We were back to regular schedule this weekend with our next-to-last hike of the Spring Series. This was our first time hiking at Raven Rock State Park, which is located about half an hour south from us, in a town called Fuquay-Varina. The park has a few different access points. We met at the Avents Creek Access by the north entrance of the park to start our hike with the group.
เรากลับมาเดินป่าตามกำหนดการเดิมอีกครั้งตามโปรแกรมเดินป่าฤดูใบไม้ผลิกับกลุ่มเพื่อนผู้รักการเดินป่าของเรา อาทิตย์นี้เราไปรวมกลุ่มกันที่ Raven Rock State Park ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ที่เมือง Fuquay-Varina ใช้เวลาขับรถจากบ้านไปประมาณครึ่งชั่วโมง จุดนัดหมายอยู่ที่ Avents Creek Access ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ทางตอนเหนือของอุทยานแห่งชาติแห่งนี้
This particular trail is a horse trail, as evident by the multiple horse trailers we saw in the parking lot, and shortly later, the honorable occupants themselves returning to their awaited chariots! 😆 I am a little disappointed to report that we did not have any other horse encounters on the route, other than this big crowd we saw at the beginning. 😔
Almost a mile in, we ran into quite a few families happily enjoying themselves at Avents Creek. There was a small waterfall further back on the right. Here, we took off our shoes and waded across barefoot. The water came up to almost my knees at its deepest, but it was so nicely cool and clear – such a welcome amidst the heat! 😉
เดินไปได้เกือบไมล์ก็ถึง Avents Creek ซึ่งหลายครอบครัวเล่นน้ำกันอยู่อย่างสนุกสนาน มองขึ้นไปทางขวามีน้ำตกเล็กๆให้เห็นอยู่ไกลๆ น้ำที่นี่ค่อนข้างลึกเกือบถึงเข่า เลยต้องถอดรองเท้าลงไปลุยกัน 😉 น้ำเย็นเจี๊ยบและใสแจ๋ว มองลงไปมีปลาตัวเล็กๆว่ายวนให้เห็นอยู่ประปราย
Big trees provide ample shade along the trail, despite the high temperature.
The original plan was to start off with the West Loop, then continue on to the East Loop. But due to the rather intense heat, and the few steep inclines we came upon along the West Loop trail, all of us unanimously gave up and decided to forgo the second half of the hike altogether! 🥵
This weekend, we went hiking on Saturday instead of Sunday, because Joel had double-booked our usual Sunday hiking time slot, and I don’t feel brave enough to venture out by myself just yet. 🙄 We did follow this Sunday’s hike plan but did the hike on our own on Day Hike Section T of the Mountains-to-Sea trail at Falls Lake, with the starting point on Red Mill Road in north Durham.
อาทิตย์นี้เราไปเดินป่ากันวันเสาร์แทนที่จะเป็นวันอาทิตย์อย่างเคย เพราะคุณสามีเกิดไปมีนัดทำกิจกรรมอื่นกับเพื่อนไว้เวลาเดียวกัน ตัวเราเองก็ยังกลัวๆกล้าไม่อยากออกไปเผชิญโลก (โรค) ตามลำพัง 🙄 เลยตัดสินใจไปเดินกันเองก่อนกำหนดหนึ่งวัน โดยใช้แผนเดิมตามกำหนดการที่ว่าไว้คือช่วง T ของเส้นทางเดินป่า Mountains-to-Sea ที่ Falls Lake โดยมีจุดเริ่มต้นอยู่ที่ถนน Red Mill ทางตอนเหนือของเมือง Durham
It was a pleasant hike with plenty of shade. The temperature was quite high at 86 F when we started off, but cooled down considerably as soon as we hit the trail. As promised by Joe, our hike leader, we had the whole trail to ourselves, only running into one couple with a dog and a baby on our way back. We followed the easy-to-spot white blazes along the trail for about 2 miles, then turned around and headed back to the car.
Some people prefer a point-to-point or a loop hike, so you never tread on the same path twice, but personally, I do enjoy an out-an-back hike just as much. To me, the view on the way back is always different, even though it was on the same path. Things can really look quite different from a different perspective! I usually notice a lot of things I never saw coming from the other direction. This hike was no different – plenty of interesting stuff to see both on the way there, and back! 😉
We could have gone further, but decided to turn back when the trail got too sloppy. We clocked in at 3.75 miles, which took us a little less than 2 hours. We are totally content and looking forward to be back out on another trail next weekend!
