Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 10
Date: June 30th
Notes: We started our second day on this segment as early as we could. We knew it would be another scorcher, so we lined up our cars bright and early (just after 6 a.m.). We made a quick breakfast run at the Bojangles around the corner from the hotel. Drove the short distance out to Hickory Hill Boat Ramp, well we tried to, the road leading to the parking area was closed. We were curious if we could still reach it, but alas we could not. We did see where the MST came out of the woods, but this gave us a short scramble on what to do next. We back-tracked some and discovered another route to the parking area. Then we drove back to the amphitheater parking area in Durham.
What a difference a good nights rest means. We hiked along Eno River for a good long distance, going in and out of woods and a lot of times wading into knee to thigh-high weeds. Keep moving and the ticks won’t get you (more on that later). We came across Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve. Beautiful portion of the trail in the Eno River area. Whoever maintains this did an absolutely great job and it was a joy to get out of the weeds. We crossed Old Oxford road (a little bit of confusion in this area about how to get to the trail. We figured it out and got back on our way, and more high weeds. Then the heat got us. We were getting that mid-morning heat, and it was miserable. We also hit a stretch where we were in the sun a lot while crisscrossing power line areas. Not at all a problem, just hot.
We found ourselves back at the car by mid-afternoon. Heat exhaustion was hitting us hard. I drunk down a Cola and had a small snack then changed into driving home clothes. I noticed a tick bite with the tick grabbed on pretty good. Maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but I yanked him off. He came off cleanly. I then used an anti-bacterial wipe and cleaned the area (later back home found another tick on the back of my calf, but got this one off pretty easily).
Ended up going to the doctor later in the week with an inflamed tick bite area. Not the one I yanked off surprisingly. Be careful! The ticks are bad. I’m soaking my clothes in permethrin before getting back out there. You should too!
Total Miles: 17.47
Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 10
Date: June 29th
Notes: We departed our homes mid-day and drove directly to Durham. It was HOT! 94 degrees at the start of the hike. We took plenty of water and tried to hydrate before the hike. We started approximately at 2pm and followed the footpath around and along the Eno River. At some point or another, we found ourselves at a massive popular quarry site full of young folks swimming and getting sun. We continued on our journey around the quarry thinking if we had time it would be nice to float around and cool it! At some point, someone resting along the quarry asked us if we needed anything water? How considerate! But we were good. We did miss the trail around the quarry, probably because our attention was divided. We soon found our error and continued along. I grabbed a photo (see below) of a young adult carrying their massive pink floater back to their car. lol
The rest of the day was uneventful. The bugs were not too bad, maybe the mosquitos, but I feel like the high intense dose of Off I took before leaving helped me fight them off. We kept moving and made it our destination, a city park in Durham called West Point on the Eno.
We spent the night at the Red Roof Inn, located a local friend for dinner (Peter), and called it a night. I crashed hard. Apparently, there were several arrests made at the hotel that evening. Didn’t hear a thing!
Total Miles: 10.65
Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 9
Date: January 13th, 2018
Notes: Attempted to drop off the car at Eno River State Park but there was a gate and it didn’t open until 8:30a.m. We didn’t feel like waiting around another hour, so we back tracked to Hillsborough and parked in the parking deck there. We then drove back to Food Lion in Mebane (EB 41.0) and aimed to get this hike in and shuffle the cars again and finish the day.
We started the day by pushing through some more road walk and as a note N. Efland-Cedar Grove Rd is some of the most traffic we’ve encountered on these road walks. We keep thinking that surely there is another route that will take you on roads where the speed limit is 45 max. Even though it was 2 miles, it seemed much longer.
We crossed back and forward under I-85 several times. Finally we came across a highlight of the hike and that would be the Eno riverwalk. Very beautiful walkways and greenways here in and around Hillsborough. We stopped and had lunch at Hillsborough BBQ and will go back when we are back in the area for Segment 10. We moved cars after we returned to the parking deck (near Weaver Street Market) and parked just outside Eno River State park on a little side road (more on that in a bit).
We met our friend P and the three of us continued on the path Ayr Mount Plantation and passed the Vietri outlet store (our friend P made note that the owner was a customer of his). We came close to the historic Occoneechee (love to say that) Speedway via the Occoneechee trail and winded our way through the beautiful James M. Johnson Nature Preserve. We climbed a steep embankment up to Hwy 70 where we once again had to endure a slog of a road walk on a very busy highway. K separated himself from us and made a push for the last 4.5 miles to the car.
There he found a park ranger locking the gate and after a quick exchange found that the ranger told him not to park on this side road as it was not part of park property. I find this out later and thought it was amusing that the park ranger was telling him where not to park outside of park boundaries. Oh well, at least we didn’t get locked in for a night.
We finished the day having a meal at El Restaurante Ixtapa and recommend the fish tacos.
Lowlights: Busy roads. Pure and simple. It is only a matter of time before someone who is determined to hike this portion of the MST will find themselves in a bad situation on the side of the road. Do any thru hikers find themselves faced with this? Its very discouraging to say the least.
Highlights: Hillsborough. Weaver Street Market, Hillsborough BBQ, Ixtapa, the riverwalk and of course James M. Johnson Nature Preserve
Total Miles: 20.16 miles