Yesterday the weather was so glorious (75 degrees and clear!) that it would have been criminal not to take advantage of it. So I headed for the nearest patch of green, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, a whopping three minutes from home. Being my first visit, I decided to stop in the Nature Center for some information. There I picked up a guide to the trails, and learned a little about the wildlife I would encounter. I could tell this place was set up for field trips, which made me a little nostalgic for teaching.
I decided to go on the Swift Creek Trail, because it was the shortest and held the promise of seeing water. It was decidedly cooler under the canopy, but still plenty warm enough to be comfortable in a t-shirt. It was very peaceful, and the trail was very well marked and super easy to hike.
It was more of a walk than a hike, actually. The hilliest part had steps built in, so anyone could do it.
The creek turned out not to be very swift at all, probably due to our "drought." We're about seven inches under normal for the season, and Raleigh has even imposed mandatory water restrictions (basically, you can only water your lawn twice a week and you won't get water in a restaurant unless you request it).
Being a Monday afternoon, I had the trail mostly to myself. I encountered about six other parties during the mile-long walk, mostly parents with kids, but also dog walkers. I really enjoyed this little excursion, and it was so close to home and easy to find. I hope to find more places like this to explore!