It felt so good to finally be out hiking again this weekend! Our Spring Hiking Series is back on the calendar after a long hiatus due to COVID-19. The state of North Carolina started relaxing its stay-at-home mandate earlier this month, and our group decided it was time to resume our beloved activity. Precautions are still in place, nonetheless. We all showed up with our masks 😷 on while greeting each other at the beginning of the hike. The masks came off once we started the hike, each family unit separated by decent distance as recommended by the CDC.
We met up at Butner Game Lands in north Durham, a destination carefully chosen by our group leader, Joe Miller, to minimize the chance of us running into a crowd. It was the perfect location! The temperature was on the high side in the 80s, but it was cloudy most of the time so it did not feel that hot even though the trail was mostly unshaded. As promised, we did not run in to anybody the entire hike!
อาทิตย์นี้เรานัดเจอกันที่ Butner Game Lands ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ทางตอนเหนือของเมือง Durham คุณ Joe Miller ผู้นำกลุ่มของเราแกอุตส่าห์ไปสรรหาทำเลนี้มาเพื่อการหลบเลี่ยงผู้คนโดยเฉพาะ แล้วก็เป็นไปตามที่แกสัญญาไว้จริงๆ เดินตลอดทางไม่เจอคนอื่นซักคน อากาศค่อนข้างร้อนเล็กน้อยอยู่ที่ประมาณยี่สิบกว่าองศาปลายๆ เกือบๆสามสิบ แต่ท้องฟ้ามีเมฆปกคลุมเลยไม่ร้อนจัด ทั้งๆที่ตลอดทางไม่มีร่มไม้ไว้ให้บังแดดเลย
This was our first time here. It was an interesting location, with an equally intriguing history behind it, all of which we learned, again, courtesy of Joe. While building Falls Lake in the 1960s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replaced the rich wildlife habitat wetlands they took away with this new home for the animals. This large gamelands include a series of waterfowl impoundments, as well as meadows and forest habitat areas for various types of games.
The path we took was a wide double-track gravel road that went through a lush meadow, passing by a swampy area, then ran alongside a river. All were nice and flat, mostly exposed to the bright afternoon sun, but we all came prepared with wide-brimmed hats for this very purpose! 😆
We ended up having to cut our intended 5-mile hike a little short due to the looming rain clouds! 😓 This was not in the original forecast when we checked. It just popped up on us, out of nowhere! An article I happened upon recently explained that meteorologists usually rely on a lot of satellite data via the numerous commercial flights that crowded our air space any given time of the day. Now that many of those flights were canceled due to the pandemic, they are operating with a lot more limited information, which could help explain the lower level of forecast accuracy these days! 🙄
Drove past this cute little horse farm and couldn’t help stopping by to snap a picture of this little guy, who continued to graze happily, oblivious to the drizzles of rain, thunders and lightnings in the background, when all his buddies already retreated to safety at the nearby stable. 😆
This is my second post in the Winston-Salem series, featuring our gastronomic journey through this beautiful old town. One of the main reasons we picked Winston-Salem as our destination was because of the Big Sip Festival. This is an annual event, where local venues gather to showcase their craft beverage offerings. We were lucky that this took place right at the very end of February. Had it been scheduled just a few weeks later, it would surely have been canceled, like all other events around town, because of coronavirus!
