This is the section of Crabtree my friend Bob Bryant and I used to run to straight after school in fifth grade. We’d carve letters in the big beech that overhung the last big ravine before the creek, and slide down the same bank troughs as the beavers did at night. This was the sixties and that section of Crabtree marked the city limit. My Dad had brought me here first, 6 blocks from our house at the east edge of Raleigh, showed me the beeches and the rocky overhang, and promised death if I ever tried to cross the water. That admonishment lasted quite some time, but became a motivating taboo later. We played hard down on Crabtree, shot BBs, hauled in catfish and literally dreamed of what lay beyond the muddy banks that were then the city limit of Raleigh. On a nostalgic walk during early college years, I was astonished to see a construction project plowing through our old haunts. They had started work on the Raleigh Greenway.
Buckeye Trail is the oldest section of the greenway, running from Milburnie Road near Wake Med, upstream to Crabtree’s intersection with Capital Boulevard at the old Farmer’s Market. It is considered the “birdiest” section by the Wake County Birders. For example, I (no birder myself) have see all three of the woodpeckers likely to be seen – red-breasted, red-headed, and the crow-sized pileated – on this two and one-half mile walk. Below is the eastern beginning of the greenway – an old Raleigh landfill turned into a meadow – great place for seeing deer at dusk.