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Lake Norman Camping

posted Dec 23, 2018, 3:53 PM by Justin P   [ updated Dec 28, 2018, 5:11 PM ]
Saturday, we took Alex to go camping at Lake Norman State Park.  We got there around 10 and parked at the Visitor Center to get Alex's passport stamped.


Then we started hiking the short Alder Trail.  This trail follows the little peninsula behind the Visitor Center between Norwood Creek and Hicks Creek, staying very close to the lake shore.  With all the recent rain and melting snow, the water level was way up.  A short spur went out to the dam and spillway that formed the Park Lake.


It was a scenic little spot with the visitor center visible across the small lake.  After a short break, we got back on the main trail and continued around the loop.


There were several other spots along the trail to go out for a view of the lake.  With the water so high, it was very brown and full of sediment.


Where the trail looped back to the beginning, we took the paved Dragonfly Trail to an overlook.


Then it was back to the parking lot.  Continuing further into the park, we next stopped at the trailhead for Lake Shore Trail.  This is the longest hiking trail in the park at about 5 miles in a loop.  We started hiking north along the trail.  The lake was very scenic.


After crossing the park road there was a split where left was a spur to the Group Camp.  We took the short spur to add a little distance.


This spur crossed a scenic little tributary - it wasn't marked on the topo map but there was a little water flowing today.  Continuing on, the trail passed the Boat Launch and then looped around the southern part of the park.


Across the lake were some really huge lake homes.  I really enjoyed this trail - it was hilly enough to be a nice workout but not too strenuous.  And the trail never departed from the shoreline, there were a lot of great views.  I spotted some orange jelly fungus growing on a pine tree.


Past here, a short spur led up to the campsite where we would be spending the night.  Soon the trail came back to the trailhead where we had parked.  It was a little too early to check in to camp, so we headed into Troutman and had dinner at Kyjo's.  We split hibachi and a sushi roll.  Then it was back to camp to set up at site #1.  Being winter, the park was not crowded, so no one else camping near us.  But the sites were really spacious - it was a very nice campground.  We got the tent all set up with just over a half-hour to sunset.


So we took the little spur trail down to the lake to a great spot looking west.  It was a really beautiful sunset!


The sky lit up in pink, orange and purple as the sun went behind the horizon.


As it started to get dark, we made our way back to the campsite and built a nice bonfire.  It got real cold over night so the fire was great to keep us warm.  Then we retired for the evening.  As a husky, Alex makes an excellent space heater for the tent!