Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hoofing at Umstead Park

Howdy everyone! Sunday proved to be another sunny day with temperatures in the low 60's. A great day for paddling... but my wife "reminded" me that it was also a great day to go hiking. ;-) So, we jumped into the car after church and drove 30 minutes on Highway 70 to the William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. Rachel was really interested in hiking... while I was very interested in hiking and scouting any available put in areas for some future yaking! Unfortunately, upon arrival at Umstead, the visitor attendant informed me that no personal boats were allowed in the park, but they did have rental canoes. :-( Indeed! I had no intention of "renting" a paddle craft when I have a perfectly fine kayak of my own! So, with my spirits slightly dampened, we selected to hike Sal's Branch Trail which is rated "moderate" difficulty and was 2.75 miles distance. It passed by Big Lake in Umstead Park, so I would get a glimpse of an "off limits" paddling area.

The trail head near the visitors' center.

Your's truly striking a dramatic silhouette hiking pose!

The trail twisted and wandered among tall trees, still bare of foliage. This area is still in the grips of winter... but spring is just around the corner.

Sal's Branch Trail was identified by orange circles stapled to signs and trees. Also had helpful legends like the "hiker" and "arrows" to help us stay on trail. Umstead has trails for bikes, horses, and two-legged animals like us!

Lots of hard wood trees. In the distance, we could hear jet passenger aircraft landing and taking off at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The park even has a trail branch with an airport overlook area.

My lovely bride posed in front of this massive fallen tree. The root stem was over 8 feet high and diameter over 10 feet. That was a big one!

Big Lake - the "off limits" to personal boats lake. :-(

The water looked so inviting... I was itching to get my kayak and go for a paddle. Of course, there were no boaters in the water since the rental boat shop was "closed" for another month. What's up with that?

Discovered this "grandfather" tree with a curious branch structure.

I did learn that nearby Lake Crabtree off of Interstate 40 does allow canoeing and kayaking. I checked the Website... and sure enough, saw this wonderful sign...

Hope springs eternal... stay tuned. :-)


  1. Great site, Mike. Lots of good info. Jon Hoffman

  2. Hi Jon. Thanks for stopping by! :-)


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