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South Mountains State Park

posted May 15, 2011, 7:18 AM by Justin P   [ updated May 15, 2011, 12:30 PM ]
Went hiking at South Mountains State Park for the first time yesterday.  It rained on the way up, but stopped almost immediately when we started hiking and was sunny the entire day until we got back to the parking lot!  The mountain laurel were in bloom and were nearly everywhere throughout the park.  Hiked up the Chestnut Knob trail and rested at the overlook and went down to the arch underneath.  Then hiked to Sawtooth Trail to Horseridge Trail and down Possum Trail.  Hiked up Shinny Trail, which has a steep climb once it stops following the Shinny Creek, then came down the Upper Falls Trail to High Shoals Falls Loop.  On the Upper Falls Trail, we saw a Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) just off the trail.  It's a nocturnal snake, so seeing one during the day is a rare treat.  At the bottom, we stopped at the beautiful waterfall to take pictures and rest for a bit, then headed back to the parking lot.  We stopped in Morganton for Mexican food and beer and headed back to Raleigh.  It was a long day, we were gone for almost 18 hours, but a lot of fun!  Will upload some pictures soon.