Friday, September 06, 2013


As I said before, the kids and I remarked that we had to return to Hemlock Bluffs soon to show Paul, so we awoke early on Labor Day and got ourselves out for a morning hike. The day before some truly gnarly thunderstorms flooded, oh, the whole area I was driving from Va Beach to Raleigh—we’re talking driving 30+ MPH below the speed limit in a caravan of hazard lights, watching carefully to see when my ‘rabbits’* up ahead braked to show me another flooded area… good times, good times—so the morning was much cooler than prior days had been and the creeks were rushing.

We’re still becoming used to the climate here, and getting out early enough to avoid melting into puddles. I will say this: all that perspiration has to be good for the pores, ha ha!

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Hemlock Bluffs has rather gentle slopes to its trails, and in the past few years local Boy Scout troops and a “friends of” society have installed wonderful paths and boardwalks throughout, making it accessible to most anyone who can amble along, from toddlers to the cane-using set.

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The hills in the area are mineral rich, and outcroppings of quartz were everywhere.

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Carter really, really wanted to bring this beaut home with him, but we convinced him to take a photo memory instead.

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The rains allowed many mushrooms to spring up overnight. We saw fairy rings and many kinds of fungi, ‘shrooms, and lichen everywhere. I also shared the story of the time Paul touched a toadstool, then apparently rubbed an eye along the way… and then had to go to the eye doctor the next day with some form of pinkeye. (I also google “boy with fork in his nose image” sometimes to show the kids why they should sit with a fork. I’m a weird mom, I know.)

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The waters had receded, but we could see the high water mark was 4-5’ above this judging by the trampled grasses along the edges. The week before this creek was more of a trickle.

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They are not joking with this sign. We all covered ourselves in the hard-core, DEETy spray in the parking lot, and were so much happier this time around.

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There are benches spaced throughout the trails, so that when your 11 year-old exclaims, “It is too humidity!” (sic) in that tween-y pseudo Valley Girl way they tend to whine, you can give them a rest.

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I found this fella (lady?) creeping along and braved its sticky, sticky feet touching my creeped-out fingers to bring him to visit the kids before we gently placed it back in the leaves.

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Hemlock Bluffs is a wonderful place in the midst of the town of Cary. One feels like they’re far away from ‘it all’ but it’s only minutes down Kildaire Farms Road, in the “middle of it all” and easy to get to for a walk with a dog, a jog, or a family hike. The trails are incredibly well maintained, in the ‘easy to barely moderate’ range in difficulty, with three loops that are all between 0.8 and 1.3 miles and which can be joined or done over and over for those wanting to get their hearts pounding. I can see going there frequently.

*On long drives I always like to find my ‘rabbit,’ that car that wants to go the same speed and will set pace for me, while also warning about upcoming hazards (or troopers). I am not a speeder, so I’m not the greyhound driver seeking a fast rabbit. In fact, I get a lot of flack for my insistence on only driving about 4 miles over the speed limit.

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