Mebane to Eno River State Park

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