Last week, a few days before the New Year, my husband and I went to Eno River State Park which spans across Orange and Durham counties, NC. The Eno River is a very old river, and is mired in history and beauty. The remnants of old grist mills that used thrive here still line the river, and before that it is said that many various tribes of Native Americans used to wander these banks and live along the Eno. It’s got very interesting topography, with huge boulders along the trail; some covered in a soft carpet of green moss, others with jagged cuts and sharp angles. Some are as large as a car and others are smaller, piled up in the river itself creating chutes and crevices for the fish and mollusks. This could be really fun to kayak… (note to self, get kayaks SOON!).
This park has numerous trails with different entrances. Some are kind of tough with some steep hills, but this one (and most of them really) isn’t bad at all and was composed of relatively flat and soft earth that followed right along side the river. So this would probably be a good one to bring along your kids or elderly people, or if you just need something less strenuous. The trail we took, which was called Bobbit Hole Trail, was a little over a mile and a half out one way, and terminated at a natural pool where there was a 90 degree bend in the river called Bobbit Hole, which is known to be a great spot for swimming in the summer. We saw a sort of natural “bridge” going across the river, made of boulders and flat rocks connected by some limbless logs that had washed down the river and lodged between them. OF COURSE we had to cross it to the path on the opposite bank! We went across, me more cautiously with my back pack and my husband a little more nimble with his long stride (he’s 6′ 2″), balancing on the logs and climbing over the bigger rocks. But we made it across without getting wet (if you knew me you would know this is a small miracle) and on the opposite bank we saw these massive boulders balanced on one another, remnants of what probably used to be a rock face that collapsed who knows how many decades ago. They made a cool little tunnel you could walk under. We climbed up the steep hill here and when we got to the top, probably around 75-100′ above the river bank, we saw the skeleton of an old house. The only thing left standing were the chimney and some foundational pillars, but what was really cool was they were all made of pure white quartz. The quartz glistened in the now setting sun, which was sinking over the tree line across the river. You could see from the hilltop what must have been a great view for whoever lived here once upon a time; a picturesque and quietly peaceful Eno River glittering in the sunset below through a forest of leafless deciduous trees and a ground littered with soft, golden leaves. Gorgeous. We found a pretty, flat white quartz rock and stuck it in our backpack and hiked on. This side of the river was composed of slightly rolling hills rather than flat earth, and the trail snaked deeper through the forest for about another 2 miles until we were able to get back to our car, just as the sun finally winked out for the day.
Eno River State Park has so much to discover. If you live in or ever get out to the Triangle area of North Carolina, I highly recommend it! I will post about other cool places to discover in NC again soon! Meanwhile, I hope this inspires you to go see what’s out there in your neighborhood or surrounding area. You never know what neat stuff you might find!