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Hello and welcome to my hiking and traveling site, Take A Hike.  My name is Justin and I love to travel and hike to see new places.  I live in Raleigh, North Carolina, so most of the pages I've created are dedicated to that region.  I made this website to share my adventures with the world through photographs and custom maps of the locations I've visited.  I originally developed this site as a single, central location to keep all of my maps, photos, and information I've collected in my travels.  Now, I hope to share my passion for the outdoors and all things nature and hope some of this information can help others.

Many of the pages are in varying levels of completeness.  This is due to my busy schedule with work as well as spending most of my free time hiking and being outdoors, leaving little time to work on this site.  But as I find some time here and there, I will continue to update and improve the site.  All of the maps and information are as accurate as possible, but sometimes GPS devices make errors and trail routes can change.  I've included links to the official websites for all the destinations so I would encourage any user of my site to check with the official website to ensure no changes have been made.

To navigate the site, click the Locations tab above to bring up a master list of all the locations that I have created pages for.  Or read some of the blog entries from some of my most recent adventures.

  • Duke Forest Hikes Saturday was going to be hot, but I wanted to get a hike in before it got too bad.  I headed to the Al Buehler Trail in Duke Forest.  This trail is on Duke Campus and technically not in the forest, but it's maintained by the forest.  From the parking area off NC-751, I hiked clockwise around the loop.  The trail first passed through a wetland area where stream restoration is underway.Just off the trail was a wildlife blind, though I didn't see anything in the wetlands.Shortly past here, the trail crossed over a dam that created a retention pond to improve water quality.A connector trail led to a short fitness loop and then ...
    Posted May 18, 2019, 3:08 PM by Justin P
  • Alex's Birthday Hike Saturday we Alex's 10th birthday so we had to celebrate.First, we headed to Eno River State Park for a morning hike.  Parking at the Fews Ford access to the park, we first hiked the Cox Mountain Trail up and over its namesake and then along the river.  There were a lot of mountain laurel blooming along the river.Then we crossed back over the suspension bridge and hiked the Buckquarter Creek Trail.  There were still lots of wildflowers blooming along the river.Coreopsis and fire pink were adding some color to the river.It was pretty hot and humid by the time we finished but we missed all the rain storms.  Heading back to Raleigh, we had lunch ...
    Posted May 11, 2019, 3:12 PM by Justin P
  • Calloway Forest Wildflowers Saturday, we took Alex for a hike in the Sandhills.  We took US-1 south to Southern Pines and then NC-211 past Aberdeen to Calloway Forest Preserve.  This area of longleaf pine forest is being restored through prescribed burns to support the red-cockaded woodpecker and other rare species dependent on the longleaf.The land was given to the Nature Conservancy by the NCDOT in 1981 and is now part of Rockfish Creek Game Land.  A wildlife road runs through the preserve and makes for a great hike.The spring wildflowers were really blooming in the forest.  Bull nettle has small white flowers, but I kept a distance from this stinging plant.There were lots of blue sky lupine ...
    Posted May 17, 2019, 4:40 PM by Justin P
  • Hot Day in Phoenix Saturday morning, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel then made the short drive to the Mormon Trailhead parking for South Mountain Preserve.  By 9 in the morning, it was already hot, but at least it wasn't humid.  The Mormon Trail heads straight up the mountain, but it wasn't too steep.  As we got up higher, there were great views of Phoenix and the valley.  Although the mountains were steep, the valley was almost perfectly flat.  We saw a number of lizards on the hike, including some "carrot tail" chuckwallas.  They seemed to be enjoying the 90 degree weather.  When we got to the top, we took the National Trail to Hidden Valley Loop and went left ...
    Posted Apr 26, 2019, 4:55 PM by Justin P
  • Canyoneering Parker Creek Friday morning, we checked out and headed to Ma's Kitchen for breakfast.  Then we made a short drive to the diversion dam and met our guide, David.  From here, we followed David into Tonto National Forest.  Along the way, he pointed out a crested Saguaro cactus along the road.  We parked at a pull Off, got our stuff together and hiked towards Parker Creek canyon.  When we got to the start of the canyon, we put on our wet suits and descended into the canyon.  The first part was just creek walking and pretty easy.  The first real obstacle was a water slide.  We could have gone around but it was a lot more fun sliding down.  We were ...
    Posted Apr 26, 2019, 4:43 PM by Justin P
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