The campers next to me was up almost the whole night and new campers was setting up their tent.

The next morning, I walked a small trail behind my camp set  that lead to the water bank.  I saw these tiny crabs and hermit crabs. The view of the water bank from there was beautiful.  There was many different birds in the distance fishing. I did not see any alligator but I heard them through out the night and the other camper was freaking out. I forget something that most people are not used to alligators.  I grow up in New Orleans, so alligators don’t scary me. They normally stay in the water or near the water unless the female alligator lay a nest. Many years ago, when I visit the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans their was female alligator guarding her nest near the waterway. That is the closest I been to an alligator.

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After that I say my good-bye to Oyster Point  Campground  and heading out.  On my way back home, I stop off at another park of the National Forest.  It was much better trail to walk on for sure because no horseflies. It was loop trail and it had many good points about it.  It had plant life that I never seen before.  There was a snake on the trail; however, I did not know about it right away because a lady with two dogs was walking toward me.  The lady step on the snake and I did not see the snake until she pointing it out.  I don’t like dogs so I a little on guard when dogs come near me. It was a copperhead snake. I also saw this really cool dragonfly. There was also some nice outlook point when you can see the water from up high. At one point the path turn into a water board path when  you cross this dry up swamp.

This trip really did feel like a small vacation.  I got some sun and was able to relax. I walk some cool trails and saw many cool things. It was not terrible hot and in fact I fell cold at night.

Lower Haw River Trail

Lower Haw River

Today, I hiked Lower Haw River Trail with a group of hiker.  We had so much fun. Many people do not hike on Lower Haw River so the trail is sometime hard to find.  Sometime it require us to zigzag until someone found the trail. There were lots of poison ivy and ticks. Most of us had bug spray on; however, most of us found ticks on us. We crossed two waterway.  We hiked up to 1 hour and 20 minutes and turned back.  The whole trail is 10 mile in one direction.

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This hike was a lot different than I normally hike, because I hike with others this time.  As we hiked, we talked and learned little bit about each other.  I did not focus a lot on taking pictures of wildlife this time because I was having a lot of fun. In the photo to the left, you can see one of the guys climb up a tree to get a better view of the river. We stop here and there to view the river.  It was such a beautiful day today.

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We climbed on rocks from time to time. We found raccoon and deer trails on the trail. We saw lots of frogs and one eastern box turtle. Sometime we could see snakes swimming in the river. The most amazing thing was the blue heron. In the past, I had the hardest time taking a picture of one because they would fly off right away. Today, I was successful at taking a picture of a blue heron.

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

This trail could be counting as a little uneasy because of the tall grass and thorns vines. There was lots of jumping over logs and climbing over rocks.  The stream crossing were not mark so it took some investigation. There was lots of ticks but I heard from one of the hiker that it get a whole lot worst in the up coming month of June. It did help to hike in a group because we were able to warned the next person if there was a hole or thorny bushes.  Plus we check each other back for ticks. Basically, we help each other out when needing.

Afterward we went out for lunch and talk some more. Than we drive back to our carpool check point.  It make sense to carpool for their is not much of a parking area.  The trail-head start right off highway 64.

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Jordan Lake State Park (Part 2:Ebenezer Church Trail/Parkers Creek Beach)

Ebenezer Church Trail

After spend the whole morning hours at New Hope Lookout, I hiked on Ebenezer Church Trail inside Ebenezer Church Recreation Area at Jordan Lake State Park. The forecast for the day says that it would rain.  As I walked toward the trail it look like rain was about to come down but as soon as I got on the trail. There was no rain in view.  I was so blessed with sunshine and a nice cool fresh. The forest floor look so beautiful it was like I was in a fairy tale with green cover and sun rays coming down from the sky through the canopy.

I may come back to this location in June because their might be more frogs around the area due to all of the waterways.  I like looking for frogs in the morning time because they move very slow because they are cold-blooded.  They are easier to catch on camera, too. By the way, I am took all of these picture using my phone.  I do not have the money to buy a digital high quality camera. I work with what I have and I make it work.

The way I picked what trail I am going to hike has to do with if the trail is near a water source. Wildlife are more active around water sources such as wetlands, ponds, or lakes.  All living things need water.  Most common animals that I see around ponds and lakes are turtles, snakes, dragonflies, frogs, ducks, and etc.

rat snake

On that day, I saw a rat snake and a Copperhead snake. The rat snake was on the ground around the pond while the Copperhead snake was hiding in the pond near the surface. The Copperhead snake came pretty close to me. I was minded my own busy trying to take pictures of minnows when the Copperhead snake decide it wanted to be part of the photo shoot. I guess Copperhead want to be movies stars, too.