นี่เป็นโพสต์ลำดับที่สองของซีรี่ส์นำเที่ยวเมือง Winston-Salem ซึ่งเราจะพาไปชิมของอร่อยๆที่ได้มีโอกาสไปลิ้มลองกันมาในเมืองเก่าแก่แห่งนี้ ที่เราเลือกมาที่นี่นั้นมีต้นสายปลายเหตุมาจากที่คุณสามีไปอ่านเจอว่าเค้ากำลังจะจัดเทศกาลที่มีชื่อว่า Big Sip Festival ซึ่งเป็นเทศกาลประจำปีที่เหล่าบรรดาผู้ประกอบกิจการค้าเครื่องดื่มท้องถิ่นแถบนี้มารวมตัวกันเพื่อนำเสนอสินค้าตัวใหม่สู่ผู้บริโภคอย่างเราๆ โชคดีที่ว่างานนี้จัดขึ้นตอนปลายเดือนกุมภา ถ้าเลทไปอีกไม่กี่อาทิตย์คงจะได้ถูกแคนเซิลกันตามระเบียบ ด้วยอภินันทนาการจากพิษโควิด-19
The event took place at Benton Convention Center, right in the heart of downtown. We opted for the earlier admission round at 1 pm, hoping to avoid the crowd, which turned out to be a good call. We waited about 20 minutes in line before it was our turn to get in.
งานนี้จัดขึ้นที่ศูนย์ประชุม Benton Convention Center ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ใจกลางเมือง เค้ามีรอบให้เข้าชมสองรอบ เราเลือกรอบเช้าบ่ายโมง ด้วยความหวังว่าคนคงจะยังไม่เยอะนัก ไปถึงคนก็ไม่เยอะจริงๆ เข้าแถวรออยู่ประมาณซักยี่สิบนาทีก็ได้เดินเข้างาน
There was a decent number of people but I wouldn’t call it too crowded, which was very nice. Some booths were more packed than others, but we didn’t have to wait that long to get samples of anything. There were so many interesting concoctions being offered, and these guy were generous with their pours! 😆 I had to dump some (they have waste buckets everywhere, I imagine for this very purpose) in my attempt not to get too boozy. 😅
My most favorite drink of the day was this heavenly mixture called the ‘Morning After’ from Cultivated Cocktails Distillery in Asheville. It was coffee liqueur, mixed with salted cocoa nibs, syrup, lavender water, and cream – aka perfection! 😍It was so addictive I went back a couple of times to keep getting more and more. 😊
Aside from craft beverages, they also have a mac & cheese cook off at this same event. We sampled all the creative inventions from participating local restaurants. Each has its own flair, from 5 different kinds of cheeses to Mexican style with nacho chip, topped with cracklins, or southern style with pulled pork barbecue – all delicious in their own unique ways!
Besides the festival, we also got to check out other popular eating spots around town. First up was Slappy’s Chicken, where we tried their famous juicy fried chicken with spicy homemade sauce. The chicken was as good as advertised, as were their sides!
Spotted this cool building on 4th Street while walking from Foothills to Mozelle’s.
เดินผ่านตึกสวยตึกนี้บนถนน 4th Street ระหว่างทางที่เดินจากร้านเบียร์ไปร้านอาหาร เลยอดถ่ายรูปเก็บไว้ไม่ได้
Next, we had dinner at Mozelle’s. Everybody said not to miss their tomato pie, so of course that’s what we ordered! It was very good, although I have to say not quite as good as Joel’s homemade tomato pie with our home grown tomatoes, but it was pretty darn close. 😊Their other dishes were really good too. We got the brussel sprouts appetizer and the lemony chopped kale salad, both of which were super yummie. 😋
The next night we switched gears to Mexican, with dinner at Crafted. The service here was top-notch, despite how crowded it was. And food was really good too. We had the stuffed avocado, which came highly recommended, and certainly did not disappoint. They had a wide variety of choices for tacos – the two we picked were both delicious!
For our last meal in town, we stopped by at 18 Malaysia, because I was craving Asian food, 🙄and this seems to be one of the best choices in town. It was a bit out of the way, but proved to be well worth the detour. After eating in, I ordered a bunch of to-gos so I could eat off of it for lunch when we got home! 😊
มื้อสุดท้ายก่อนกลับ เราเกิดความอยากอาหารที่คุ้นปากขึ้นมา 🙄ก็ไปเจอร้าน 18 Malaysia ของประเทศเพื่อนบ้านที่เรทติ้งดูดีไม่น้อย ถึงจะออกนอกเส้นทางไปเล็กน้อย แต่ก็คุ้มค่ากับการเสียเวลา อาหารอร่อยจนกินเสร็จแล้วยังแอบสั่งตุนกลับบ้านไว้ไปกินเป็นมื้อเที่ยงต่ออีกรอบ 😊
During the one-week break in between our Winter and Spring Hiking Series, we took the opportunity to go on a mini weekend trip to Winston-Salem. I had been there once, years ago, with friends in college, but don’t really remember much about it. Joel, on the other hand, had never been. This was right before the coronavirus outbreak situation became serious in this country. Looking back on it, we were so glad we decided to go! We don’t know how long it will be until we can safely take another trip anywhere again… 😔
Despite it being a short weekend trip, the weather was perfect so I took a bunch of pictures 😊. I was debating on how to organize these, and ended up deciding to break them up into 4 different posts; stays, eats, sees, and arts. This post is the first in the series.
