Monday, January 21, 2013


          MLK Day Tribute

Sunburst over Pilot from Moore's Knob
Patty Griffin wrote a wonderful song in tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It is linked above and it is my hope that you will listen to the words as you contemplate the beautiful mountains and your commitment to the service of others.

Mountain Climber at Pilot Mountian

 "I went up to the Mountain, because you asked me to.  Up over the clouds to where the sky is blue-I could see all around me, everywhere- I could see all around me, everywhere"

Shortoff Mountain Trail

"Sometimes I feel like I've never been nothing but tired and I'll be working till the day I expire.  Sometimes I lay down, no more can I do.  But I go on again, cause you ask me to."

Cooks Wall

Cooks Wall

"Somedays I look down, afraid I will fall and though the sun shines I see nothing at all.  Then I hear your sweet voice, oh.  Oh, come and then go.  Telling me softly, you love me so!"

Cooks Wall Couple at Hanging Rock State Park

Shortoff Mountain


 "The peaceful valley just over the mountain. The peaceful valley, few come to know."

Lake James

"I may never get there, ever in this lifetime"

But sooner or later, it's there I will go.  Sooner or later, it's there I will go."      AMEN!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eno River State Park- Bobbits Hole

               ENO RIVER STATE PARK
            Cole Mill, Bobbit Hole, Pea Creek Trail

Late Saturday afternoon we decided to travel down I-85 to visit the eastern section of Eno River State Park....we have discovered that there are many nice river trails in this wonderful park on the border of Orange and Durham Counties between Hillsbourgh and Durham....wilderness is where you look for it!

To get to this section of the Park, you follow the signs off NC 70 to Pleasant Ridge Road but when the sign points to a left turn onto Cole Mill Road....turn the next stop light take a right and you are at the Cole Mill Trail access of the Eastern Portion of the Eno River State Park.  

This section of the Park follows the river....we started on the Cole Mill loop and then took the Bobbit Hole Trail to the river.....and Bobbit Hole...

I understand that Bobbit Hole is a popular swimming hole in the summer but on this winter's day it is a quick flowing rapid.  Not going to see the Fat Bald White Guy make this a cotton tail falls today....too fast....too muddy!
Bobbit Hole marks the end of the trail on the western side of the Eno River in this section of the park....and there we spotted a couple sharing a bench and the scenery....don't worry about them...they passed us on the trail about a mile down stream from Bobbit's Hole!

The trail from Bobbit Hole follows the western bank of the Eno River until it intersects with the Cole Mill Loop Trail.....which also follows the western bank of the Eno River....and if you like river views this is the hike to take....

The river was swift muddy and high but there were several interesting rapids

We saw several kayaks in the parking lot but never saw any on the river. Today would have been a good day to take a ride down the river....

The western bank of the Eno River is a series of rocky bluffs.  I understand that the Mountain to Sea Trail runs along these bluffs ....but the only crossing is the Cole Mill Road about a two miles downstream from Bobbit to make that hike this winter before the leaves come back and obscure the view of the river.

Several times along the trail we were reminded that Eno River State Park lies on the border of Durham and Orange Counties.... not sure why that is important but decided to memorialize it in a picture nonetheless.

As the trail hugs the bank of the river we found ourselves slipping and sliding ....and my hiking companion actually fell twice....I laughed the first time ...but thought better of it the second time!

As we got closer to the Cole Mill Road bridge the river calmed and cleared.....and we were treated with many great reflections!
The river turns northward and the setting sun produced some nice shadows and spotlights.

Looking upstream a single Carolina Pine was bathed in sunlight while the river rapids flowed in the shadows.

“Where are there lots of colors, Colton?" "In Heaven, Dad. That's where all the rainbow colors are!” 
― Todd BurpoHeaven is for Real

We even photographed a rainbow....but found no pot of gold along the trail.

The Cole Mill Trail ends within sight of the Cole Mill Road bridge and turns into the Pea Creek Trail which leads under the bridge and then loops to the right and just over the ridge it follows the banks of Pea Creek.  There is a bridge crossing Pea Creek to the Dunnagan Loop Trail. Due to the lateness of the hour we elected to bypass the Dunnagan Loop and follow Pea Creek back to the river. It was there that we experienced one of the best reflective views I have ever seen.....see what you think?
Can you tell which picture is upside down?

