Thursday, April 06, 2006
Into the Wild
What better way to clear my head than a mid-morning traipse through North Carolina's newest state park? Well there has to be something better, but since Weaver beat me to the psycho rooster story, I didn't have much of a choice. Not that it mattered. I'm always up for exploring the many pockets of wilderness that dot the Piedmont - though I prefer to do so on the back of my mid-range mountain bike, not under the thud of an 18 pound fancy-cam. Still, it is my cross to bear, so I took to the woods in search of apostles. When none emerged from the shimmering distance, I settled for close-ups of spiders and such.
Long heralded as an environmental learning center of untapped potential, The Summit Conference Center boasts the kind of rolling topography I moved to the Piedmont for in the first place. Pristine wetlands, unfettered wildlife, a cascading network of root-infested trails - no wonder the wonks in Raleigh decided to make it Guilford County's first state park. It's already the site of family reunions, youth retreats and assorted feel-good gatherings. Now the well-kept secret is poised to becoming a statewide mecca for the tree-hugging set. All that's needed is a little publicity, something to let Sally Joe Housecoat know there's a slice of Eden right in their own backyard. That's where I come in.
When executive director Jonathan Frederick (who deserves his own reality show) suggested we walk through the park before I started shooting, I shrugged it off, grabbed my camera and followed him into the woods. A few minutes later I found myself in a love embrace with a fence post, sweating lightly and regretting the fact that my battered tripod was back in the car. Sure, a half-cocked shoulder-cam packs more swagger, but the pros know the power is in the sticks. That's why I was so eager to get back to Unit 4. No matter how I tried to slow my breathing, the flutter of the butterflies and the ripples of the creekwater were shirking the crosshairs of my heaving lens. After leaving the fence post my phone number, I shuffled uphill toward the car, all the while checking my person for splinters, ticks or any other embedded journalistic insects.
I'd tell ya what I found, but it's not that kind of blog. Get your mind out of the creek-bed, would ya?