I’m starting with this place we did *not* stay at, but totally wish we did 😆! The Graylyn Estate came highly recommended by numerous travel guides I read about on Winston-Salem. We considered booking a room here, but it was a little further from downtown, where we would like to be, and also the price point was a little higher than what we were planning on spending. We did however make a trip there, just to see what the fuss was all about. And I get it. The place was immaculate. It would probably have been well worth the price tag they are charging, judging from what we saw.
The property sits on a large piece of land, with a little pond on one side. The stone bridge at the end added to the picturesque quality. This spot would be perfect for a morning or evening stroll. This is one of the largest private residences in North Carolina, second only to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
Now, moving on to the place we actually stayed at… Right before the trip, I got a referral email from a dear friend who just found out we had never stayed at an airbnb. I browsed through the list of offerings in Winston-Salem and this particular tiny house caught my attention. I showed it to Joel and he was on board, so we went ahead and booked it. Initially we planned to stay for both Friday and Saturday nights, but by the time we decided on it, Saturday night was already taken. We reasoned that it was probably for the best, since this place too was quite a bit away from downtown. We decided we could stay for one night, just to get a taste of what it was like, then move downtown for the second night. As it turned out, one night in the tiny house was more than what we needed! 😝
We stopped by to check in on Friday afternoon. This place was only 10 minutes drive from town, but felt like a world away! There were two different tiny houses on the property, which was some kind of a farm. The red barn was also another airbnb rental.
Having seen tiny houses on TV, this was the first time we had seen one in person. It was indeed tiny, as advertised! There was just barely enough space for the essentials, not to mention room for the both of us. Joel has had his fair share of practice from our numerous trips to Asian countries, so he was quite an expert on how to maneuver one’s self in tiny spaces. 😆I, on the other hand, kept bumping into things as I moved around. I was a little apprehensive when I first found out that the place came with a compose toilet. But I convinced myself it would be ok, we were only staying there for one night after all. Without going into too much details, all I’d say is that it was quite an experience, and I was so grateful for my dearest husband who took care of ‘cleaning things up’ as the manual instructed before we checked out. 😝
We left to do some more sightseeings, then grabbed dinner in town. By the time we got back, it was freezing cold. Even inside. With the heater on high! 🥶Joel immediately set about trying to start the fire in the little Kimberly fireplace they had installed in there. There were detailed instructions in the manual on how to do that. It took us over an hour before we successfully started the fire and had the place finally heated up. Then came the question, how do we keep the fire going through the cold, cold night…? 🙄 Joel wanted to set the alarm for every hour so he could get up and tend to the fire. The problem with that is the fact that our bed sits on the loft, with these steep steps and no banister! I was worried he would tumble and fell down half asleep 😬. In the end, we decided to just leave it and hope for the best. 😅
We spent our second night in Winston-Salem in this place called Wherehouse Art Hotel, right in the heart of town. This was another airbnb property, but it couldn’t be more different. It was such a perfect eclipse of an experience! 😆 I guess that was the beauty of airbnb – they have everything to suit every taste!
We stayed in the Screening Room. The entire place, including our room, felt more like an art museum than a hotel. The room was very spacious, especially compared to what we had the night before. It was very wildly decorated. The walls were beautifully painted. Every piece of furniture was a piece of art form. It was an eclectic symphony of mismatches that somehow seemed to fit beautifully together in that one space.
