The temperature was in the 50's, the sky was blue, we didn't see much this year. I was scanning the ground along the Pump Station Trail, longing for signs of spring. It was the third week of February, late by seasonal norms for the first sign of spring's emergency responders: the spring beauty, the five rounded pedals scanning the sky for the sun like a satellite dish seeking a signal, and the trout lily with its delicate fingers of crimson and yellow. Unfortunately, the best I could do was a spotted trout lily leaf, which barely penetrated the leaf litter. Spring was on the eve.
And that's okay, because when the spring-like weather finally hits – when the temperature hits the 60s two or three days in a row and the sun stops holding back, we are in for quite the spectacle.
Ah, but where can you see the show that represents the psychological beginning of spring? Today we're looking at five spots with excellent opportunities to spot memorable ephemeral events.
1. Eno River State Park, Durham
Pump Station Trail, 1.5 miles
The Eno River Association, the half-century-old nonprofit responsible for most of the land in this linear state park, says, "Pump Station Trail is known as the best spring flower trail in the park." The reason: a hardwood forest at the bottom along the south bank of the River Eno, whose rich soil and ample lighting are the ingredients for a flying start to the growing season in the spring.
Look for carpets of spring beauties and trout lily collections, followed by cranefly orchids and a number of other ephemeral springs.
Find out more here
2. Raven Rock State Park, Lillington
Raven Rock Loop Trail, 4.2 miles
As for variety, you can't beat Raven Rock State Park. Dutchman's breeches, bloodroot, saxifrage, trailing arbutus, Solomon's seal, bellwort, spring beauty – there's a who & # 39; s who of wild spring flowers in this 4,684-acre park, which spans the Cape Fear River, where the Piedmont met reluctantly gives way to the coastal plain.
A variety of options allow for a longer viewing season, which starts in early March and extends well into May. Add the 1.5-mile Little Creek Loop Trail for more viewing options.
Find out more here