A Hike in William B Umstead State Park

by - January 12, 2019

Our Hike, marked in Red Crayon
On New Year's Day the weather was amazing, so we took an impromptu hike with friends in William B. Umstead State Park. We forged our own path and traveled along Sal's Branch for awhile before cutting down through the woods, across the power lines and down to the rim of Big Lake. We worked our way down to the boat ramp, across the junction between the two lakes, and then back into the woods beside Sycamore Lake where we explored Camps Crabtree and Lapihio, quiet headwater streams and came on a small group of deer.  Umstead trails can be busy if not crowded on good weather weekends, but we hardly saw any hikers on the other side of the lake. We then had to cross Sycamore Creek by scootching across a log on our butts because there was no trail crossing the creek, and we didn't want to double back. Looking at the map, maybe another couple miles would have taken us out to a crossing, but park of that trail was closed when we came to its intersection with the power lines. There was a video taken of the mamas scootching, but that has been forbidden from the internet. The dads did not scootch and had a good laugh at our expense. Once we made it up to Sycamore Trail , we stuck to the path back out to the visitor center. Inadvertently, we hiked 8.5 miles according to Joe's fitness tracker. And this is where I will let you in on the greatest secret of hiking with kids -- hike with friends. Seriously, they have so much more fun and lose track of how long they have been walking. The other secret is to take snacks. Actually, "take snacks" is the secret sauce to most adventures in life with adults or kids.

Treasures in Tree Roots
I had to look up what this specked leaf was, and during the search, I learned that Umstead has a mix of introduced and invasive plants as well as native ones as it was originally altered for home sites before being allowed to return to forests. This crane fly orchid is a native species, and the underside of the leaves was purple.
Crane Fly Orchid
Gorgeous Powerlines
Old Wall in Creek, perhaps a dam for a grist mill
Worm Snake
Camp Crabtree
All four of us adults worked at summer camps in our youths, and the cabins' smell brought back memories of camp. These camps are still used and can be rented out for use by nonprofits and organizations in April through October. 

Camp Crabtree
Fungus, Fungus, Snail
Creek Under Tree
Gorgeous Powerlines
Creek coming out of Sycamore Lake with no trail to cross

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