We once again returned to Raleigh to once again, serve as Camp Hosts at the Holly Point Campground in the Falls Lake State Recreation Area. This was a great opportunity to spend time with our daughter, Elisabeth, who lives and works in Raleigh, and enjoy a great campground. Before we traveled to Raleigh, Elisabeth told us the Central Michigan University Alumni Club was hosting a tailgate party for the NC State versus CMU football game. She got us tickets. We had a wonderful time (with the exception of CMU getting beat by NC State).
The last time we were in Raleigh, Elisabeth had just finished her certification as an Open Water SCUBA diver, so we took advantage to the warm weather to make a couple more dives at Fantasy Lake. This is a local quarry that has been turned into a complete SCUBA diving site. The water was much warmer than we experienced in April, but the visibility was not as good. Regardless we enjoyed the day and were able to dive on airplanes, a bus, car, glass-bottom boats, and a helicopter that have been sunk in the lake for divers to explore.
On days when we were in the campground we would clean our assigned bathrooms and exercise in the morning. The hills in the campground gave us a challenging workout. Some days we would run errands, do shopping, or just hang out practicing the fine art of doing nothing – life is good! Most nights Elisabeth would join us in the campground for dinner.
All three of us went to the North Carolina State Fair. We enjoyed the outdoor music and other entertainment stages. We particularly enjoyed the exhibits of crafts and the demonstrations of trades of pottery, woodworking, leather craft, weaving, and others. The fireworks were terrific. Of course going to the fair would not be complete without funnel cakes and cotton candy!
One Friday I took a day to drive to Fayetteville to visit the National Airborne & Special Operations Museum. This is a excellent facility that traces the development of parachute forces and special operations forces from pre-World War II to the present. The displays are well done and very informative. The current special exhibit describes the 1991 operation in Mogadishu, Somalia and what is known as the Battle of Mogadishu described in the book and movie, “Blackhawk Down.” The exhibit and film go into great detail and gives you a new perspective from the viewpoint of those Rangers and Special Operations soldiers who actually fought the battle, a very moving story!
North Carolina has developed the “Mountains to Sea Trail.” This trail runs from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to the Atlantic shore at Jockey Ridge State Park in Nag’s Head in the Outer Banks. Section 27 of this trail runs right along the shoreline of Falls Lake. Toward the end of our stay I hiked a 16 mile section of this trail. The trail is well marked and offers plenty of scenic views of Falls Lake and the surrounding area. There is no backcountry camping along the trail, but I was able to spend the night at the Shinleaf Campground, a part of the Falls Lake State Recreation Area, it was the just the right distance from my start point. I hope to hike more sections of this trail during future visits to the area.
After a wonderful month in Raleigh it was time to head on down the road. On Thursday, October 31st we pulled out early in the morning to travel to Devil’s Fork State Park in South Carolina.