This is my second blog about my and Judy's
day trip to Raven Rock State Park. Be sure to
view the preceding one if you haven't already.
As we descended toward the Cape Fear River
on the Raven Rock Trail, we followed and
criss-crossed Little Creek.
Signs of coming attractions
(I hope you're reading this, Liz!)
Though the park map designates this trail as
"Easy," and Judy and I had no difficulty with
it, most people would not call this 100-step
wooden stairway "easy."
I always love the anticipation of first sight
of a river or waterfall. Here's the majestic
Cape Fear River, integral to North Carolina's
history from the early years to now.
The formation known as Raven Rock is as
high as 150 feet and stretches for about a mile
on the eastern shore of the Cape Fear River.
I guess this "End of Trail" sign is to prevent
over-zealous hikers from marching right off
into the river.
Now it's time to introduce the marvelous
specimen that made my day. Someone in
the crowd of law enforcement officers there
that day pointed out a large snake in the water.
When it approached the bank, I was able
to verify that it was a black rat snake, my
perennial favorite (for all its good qualities).
Though these pictures give you nothing to
reference its size, please take my word that
this snake was at least seven feet long, the
largest that guide books say it attains. I've
handled plenty of 5 to 5 and a half footers,
and this one dwarfed them.
Please take time to enjoy these two videos
of our time with this ruling reptile of the river.
Judy and I both felt that God had timed this
appearance just for me. The snake was fully
cooperative, posing and performing as if on cue.
Please note that the snake disregarded the
"End of Trail" sign that had halted us bipeds.
The "slippery slope" of the bank would have
made it treacherous indeed for me to get any
closer. But it was a rare moment to treasure.
The sense of being away from civilization
is what evokes the sense of serenity here.
The next four pictures are of various sections
and views of the massive rock formation.
With the Raven Rock formation stretching
about a mile, I suppose you'd have to be on
the other side of the river to get a nice
panoramic view. In fact, there are bridle trails
across the river, but no access from our side.
As the trail looped back toward its beginning,
it ascended to provide a view of the flood plain.
No sign of civilization here.
Lillington is nine miles to the east, but
not visible from this point.
Here we are catching our breath before the
last leg of our journey.
As we neared the picnic area, we had
one last sight-- a fence lizard on a pine tree.
This week, I have made friends with a
similar specimen who likes my woodpile.
Pretty good camouflage, eh?
All in all, Judy and I would highly recommend
Raven Rock for any of you who like to hike
and don't live too far away. We look forward
to doing other trails on our next visit, and will
perhaps go in the fall, when everything will
And this is not just the end of the trail,
it's the end of my tale. Happy Trails!