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Sandhills Hikes

posted Nov 22, 2018, 11:14 AM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 23, 2018, 4:36 PM ]
I took the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off so Sandy and I could take Alex for some hikes.  We headed south towards Fayetteville for our first hike at Carvers Creek State Park.  Our first order of business was to get Alex's passport stamped.

Then we set off on Rockefeller Loop Trail heading down the old gravel road.  I was surprised to see a fair amount of fall color down here in the Sandhills.

We didn't have much up in the Triangle and most of the trees down here are pines.  As we got towards the former millpond, there were a few old buildings.

The most impressive was the Rockefeller House.  It's not open to the public currently, but may in the future following restoration.

Next to here was the Spring House where water was stored and items could be refrigerated.

The millpond was no longer - flooding in 2016 had destroyed the dam and the millpond drained.  We hiked around to where the floating overlook had been.  It was completely destroyed.  There were still some cypress trees in the creek that fed the millpond.

A creek flowed through the middle of the former millpond but most of it had dried out.

There are plans to replace the dam in the future, so one day it will hopefully be restored.  Heading back, we went right on Rockefeller Loop.

Last time we were here, it was an out-and-back, but now it was a loop that ran along the property's edge right behind some private homes.  Near the visitor center, the trail cut back across, leading across the entrance road and back to the park office.  From here, we headed to Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve.  Parking at the visitor center, we got Alex's passport stamped.

Then we hit the trails, taking Bower's Bog Trail to Lighter Stump Trail and heading north through the preserve.  At Pine Island Trail, we went right and got on the Equestrian Trail to hike around the perimeter of the preserve.  Like Carver's Creek, there was a lot of fall color along the trail, despite being a pine forest.

Water levels were higher than normal for autumn and it was noticeable along the creek and at Moccasin Crossing.

Past the crossing we took Gum Swamp Trail past some shrubs with pretty red foliage.

Then finished up our hike on Pine Barrens Trail.  But we had one more hike for the day.  We made the short drive over to the Paint Hill section of the park as we had never visited here before.  Starting out on the Pyxie Moss Trail, it was too late in the year to see the trail's namesake, which bloom in spring.  But we did see some other pretty pine barrens gentians blooming in a couple places.

At the far end of the loop, we followed service roads to an old cemetery.  Two grave markers were readable - a couple born in the late 19th century.

We followed the service roads back to the main trail and followed to the end at Fox Squirrel Loop.

This short loop led back to Pyxie Moss Trail near the trailhead.  Leaving the park, we headed into Pinehurst and had dinner at Hickory Tavern.  They had a nice outdoor seating area so Alex could join us.  After dinner, we made the drive home.