We get out about once a week to hike usually in central to western North Carolina. We hike slowly and stop often to enjoy the views and the little treasures that nature offers. We enjoy waterfall, river, and mountain hikes frequently visiting The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Moutains National Park, and Pisgah National Forest.
The Grandsons, Matthew and Daniel, joined us for a walk around the Franklin County Nature Preserve of the De Hart Botanical Gardens south of Louisberg, NC. The trail map that we picked up at the gazebo by the small gravel parking lot stated that there were 1.8 miles of hiking trails in each side of the preserve. The trails for the two sides meet only at the parking area.
We walked the area to the right first. This section has plants that have been brought here from other parts of North Carolina. The trail leads up a small hill past some rocks to an overlook of the lake. There were several varieties of flowers blooming. Judging from the azalea bushes and the mention of other flowers including wildpink and Crane Fly Orchids this must be a beautiful place in the Spring.
Beyond the overlook the trail goes down to the lake and crosses on a footbridge. The boys spotted Bass, Brim, minnows, and turtles in the lake. We followed a loop trail through the woods and up the hill on the other side of the lake before finishing the loop around the small lake. The last section of the trail led us through a stand of bamboo and back to the parking area.
We crossed the parking area and took the Waterfall trail. This side of the preserve remains a natural habitat. The trail is a loop except for a short section at the beginning. We were disappointed to find the waterfall almost completely dry. On a short side trail to a historic home site I spotted this log that looked like a alligator to me. What do you see?
Beyond the short detour we passed a smaller lake. This one is much more natural then the one on the other side of the preserve. A frog jumped in the water from the bank as I approached. The trail continues around and follows powerlines back to the beginning of the loop. This whole area is peaceful with easy well maintained trails.