Raleigh Nature

January 5, 2009

Favorite Raleigh spots – 2008

Filed under: About & reflection, Gems & Surprises — Tags: , , , , , — raleighnaturalist @ 12:49 am

atlantic-ave-farm

     Well, Raleigh Nature is a year old – and haven’t we been through a lot, and boy, have I learned a lot!  This blog is just getting started in ways – more broad coverage of ALL of Raleigh ITBL, pages on invasive species, turtles and record trees, and addressing concerns and questions from readers, are all on my list.  But it was a good year and I’m very happy with the blog and most grateful for the responses.

     Above is a Google Earth snapshot of what this blog is really all about – lost in wilderness inside the beltline – in this case,  the woodlot off the greenway at Atlantic Ave and Hodge Road, which was recently destroyed.   Let’s enjoy them while they’re here!  Below are my Raleigh Nature favorites for 2008.

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Crabtree near Milburnie Rd.

My favorite place to sit on a log. 

   Amidst the large tree stands that line Buckeye Trail, the oldest and easternmost section of Raleigh’s greenways threads its way beside the deep meandering banks of Crabtree.  Here we are looking at the spot where Marsh Creek marsh spills over into Crabtree after a heavy rain.  Nice spot for animals to come down for a drink, and above is the marsh skyline to scour for hawks and herons.

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Lassiter Mill Dam

My favorite spots to drown worms.

   Lassiter Mill, above and below the dam, is a wonderful place to fish with children, for turtle food, or even to fool around with your flyrod.

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Yates Mill Pond

My favorite place to take a guest.  

   Yates Mill, with the old millworks, the gorgeously built new center displaying its history, a marked tree i.d. walk, a high ridge, a marshy meadow, and a fishing deck, has all anyone could desire from a nature outing.  It’s well outside the beltline but I love it too much to exclude it.

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Meadow off Sunnybrook

My favorite place to meadow tramp.

  The privately owned section of the old pecan farm surrounding Jones Lake is eventually doomed but is the best spot for seeing foxes, deer and footprints of those and more in the same trip.  Once it’s developed, I’ll have to settle for the county park across the highway.

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Rocky Branch at Dix Hill

My favorite place to jump rocks.

   Dix and the greenway that connects it to Centennial and Washington School represents a fantastic dog walk, frisbee throw, pecan pick, or walk of any length you desire.  Rocky Branch, displaced by the Western Boulevard extension, has retained some of its good character.

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Raleigh Swamp

My favorite place to watch birds

   Raleigh Swamp, which used to be irregular but has been made permanent by the damming effects of Raleigh Boulevard, has a large consistent and varied population of breeding and visiting birds.

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waterfall-close-up_1_1

My favorite place to listen to water.

   Jaycee park has a rock waterfall that, at two feet, is perhaps the largest inside the beltline.  It certainly is the prettiest of which I know.

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Longstreet greenway off Sawmill

My favorite place to photograph.

   This must be it, because this is my favorite photograph so far.  This creek borders the greenway which runs south beside Longstreet off Sawmill in north Raleigh. I’ll keep working on finding, and shooting, one even better.  Ya’ll have a great new year!!  Love, John

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November 1, 2008

Slow Fall at Dix

 
 
 
 

 

Raleigh from Dix Hill

Raleigh from Dix Hill

 Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-87) was perhaps the most famous and admired woman in America for much of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1840s, she launched a personal crusade to persuade the various states to provide humane care and effective treatment for the mentally ill by funding specialized hospitals for that purpose.

     306 acres are left from a huge estate that was given over to the benefit of some of our neediest folks.  As the fall colors take their time this year decorating Raleigh’s skyline, so Dix Hill’s fate lingers in the slow balance of state decision.  Walk the big meadow with me and glimpse some early fall colors.

   We turn from downtown and look down at the gazebo and greenway path which runs along Rocky Branch as it follows its new, straightened course beside Western Boulevard.  On that walk we’ll see lots of elusive birds, wild grape, and some small spots of fall color.

     The campus has many historic buildings, massive white and red oaks that ring the meadow, a small grove of highly productive pecan trees, and one open slope that is the joys of all sledders.  Centennial Campus and the Farmer’s Market have already taken the lion’s share of what once was .  Now the state needs to let Raleigh’s long term interests take precedence over a short-time cash windfall.  The folks at Dix 306 are working hard to make that happen.  We should support them any way we can.

     Below is a trace of fall glory in midst of a glorious lingering summer.  Hopefully this image does not represent the sunset of hopes for the landscapes of Dix Hill.

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   I went on this walk partly because of Ashley Sue over at Green Grounded, who complimented me in anticipation of seeing fall colors on Raleigh Nature.  Below are clickable thumbnails of some other sightings at Jones lake off Sunnybrook, and then ending with my all time best fall picture, from the west Beltline.  Happy leafing!

                     

 

 

December 30, 2007

Dix Hill and the making of a world class city

Filed under: green initiatives, Greenways & Parks, Pecans & Mistletoe, South Raleigh — Tags: , , , — raleighnaturalist @ 4:11 pm

 

The oak grove above will probably survive whatever is to come, but the old “Dix Hill” where I went sledding has already been truncated by Centennial and the Farmer’s Market, and is now being fought over like a scrap thrown between dogs.  I realize there is going to be more development of some kind,and that the state will hold on to some space – as a matter of fact, the Dix hospital employees I talk to say they don’t expect to leave.  It makes sense for some portion – the juvenile part, say – of the mental health facilities to remain. I am not an activist but I’m glad the Dix group is working so hard to save what they can.  The truth is, the magnificent lower meadow, surrounded by majestic oaks, with Rocky Branch edging it, is the prettiest place inside the beltline.  A park here would go a long way toward establishing Raleigh as the true and enlightened city of oaks.

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Rocky Branch above, Dix Hill pecan trees below

 

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