Copperhead Snake

After that I finish hiking Ebenezer trail so I went to check out Seaforth trail. However, the trail was close.  I really looked forward to the wetland boardwalk, I guess I have to try it another time. So I went to Parkers Creek Recreation Area and hanged out on the beach.  I found a cool spot to put my feet in the water and enjoyed the beautiful day. I don’t know if there is a sign on my back that say I am good with kids because for some reason there is always this one kid that come up to me and want to tell me about something that they saw was cool. So  that is how I ending my day at Jordan Lake. It was fun and I saw lots of cool things.

I think this is an awesome picture I took of a pond on Ebenezer Church Trail.

I think this is an awesome picture I took of a pond on Ebenezer Church Trail.

 

Jordan Lake State Park (Part 1:New Hope Overlook)

Few weeks ago, I spend the whole day at Jordan Lake State Park.  I planned to be at the park all day so I packed a lunch, snacks, and water. I put everything in my rucksack. My rucksack is very important to me because it was given to me when I was in the army. I am used to be carried heavy rucksack due to my army experience.  Hiking with a rucksack is more of a challenge and it is great at increasing your endurance. I enjoy the workout that I get from it.  Plus because I am prepared for all day it make it is easier for me to commit to 5 plus miles trail.

I started the day by hiking on New Hope Overlook Trail Red.  The red trail is 5.4 miles and it is a moderate level. The trail is mark with Red and Blue hiker on the trees so you know which trail you are on.  The New Hope Overlook trail is a new trail put on my the state park.  When I first starting this hike, I meant to hike around the whole loop including red and blue trail.  However, the trail was confused so I end up hiked only the red trail. I will have to hike this trail more often to get used to it.

Otter NestThere are some places on the trail that look like beaver or otter homes.  I went on a Saturday so any water life was hard to spot because of all of the speed boats. However, beavers are normally active during the night-time.  Some of my researcher friends told me about how they stood on a beaver nest in the middle of a pond at night because they were survival frogs by their sounds.  The beavers were not too happy that they were standing on their house so they splash them and my friends left all wet.

green flowers

Since I started hiking in NC, I came across these beautiful flower that are mostly green with little white and orange on the tip of the flower. I am having a hard time figure out what tree the flower come from.  If anyone know, please tell me because I am curious to found out.

One thing that is great about hiking on Jordan Lake is that you can pay for car entrance  day pass at one recreation area and show that receipt to other recreation area in the park to enter. It was great for me because I was able to checkout many different trails in many different recreation area.

I will say this, I have more to write about this day.  I will write it in parts so this part 1.

Awesome Day!!!

Awesome Day!!!

 

Pea Creek & Dunnagan Trail Eno River State Park

Pea Creek Trail

Today, I enjoy a wonderful hike on Pea Creek and Dunnagan Trail at Eno River State Park.The photo on the left is Pea Creek Trail during the later morning. As a kid, I would play in the woods behind my relation house and make a club house made of vines and other material.  The trail remember me of that like I was on an adventure living off of the land.

I love the sound of water flowing.  It is peaceful and comfortable.  The water flow around the rocks and logs, there is no going through. The noise of everyday life can sometime feel overbearing that is why I like to hike.  I looked for a place on the trail where I don’t hear cars or people.  I walked until I hear nothing but birds and water flowing. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people.  There are some morning where I want to clear my mind.

This morning I saw several six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) and American Toad.  The racerunner had a spider in it mouth. When I first starting walking on these trails, I would jump every now or than because it sound like someone would run up from behind me.  However, it was the racerunner dashed from their sun spot. A couple of time, they ran in between my feet. They are very fast (18 mph). The toads are not as fast as the racerunner but as soon as I figure that was the racerunner, then I was able to spot the toad.

American Toad

Six-liner racerunner

Sometime, when I am hiking I stop to read a book or write in my journal   A friend of mine give me a book to read so I stopped half way through my hike to read of the book. So far it is a good book that talks about how we ignore our heart’s wants. It was a hard topic for me because I am having a hard time understand what I want.  I know that I enjoy hiking and I love science. I know right now my job does not match up with what I  want to do.  All I can do is applied for jobs that does match up with what I want.

Hopefully, one day I will be able to enjoy a career in natural resource or similarly field. Until than I will keep hiking and work my day job.