Haydee, our lovely host, met us at the front to check us in and showed us around. She told us this staircase that leads to the hotel part of the building was once a chimney! Again, this area was artfully painted and the walls were adorn with many pieces of art work, most, if not all of them are for sale. That last one with the connected hearts was Joel’s favorite! 😏
North Carolina finally announced a statewide stay-at-home order this week. We are not supposed to leave the house for anything other than essentials. Thus, it didn’t come as a surprise that our Spring Hiking Series got canceled on Thursday. 😭Even though gatherings are highly discouraged, outdoor activities are still recognized as one of the so-called essentials. So, we decided to hike by ourselves, while doing our best to keep proper distance from other people.
We picked Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh as our destination, given that it is a short 5 minute drive away from home. The facilities were all closed, but the trails remained open. The parking lot was quite full, but we managed to find a spot, so we decided to give it a shot. We picked the unpaved trail on the west side of the lake, hoping that it wouldn’t be too crowded.
เราเลือกไปกันที่ Lake Johnson Park ในเมือง Raleigh เพราะว่าอยู่ใกล้บ้าน ขับรถไปแค่ห้านาทีเท่านั้น ทุกอย่างปิดหมดรวมทั้งห้องน้ำและที่เช่าเรือ ยกเว้นแต่ทางเดินที่ยังเปิดให้คนมาเดินกัน ลานจอดรถค่อนข้างแน่นขนัดตอนเราไปถึง แต่ก็ยังมีที่เหลืออยู่ เลยจอดกันลงไปดูลาดเลา ดูแล้วทางลูกรังฝั่งตะวันตกของทะเลสาบท่าจะไม่ค่อยมีคน เลยตกลงไปลองกันดู
As expected, most people appeared to stick to the paved trail on the other side. We ran into maybe 15-20 people at most during the entire hike. Everybody tried their best to keep proper distances from each other. We deliberately went late, hoping to minimize the chance of crowd. An unexpected bonus is that we got a beautiful view of the sun setting on the lake right around the time we were getting done. 😍
All in all, we clocked in at 3.60 miles, finishing in a little over an hour. While nobody knows how long this shutdown will last, I hope at the very least we can keep on with our hiking routine as a means to keep our sanity intact! 😣
Our Spring Hiking Series continued on despite the dire situation of the ongoing global pandemic. This week, we were given a new set of rules in order to comply with the government’s and CDC’s recommendations on social distancing.
Grimly, but still gratefully, we met up at the end of Bayleaf Church Road to start off our hike on this familiar section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Since there were 12 of us, which is more than the mandated number for social gatherings, we were divided up into 2 groups. Each family was sent out a few minutes apart, so that we could a keep proper distance between each other. Otherwise, it was just business as usual! 😅
We were glad to get out of the house. It was yet again another day with perfect hiking weather. Even though the pollen situation has been getting really bad these past few days, we were lucky to get a nice burst of rain just the night before, which helped clear up the air quite a bit. You can see from the pictures above how much pollen accumulation there was in the lake.
The forest was still beautiful. Nature is still doing its job of keeping everything going as usual. There maybe adjustments we need to make in our current day-to-day, but life does go on. We just need to live with these so-called ‘new normals’ at least for a while.
This week, our Spring Hiking Series took us back to Harris Lake County Park in New Hill. This is one of our favorites, as it is a pleasant, well-maintained trail that’s a lot closer to us than the others we frequent. We were happy to make it out of the house, after being cooped in for the last few days, uncertain where things stand in regards to the deadly coronavirus situation. According to several guidelines, hiking is one of the few activities still deemed relatively safe, so we plan to continue on with the series as long as we both stay healthy… We are grateful that at least this one aspect of our regular routines stays feasible while many others have been disrupted.
อาทิตย์นี้โปรแกรมเดินป่าฤดูใบไม้ผลิพาเราไปกันที่ Harris Lake County Park ที่เมือง New Hill ซึ่งสะดวกสบายต่อการเดินทางเป็นอย่างยิ่งเพราะตั้งอยู่ไม่ไกลจากบ้าน แต่จริงๆแล้วขอให้ได้ออกนอกบ้านก็แฮปปี้กันแล้ว เพราะหลายวันมานี้ติดแหงกกันอยู่แต่ในบ้าน นับตั้งแต่สถานการณ์โควิด-19 เริ่มรุนแรงขึ้น ยังดีที่กิจกรรมการเดินป่ายังถือได้ว่าปลอดภัยพอสมควรเมื่อเทียบกับกิจกรรมอื่นๆ ฉะนั้นเราจึงตั้งใจจะเดินป่ากันต่อไปตราบเท่าที่ยังเดินกันไหว และไม่ล้มป่วยกันไปซะก่อน ดีใจที่อย่างน้อยก็ยังมีส่วนนี้ของชีวิตที่ยังดำเนินไปได้ตามปรกติในขณะที่ส่วนอื่นๆต้องปรับปรุงเปลี่ยนแปลงกันไปหมด
The park offers ample parking spaces in many surrounding lots. In addition to bathroom facilities, it also features children’s playground and picnic areas.
