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Horton Grove & Penny's Bend

posted Apr 12, 2017, 4:45 PM by Justin P   [ updated Apr 12, 2017, 4:46 PM ]
It was a beautiful, though slightly chilly Spring day, so we took Alex for a hike in north Durham.  First, we headed to Horton Grove Nature Preserve and parked along Jock Road.  We started our hike on Holman Loop, heading through the open meadow.  Three quarters of the way through, we took Hart Trail heading south through the woods, where we really started to see the wildflowers blooming.  It was a little early, but there were a few beautiful dwarf crested irises blooming.


In another week or so, the blooms will be peaking.  There were also a lot of green-and-gold blooming.


Next, we turned right on Justice Loop and followed this down to Jock Road.  We crossed the road and started hiking Walker Trail.  Not surprisingly, there were lots of flowers blooming on this side as well.  Here are some heartleaf foamflowers.


I also found just one wild geranium blooming; it's probably a little early for these flowers, but one was flowering.


Amanda spotted these interesting plants blooming along the forest floor, but I have no idea what they are.


We took Jordan Trail south to the Stagville Great Barn.


Across the street, we picked up Sowell Trail and took a short break at the little farm pond here.  It was a really nice, scenic spot for a snack.


Continuing on Sowell Trail, Amanda spotted some ferns that were arranged in a circle, resembling a pitcher.


From here, we backtracked to Walker Trail and followed this back to the parking area.  From Horton Grove, we went south on Old Oxford Highway to Penny's Bend Nature Preserve for another short wildflower hike.  We followed the Pyne Trail/MST following the river downstream.  There was a lot of star chickweed blooming here.


I was hoping to spot some Dutchman's Breeches, but it was a little too early for them.  I did spot one with a couple early flowers.


At the end of the trail, we took the Natural Heritage Trail up and took a break at Little Blowing Rock and enjoyed the views over the Eno River.  I spotted a little toad on the rock outcrop.  He was really well camouflaged.


We then followed Cash Point Trail across the open meadow and back down to the river.