Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Duke Forest Al Buehler CC & Shepherd Nature Trail

Today's journey finds us in Duke Forest at the Shepherd Nature trail and the Al Buehler Cross Country Trail.

We started the afternoon walking the cross country running trail around the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Course. This trail is a little noisy as about half of it parallels Highway 15/501. The trail is nicely groomed with a fine crushed gravel that is really more like light gray sand that is has been compacted. It is an excellent walking surface. Lots of folks run this trail and we saw one bike rider who was just flying. There are some glimpses of the golf course and you walk across the paved entrance to the inn.

There are several side trails and very little signage other than mile and kilometer markers. Somewhere, there is supposedly a paved path to a 32-station fitness course. We didn't see it. All in all, a nice 2.9 mile walk in mostly shade on good surface.

Next, we drove into Duke Forest proper and went to Gate C. The letters and numbers of the gates are hard to see from the road. This is the Shepherd Nature trail that is supposed to be a 0.8 mile loop. Again, not much signage and we got a little confused on which way to go at one point so we just back tracked and got in a little extra walking. There are signs along the trail mostly identifying trees. This trail is a little more rugged in spots than the cross country trail but we easily managed it in running shoes. Boots might be in order after a rain.

We saw deer in 3 different places along the trail and lots of lizards. This trail crosses an access road or two and could use some directional signage but is a nice little walk in the woods. It is always a nice bonus to see deer and other wildlife when hiking in the woods.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

About Raleigh, NC

Raleigh was founded in 1792 as North Carolina's capitol city. It was named for Sir Walter Raleigh, who attempted to establish the first English colony on the shores of the new world in the 1580s.

Raleigh is the capitol of State of North Carolina and the county seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 276,093, making it the second most populous city in North Carolina, after Charlotte.

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill make up the three cities of The Triangle, so named in 1959 with the creation of the Research Triangle Park, a research park between Durham and Raleigh (mostly located within Durham County). The Triangle is a regional population, equivalent to the U.S. Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. Its estimated total population as of 2005 was 1,509,560.

Raleigh boasts more than 4,300 acres of parkland and almost 1,400 acres of water, offering recreational activities year round. A nationally-acclaimed greenway system spans 41 miles, providing walking, jogging and hiking trails that connect many of the city's 150 major parks.

Annual snowfall: 7 inches

Annual rainfall: 41 inches

Most importantly, it is home to our beloved Carolina Hurricanes, winner of the 2006 Stanley Cup, and our alma mater North Carolina State University.

For more information about this area, please visit:

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Nature's Little Pruners

Have you seen a little deer,
Playing in a wood.
Sometimes he lets you go quite near,
And wonders if he should.