The Peninsula trail took us along Harris Lake, aka the Shearon Harris Reservoir, which serves as the cooling water source for the nearby nuclear power plant. The last past of the trail ran through remnants of a farm that used to house the Womble family who used to live here since the early 1800s.
After a one-week hiatus, we started off our first hike in the Spring Hiking Series this Sunday at Eno River State Park. The parking lot was packed so full of cars. We were lucky to grab one of the last remaining legitimate spots! When we came back out, there were several cars parked on the dirt.
หลังจากที่หยุดพักไปหนึ่งอาทิตย์ เรากลับไปเดินป่ากันใหม่กับโปรแกรมเดินป่าฤดูใบไม้ผลิอาทิตย์นี้กันที่ Eno River State Park ไปถึงเจอที่จอดรถแน่นขนัด โชคดีเหลือที่ไว้ให้เราจอดเป็นคันสุดท้ายพอดี ตอนกลับออกมาเจอคนเบียดจอดกันตามไหล่ทางเต็มไปหมด
We met up with the group at Fews Ford Access to start off on the Buckquarter Creek trail then continue on to the Holden Mill trail.
เราไปเจอกับเพื่อนๆในกลุ่มที่ต้นทาง Fews Ford Access จากนั้นจึงเริ่มเดินกันตามเส้น Buckquarter Creek จากนั้นจึงต่อไปยังเส้น Holden Mill แล้ววนกลับมาจบที่เดิม
The weather couldn’t be any more perfect; no wonder everybody wanted to get out there to enjoy the outdoors! The trail offers plenty of views of the beautiful Eno River.
อากาศเย็นสบายกำลังดีไม่ร้อนไม่หนาว มิน่าต่างคนถึงพากันออกมาเดินสูดอากาศบริสุทธิ์กันเต็มป่า ทางสายนี้พาเราเดินชมวิวสวยๆเลียบริมแม่น้ำ Eno เกือบตลอดสาย
We also witnessed Spring casually greeting us in the form of colorful wildflowers and budding leaves on several trees along the way.
The hike this past weekend marked our last hike of the Winter Hiking Series. We started off from the trail head at Red Mill Public Fishing Area, and went on a section of Mountains-to-Sea trail that took us along Falls Lake in Durham. There used to be a sign post here that has since been removed from the last time we were here. We think it got stuck by lightning and turned into char. All that’s left to be seen where the sign once was are some melted rocks and certain substances that got turned into shiny pieces of glass!
วันอาทิตย์ที่ผ่านมาเป็นการเดินป่าครั้งสุดท้ายของโปรแกรมเดินป่าหน้าหนาวปีนี้ เราไปเจอกันที่ Red Mill Public Fishing Area ซึ่งเป็นจุดเริ่มต้นของเส้นทางเดินป่า Mountains-to-Sea จากภูเขาสู่ทะเลช่วงเลียบทะเลสาบ Falls Lake ในเมือง Durham ที่จุดนัดพบตรงนี้เคยมีป้ายบอกทางอยู่ แต่ถูกฟ้าผ่าไปตั้งแต่ที่มากันคราวที่แล้ว คราวนี้เค้าเก็บซากปรักหักพังไปหมดแล้ว เหลือไว้ให้เห็นก็แต่เศษโลหะหลอมละลายกับเศษแก้วมันวาวเป็นหลักฐาน
Starting off with a skull of some sort of animal… 😱
We clocked in at a little under 6 miles, in a little over 2 hours. Next week we take a break, and then we’ll be back to join the Spring Hiking series. Looking forward to exploring new trails in 2 weeks time!