With another steamy summer weekend coming up, rather than think about how to deal with the heat, why not think about how to embrace it instead? A couple thoughts on the subject, both of which involve water.
On the water
North Carolina State Parks offers two ways to beat the heat this weekend on the water.
Canoe the Mayo River, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Mayo River State Park, Anglin Mill Access, Mayodan (north of Greensboro). It’s hard to imagine a better introduction to river paddling than this trip run occasionally by Mayo River State Park. For starters, the key gear — canoes, personal flotation device and paddles — are provided, as is a guide, in the form of a park ranger who will offer guidance and instruction. You just need to dress appropriately and bring drinks and snacks for this 4- to 5-hour paddle trip, which is free. The only catch: registration is limited to 11; call 336.427.2530 to reserve a spot. More info here.
- Canoe Hike, Saturday, 6 p.m., Carvers Creek State Park, Spring Lake (near Fayetteville). Also on the water — and in the cooling evening to boot — this guided paddle trip explores a cypress swamp, winding in out of these wading trees. Again, everything is provided, and, again, it’s free. But, again, space is limited: call 910.436.4681 to reserve a spot. More info here.
Along (and in) the water
Simply being along water makes you feel cooler. Being in it, even better! And here’s another thing being in the water does: it makes you feel like a kid again!
Here are three of our favorite hikes along — and at some point in — the water.
Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Day-Hike Section F, Wake Forest. Ever see those travel websites that boast of “undiscovered” beaches? They sound great, but they also seem to be half-way around the world. But you can find them close to home. One of our favorites is in the Triangle, along Falls Lake, which is otherwise known for its crowded beaches on summer weekends. This one, though, is a short distance from the Barton Creek Boat Ramp off Six Forks Road, located in a small cove that not only eludes beach-seekers, but the summer boat traffic so prevalent on Falls Lake. You’ll need to hike 0.6 miles on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to get there, but the payout is well worth it. Check out our guide to this section of the trail for directions.
- West Loop, Avents Creek Access, Raven Rock State Park, Fuquay-Varina. Typically when you think of a summer water escape, you think of waterfalls and their resulting pools. And when you think of waterfall-fed-pools, you think of the mountains. You should also think of the Avents Creek Access to Raven Rock State Park, where 0.7 miles down the West Loop Trail (hiking clockwise) you’ll find a pair of cascades known as Jumping Fish Falls on Avents Creek. There’s a 5-foot drop (and resulting pool) followed by a 3-foot drop (ditto). The sand-and-stone bottom leave the water clear and refreshing. Check out our guide to this hike here.
- Bobbit Hole/Cole Mill loop, Eno River State Park, Durham. There are two well-known swimming holes on the Eno River in Durham, Sennett Hole and Bobbit Hole. The former is just upstream from West Point on the Eno city park and tends to draw more attention; the latter is reached from the Cole Mill Access to Eno River State Park. Taking its namesake trail from the upper parking lot, hike through nicely aging piedmont forest for 1.2 miles before a short (a tenth of a mile) spur takes you to Bobbit Hole, a sizable pool formed by a bend in the river. On the hottest of days the water may be tepid at the surface, but dive down 4, 5, 6 feet and you should find chilling relief. Check out our guide to this hike here.
This weekend, let water be your carrot to GetOut! And enjoy.