Eno River State Park is full of surprises.  Like all of the State Parks we have hiked, it is well maintained and enjoyed by many. There are several more trails left for us to hike.  If you want to hike this trail hike it reverse of our trek.  Start out on the Pea Creek Trail and take the Dunnagan Loop and then follow Cole Mill Trail to Bobbits Hole. It should be about 6 miles long and a great day hike for all ages.  The Trail is an 8....the scenery a 7 and access is an 8....great overall 8 grade.  We had fun and so will you!   

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stone Mountain State Park


Intentionally waiting to hike Stone Mountain State Park in the winter was a great 2305 feet, the summit is similar to Pilot Mountain or Moore's Knob in elevation and is not a hike to do on a hot day....but what we found on a warm January day was another gem of a State Park...don't miss out on this hike as this park has many beautiful and varied vistas.....and steps!

Thanks to the report of Tom Mangan at his Two Heel Drive blog (, I had an idea that taking a right on the Summit Loop Trail from the Upper Parking Lot access would get me to the summit without encountering steps...if you choose to access the Summit from the Lower Parking Lot, you will enjoy an ascent to the summit of Stone Mountain by way of 555 steps....ouch?!

Following Tom's advice we turned right at the Chimney.... and began our 4.3 mile loop trail with an easy walk along a wide switchback trail 1.4 miles to the summit....we still had 555 steps but they were all down hill!

This loop hike will surprise you as it is a moderately strenuous 5.1 mile hike from the Upper Parking Lot.  But that was not the biggest surprise....I never expected the scenery on a winter hike at Stone Mountain to be so we got in a great workout and got to see some wonderful sights......first the view from on top of the Mountain...

On the way to the summit, there are a few nice
views.  The Blue Ridge is just a few miles to the west.

The summit faces south and we could watch as the sun began to burn off the fog on the smoky Blue Ridge.
Solitary Pine grows in the rock face summit of Stone Mountain

On the trail off the summit there are many opportunities to explore side trails and take in other views.  I found one on the north side and was treated with a look north toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Getting off the summit is assisted by some very sturdy cables which would be much appreciated if the rock was wet..... 

But then you begin the 555 step descent....boy I am glad I did not have to climb up this way!  Thanks Tom!  The trail down is very pleasant walk through mountain laurel.  Took a shot of a small rhodie with sunlight peaking through the leaves like a Christmas ornament.   

The trail passes the access to the lower parking lot and turns toward the base of the mountain and in about 1.5 miles you come upon a remarkable historical reproduction of a mountain homestead....with a back drop of Stone Mountain...a photographer's delight.

You could spend an hour or more exploring the farmstead but if you are like me it is the Mountain that draws your attention. 

Imagine waking up every morning to this view. I tried to think what the mountain reminded me of and finally I decided it looked like a giant scoop of fudge ripple ice cream.....What can you say....only a Fat Bald White Guy would be thinking about fudge ripple ice cream on a hiking trail!

In the category of things the Fat Bald White Guy would never do, chalk up rappelling down the face of Stone Mountain! We watched these three guys rappel down and then climb back up the rope and do it again....amazing!

Proving that some of the best views on a trail are behind you, I turned around as I was leaving the farmstead and caught one of the best views of the day.

About 3/4 mile up the loop trail we began to follow a mountain creek upstream toward the Stone Mountain falls....and if you follow this blog you know how much the FBWG loves to play in a creek.....what I found might be some of the best creek views I have seen.

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely  Rev. 22:17
We encountered a small but very impressive waterfall which ran the breadth of the creek and on the far end formed an amazing fountain that seemed to explode over and over again. 

Soon we came to the Stone Mountain Falls which is a 200 foot waterfall which looks like some kind of super slide at Emerald Point Water Park.

Of course to get back to the upper parking lot access we had to climb the trail from the bottom to the top of the falls.....and how do you think we made that guessed it....STAIRS!  

This was a great hike. It was not easy but a nice 5.1 mile heart thumper with some really great views.   The trail is an 8...too many steps for a 9 but one of the best maintained trails I have seen....the scenery is an 7.... access off Route 21 about ten miles west of 77 is an easy ride from the Triad is a 9...overall a solid 8 hike

Oh by the way....since it was Sunday we did try to go to church....seems that folks have service here every Sunday from May-October and on the first Sunday of the other months....we were a couple weeks early but one of these days we are going to visit with the good folks at Garden Creek Baptist Church!