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Wake County Wildflowers

posted Apr 15, 2018, 11:27 AM by Justin P   [ updated Apr 15, 2018, 3:20 PM ]
Sunday morning, I headed out to check out the wildflowers locally.  Being mid-April, they should really be popping.  My first stop was the Reedy Creek entrance to William B. Umstead State Park to hike Company Mill Trail.  There were a lot of spring beauties flowering along the trail, especially where it followed the creek closely.

Along Crabtree Creek, there were a couple spots where Pinxter azaleas were blooming over the creek.

I also spotted a great blue heron fishing in Crabtree Creek.

It had been raining when I drove in this morning, but the sun had come out and it had become a beautiful day.  After finishing up the trail, I headed into Cary to Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.  First I hiked down to the East Hemlock Overlook to see the massive old trees for which the area is named.

Normally found in the mountains, Eastern hemlock live here due to the microclimate of the steep north-facing bluffs.  Continuing down the stairs, I hiked the Swift Creek loop.  Down in the floodplain of the creek, a lot of spring beauties were blooming.

I spotted this wildflower, maybe a sorrel, right at the end of the boardwalk.

Further on the loop, I also spotted some wild geranium.

Then I hiked the other loops before finishing up.  But I had one more place I wanted to stop before finishing, so made the short drive over to Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve.  This preserve is small at only 23 acres, but big on wildflowers.  There were a ton of wild geranium blooming right near the trailhead.

I got on the Swift Creek Loop and saw a couple atamasco lilies, one of my favorite wildflowers.

Hiking up along the creek, I saw lots of spring beauty blooming right along the creek.

A lot of star chickweed as well, but none of the geranium by the creek.

I also saw an Eastern Comma butterfly next to the creek.

After hiking along Swift Creek, I took the Stairway to Heaven up past the huge beech trees.

It's finally gotten warmer out and I was feeling it climbing up the stairs.  The steep bluffs feel really out of place for being right in Cary, but once at the top, houses are visible - a reminder of the preserve's suburban location.  After finishing up, I hiked back to the car, stopping one more time to see the beautiful geranium.

Swift Creek Bluffs is definitely a great local place to see spring wildflowers.