Fall along the Eno

Dogs are distracted by squirrels, cats by mice, men in midlife crisis by red sports cars they can barely fit into. Me? A cloudless sky and 70-degree temperatures.

For most of this past week, I managed to avoid the temptation to leap from my desk and run out into the woods chasing after fall. After the changing colors, the curious quiet, the long shadows knifing across the forest floor. But by Thursday afternoon my discipline was shot. I looked out the window, saw another leaf fall and grabbed my day pack and was off. Off to my favorite place to greet fall in the Triangle: the Eno River.

The Eno is a serpent of solitude meandering through Orange and Durham counties. From its headwaters north of Hillsborough to its dissolution 40 miles downstream in Falls Lake, the Eno and much of the land adjoining it is protected parkland. To date, more than 5,700 acres have been protected along the river, thanks largely to the efforts of the Eno River Association. For much of the trip, the riparian environment is more rocky Appalachian creek bed than passive Piedmont stream. Hike the adjoining ridgelines and you’ll pass through mature oak-hickory forests more typical of the Piedmont. It’s the ideal fall escape.

Here’s a quick slide show from yesterday’s hike. Watch it, then succumb to the Eno’s fall allure yourself.

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Driven to Eno distraction?

Two Web sites should provide just about all the direction you’ll need for your own Eno escape, the Eno River State Park site and that of the Eno River Association.

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