Another weekend = another opportunity to take a road trip, this time to visit my friend Jennie, who lives somewhere in the midst of the triangle cities of North Carolina. In preparation for the 5+ hour drive, I brought lots of snacks so I wouldn’t have to stop and eat, and checked out a few books on CD to keep myself entertained. Unfortunately, about a 1/2 mile from my house, the CD player in my car suddenly stopped working. And then my radio stopped working too (I had to start singing to myself at one point; fortunately, there was no one else in the car to hear me). It was about halfway through the drive that the ache in my right leg prompted me to look for the cruise control function, at which point I realized it does not exist in my car (I am a new owner of this 2000 Toyota Corolla). And once I got close to my destination, my mapquest directions led me astray, landing me in what I later learned was a not-so-safe area of Durham. Oh the joys of road trips.
Jennie’s place, which I finally reached slightly later than planned, is south of Durham, in an apartment complex complete with an outdoor pool, open year-around, a gym, and a coded gate to get inside. It could have been a dilapidated trailer park for all I cared – I was just happy to finally be out of my car.
Saturday was a gorgeous fall day, the kind where you can’t help but do something outdoors, no matter how badly you may be feeling from the previous night’s festivities. We forced ourselves up and out of bed, grabbed a greasy breakfast at McAlisters where we shared a supreme ‘spud’ i.e. open-faced baked potato topped with turkey, bacon, ham, olives, cheese, chives, and sour cream with some of the most amazing potato soup I’ve ever tasted, then headed to the William B. Ulmstead State Park.
The park is tucked between Raleigh and Durham, and has over 20 miles of winding trails to hike. We chose a 7.2 mile route to casually walk/jog (mostly walk), and were off. The trail winds along Crabtree Creek, gently rolling up and down with the hills. Trees surrounded us, completely covering the landscape, their leaves a full range of shades, from glowing red to shriveling yellow. We saw a huge birdhouse, squirrels, mushrooms, and a few deep holes in the ground, surely inhabited by creatures I’d rather not come face to face with. At one point along the creek, we came upon what looked like a beaver’s den – with a buck lying on top, crushed by a tree that fell on him. That poor deer really was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We finished in about 90 minutes, feeling refreshed and energized. I’d say this beats a treadmill any day.