Author: Allyson Wainright
Aristotle said, “In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.”
So, I went in search of something marvelous. With North Carolina’s vast sights to see, it isn’t a matter of if there are marvelous sights, but which marvelous sight to see. Just a mere hour away from Raleigh, I decided to explore the state’s first nature preserve.
There are pine needles everywhere. The ground is still damp from the night before. I hear the sounds of nature and the crunch of my shoes as I begin my walk.
Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve is 676 acres of longleaf pine trees and there was a decent number of cars in the parking lots. It was rare that I ran into anyone while on my walk.
There are six different trails that visitors can pick and choose how long or how short they want their walk to be. Looking at the map provided for visitors, I saw the all the trails combined totaled five miles.
I started easy with Bower’s Bog trail (0.3 miles) and went from there.
Along the way, I saw some tree stumps.
While the longleaf pine trees were the main show, I still saw glimmers of fall.
After Bower’s Bog trail, I headed towards Pine Barren’s trail where the deeper I got, the more rugged the terrain became.
At the visitor center, I read about the various animals and plants that thrive in longleaf pine ecosystems. I made a mental note to be on the lookout for some of those animals including the Pine Barren Treefrog and the Red Cockaed Woodpecker.
I made sure to constantly check the ground for tree roots so I wouldn’t trip! I came across a root that looked like a man sleeping (I made sure to walk quietly not to disturb his slumber).
Not only are there funky shaped roots, but also funky shaped trees!
Every so often, there would be a sign that would tell you when the last prescribed burning took place. Fire is the primary management tool in maintaining the longleaf pine ecosystem. Click on this link to learn more about the process.
As my journey nears the end, I reflected on my peaceful exploration and newfound knowledge about the longleaf pine ecosystem.
It was a successful trip even though I didn’t see much wildlife (just another reason to come back). It’s a place where anyone can lose themselves in nature’s beauty (plus there’s a discovery room that children will love!)