Monday, April 9, 2012

Hikes: Raven Rock State Park

Trying to get all three of us in a picture.
 Hiking with friends...otherwise known as naively walking around the woods with people you laugh, cry, and argue with.  It can be disastrous or wonderful, but it will always be an EXPERIENCE.  This past Saturday I had the pleasure of hiking with two grad school friends during one of our sister girl weekends.  We chose Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, NC because of proximity and newness to us all.  We woke up that morning with the intention to do the 5.1 mile Campbell Creek Loop, the .5(RT) mile Lanier Falls Trail, and the 2.1 mile Raven Rock Loop.  We completed the first two and left the park because frankly barbecue and the outlet mall were calling.  So a little about the park and the trails and then to the fun stuff.

Raven Rock State Park runs along the Cape Fear River and boasts of a new visitors center.  The building may be 2 years old but it still has that new construction smell.  It's manned and there is a museum inside.  I picked up a copy of the Jawbone Trail Cookbook which is a compilation of recipes from park staff, family, and friends.  Imagine a church cookbook, but instead of grandmother Sally's best punchbowl cake recipe you have park ranger John's recipe for bean burgers.  The park staff person shared with us the pros and cons of taking the loop in either direction.  We chose to go left where the loop begins so that we could do most of the uphill hiking before taking the Lanier Falls spur for lunch.  That also meant that the last portion of the hike was along Campbell Creek.  There's no avoiding the descent to the beginning of the loop or the climb back up it at the very end of the hike.  As always, going down was way more difficult than going up.  However this time I was wearing a knee brace which I think made it better for me in the end.

We had lunch at the end of the Lanier Falls spur down on some rocks.  When the water level is low, I suppose it would be easy to cross out to the boulders in the middle of the Cape Fear.  We saw a couple of young men traverse the "falls" to get to the rocks, but one of my friends noted that they definitely looked like they knew what they were doing.
Lanier Falls
 All in all the hike was a good workout and it was a gorgeous day in North Carolina.  Now on to the fun stuff.  We did laugh and challenge each other, but most of all we cut up.  The evidence is below.

Getting There
Riding along in her automobile...

Fuel: Coffee and a green smoothie (ask and I'll tell you what's in it)

Perhaps he was heading to the farm equipment auction we passed on Raven Rock Road.  Ladies take note, men bidding on farm equipment also drive really nice, amazingly shiny, large pickup trucks. 

Causing Another Park Guest to Crack Up
I don't know why that guy (not pictured) thought it was funny when one friend pointed out the benefits of a beaver as a husband (hard workers, build things, pretty fur etc.).
Excited About the Hobbit
Hobbit hunting!

Wait why do I have to squat so far when she could stand straight up under here?

Post Lunch Yoga Photo Shoot (Please note this sloping rock does not just run into the water.  There is a substantial drop off to the rapids below and we decided to do this anyway...).
Take the picture already.  This is not remotely close to level.  Oh hold your horses and straighten out that back leg.
That's all you're going to do?
Fine! Here's a hurt knee Warrior II.
That's not a smile friend.
If I lose my balance are y'all coming in to get me?  Sorry I'm not a strong swimmer but I will holler across the river to those folks fishing to see if they can help.
Hiking Hotness (with all this energy post hike we probably should have done the Raven Rock Loop but we felt this was a better use of our time)
Welcome to the wild side! The Zebra is just the beginning...
Sir what are you staring at? Don't all hikers stretch with their heads thrown back?
I know the state park system wants this one in their marketing materials.  We are a part of a...
Fun times were had by all and only six legged animals were harmed in the making of this weekend. 


  1. Very nice ladies. I wish that I could go.

  2. Looks like alot of fun Pearls! Love the girl power :)