Escape … to Harris Lake

Monday (or in this case, since yesterday was the July 4 holiday, Tuesday) — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast, especially come summer. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. 
To help ease this trying transition from out-in-the-Sun-day to Mon-I-wish-I-were-back-in-the-sun-day, we’re running a new feature every Monday, at least during the summer, called 90-Second Escape. Essentially, it’s a 90-second mini-movie of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s out in the sun. Because there’s a good chance you might want to make such an escape yourself, we’ll include a resource list with each escape showing where and how to make it happen.

Today’s 90-Second Escape: Paddling Umstead State Park’s Big Lake.

I’m a regular at Harris Lake County Park’s Hog Run mountain bike trail: eight miles of prime single-track. But frankly, I hadn’t hiked the Peninsula Trail since the park opened more than a decade ago.

My loss.

Not only has the trail grown from its debut 3-mile loop to 6, it takes in some surprisingly diverse terrain. Starting out from the main parking lot, the trail takes you past alligator-weed-covered swamp and in-and-out of reedy wetland coves. Completing the coastal feel is a pine forest dominated by loblollies but seeded with a growing longleaf population. Then, after a couple miles, the trail goes Piedmont on you, meandering through a hardwood forest with brief climbs and descents.

You’ll get a better feel for the trail on today’s 90 Second Escape. Afterward, learn more about the trail by visiting the Harris Lake County Park Web site.

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