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Wildflowers in Penny's Bend

posted Apr 12, 2014, 12:48 PM by Justin P   [ updated Apr 12, 2014, 3:07 PM ]
After a long winter, spring is finally here.  To celebrate the nice weather, I headed to Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham.  This small preserve on a horseshoe bend in Eno River is one of the best places in the Triangle area to see wildflowers.  Arriving at the preserve, the parking lot was full and I had to park along the street.  Luckily, most of these people were here fishing in the river and I wouldn't have to worry about crowds on my hike.  I started out on the George Pyne Trail that runs parallel to the river.  Almost immediately, I could see an explosion of color along the trail with wildflowers in blue, white, and pink carpeting the forest floor next to me.


It was a beautiful sight and I stopped frequently to capture some pictures of the spring ephemerals.  Further along, near the northwest end of the preserve, I started seeing patches of Dutchman's breeches, a really neat little flower. 


I also saw a big rock with a crack down the middle.  Out of the crack were growing several little clumps of Spring Beauty.  The number of wildflowers on this short little section of trail was spectacular. 


I took the loop up through an open area and back down to the parking lot and then headed across Old Oxford Highway to Section 23 of the Falls Lake Trail.  There's a new campsite along this section of the trail.  A private landowner is nice enough to allow hikers to camp on his land and I wanted to check it out.  So I hiked about 3 miles east on Section 23 to the well-marked turn onto a blue-blazed spur trail.  The spur trail led through a pine forest to an open area with a shelter, fire pits, and flat ground for tents.  It was a really nice campsite and it's extremely nice of the landowner to allow people to camp here. 


As I was heading back on the Falls Lake Trail, I noticed a few wildflowers, but nothing like the amount in Penny's Bend.  It's amazing what a difference in flora, despite these areas being so close.