Raleigh Nature

March 2, 2009

March Mad Beauty

snowy-oakwood-trees_1_1

   A late snow and a schoolday off to blog about it!  It didn’t take long to find a snow paradise.  The Oakwood Inn’s block sported the lacy treetops above.  But I was headed to the greenway.  I decided to check out an old favorite – the east end of Buckeye Trail.

   This wonderful view is the edge of the meadow at Buckeye Trail’s east end off Milburnie.  Down this oldest section of Raleigh’s greenways is a vista that provoked one of the first thoughts that originated this project – and it was a book project long before I ever knew what a blog was.  The scene used to look like a cathedral of treetops – but the loss of a huge red oak several years ago changed the look.  What’s left is seen below.

   The missing tree was on the right, and when it was there, I was ready to write a book partly to tell people to come here and take a deep breath.  It is still a very nice section of greenway.  I got to see the baby beeches of a couple of posts ago in a new light, literally.  The gentle snow provided a chance to see water moving across the greenway: in a freshet, and being blocked by the asphalt.  The creek was medium high, which I documented with a current shot of my favorite log-sitting spot.  Once I had done that, I knew I should head over to Hodge Road and take shots of my water level standard spots, which I’m documenting over on the nature projects blog.

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The March snow was mighty pretty!

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December 7, 2007

Crabtree at the rocky overhang on Buckeye Trail

 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.

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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.

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