Eno River from the Pea Creek Trail
The rocky outcroppings on this trail are also beautiful, topped with large persimmons (Diospyros virginiana), beeches, and resurrection ferns (Polypodium polypodioides) - an epiphyte that gets its name because it survives drought by drying out and curling up, appearing dead until it gets water, unfurls and resurrects.
Resurrection fern on persimmon
We had one more exciting, but sad, encounter on the trail: a great blue heron (Ardea herodias). This normally keen and quick heron was hardly moving along the side of the trail. My husband (who is also a local veterinarian), was able to assess the status of the bird and we rushed it to the Piedmont Wildlife Center (http://www.piedmontwildlifecenter.org/), where it is hoped to recover quickly from its unknown trauma. Handling herons can be very dangerous. If you ever come across one, be aware that they can be quite ferocious and may attack your eyes with their very accurate beaks.
The sick great blue heron
The Piedmont Wildlife CenterAll in all, our mid-afternoon walk on the Pea Creek Trail of Eno River State Park was quite surprising and rewarding. Although I can't guarantee animal rescue opportunities in the future, I can attest to the magnificent trees, chatty birds, and beautiful scenery that are available to everyone along this stretch of the Eno River.