Hickory Hill Boat Ramp (Falls Lake) to Hwy 50 (Falls Lake)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 10
Date: Sept 8
Notes: Diverse nature!  We ran across all sorts of interesting animals and creepy crawlies on this hike.  We left later than we intended and found that we could indeed not have to take the detour around a supposed sink-hole.  The first several miles we ran across many many spiders.  A few were at least sizable and got on M’s hat.  He did not appreciate the interest, yet we continued on.

One of the highlights on this hike was coming up on a long boardwalk to cross a large expanse of water and we had opportunities to take in the lake.  I did not take my eyes off the boardwalk as my head gets swimmy.  We crossed a bridge over Little Lick Creek and continued on.

We pushed for most of the morning and met up with our good friend P at Baptist Rd.  It was hot (the high 80s with a feel like temp of mid-90s).  P was so good to us on this trip as he made sandwiches and resupplied our empty water.  We had a great break at his car before all of us getting back on the trail.

There was a lot of clear cut areas, but thankfully the sun was hid for most of the afternoon from the large cloud cover.  We made it back to the car just before dark (K and P needed headlamps).  We came across an Eagle Scout project to build a bridge right at Hwy 50.  Everyone was very friendly and it was encouraging to see some helpful work being done for the hikers in this region.

It was a fun and eventful day and we were all very tired.

Total Miles: 22.84

West Point on the Eno (Eno River) to Hickory Hill Boat Ramp (Falls Lake)

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