Penny's Bend To Hickory Hill by Kenny & Kristen

Posted on 2020-05-26

Today we tackled a continuation of the MST from Penny's Bend to the Hickory Hill Boat ramp parking area. This continues from our hike earlier in the week and puts us at about 30 miles locally so far! ___ |Trail Stats | (According to my watch) | |---|:---:| | Mileage | 12.75 | | Time | 5 hours | | Start Parking | Yes | | Finish Parking | Yes | | Elevation Gain | ~2850 | | Elevation Loss| ~2920 | ___ This section of the trail was a flat, mostly wooded section that continues following the Eno river for a bit then cuts off to overland until you get close to Falls of Neuse Lake, then follows the perimeter of the lake. We started this morning early to beat any traffic if there would be any and we planned on a late noon finish. BUT I made a mistake and left all our water back home! Luckily we carry some extra water in our cars but for now we had to make the trek with no water=\ It made for quite the hike and adventure - but I don't recommend it. The trail was pretty well marked, though we did have a few hiccups along the way (in the order they occur): - Old Oxford Road (**0 mi**) - We came out of the parking lot and crossed the road and had to walk south over the bridge to find the trail. This is kinda scary because the road is narrow and there is no walking path. We saw a small cut-out that looks like it came out right across the road from where the trail starts - but we never found a way to get there (though it does have to cross the river at some point). - Red Mill Rd. (**~4 mi**)- You come out at a small parking area and as you look across the street there is a small parking area on the right. This is not the right way, we noticed there are some convenient small white blazes next to the road whenever the trail crosses a road and they point in the direction the continuation path is. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/roadsigns.jpg "White Road Blazes") You actually need to go to the right here and cross the road. Take care though as the speed limit seems to be fast and its a fairly small road as well. - **~6 mi** - As you follow the perimiter you start going out on a small peninsula. Depending on the lake, the trail may be under water (as it was for us today). We had cut to the right and trail blaze a bit to get back on the trail. The trail horseshoes right here so you could cut over about anytime and hit the train tracks to pick the trail back up. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/flood.jpg "Flooded Trail") - **~8.25 mi** - Right before you hit Red Mill Rd. again, the trail can also dissappear if the water gets high. Luckily the trail goes straight until you hit the road again. So we did some more trail blazing and treked the perimiter of the water and had to straighten out to hit the trail again. There is a bridge in that area but it could be under water at points. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/bridge.jpg "Flooded Bridge") When you do hit Red Mill Rd. Luckily this time you dont have to cross the street, you can just walk along the road and get back on the trail ( look for the trail dots!). But be careful because its still a fast road and its still small with no real friendly room for hikers. - **~9.25 mi** - you will pop out on Redwood Road - keep your eyes on the trail dots on the road and they will lead you down the road a bit and the trail starts again on the left. The Last Crossing is when you hit Highway 15, but luckily there is a nice tunnel made to walk directly under the highway. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/tunnel.jpg "Tunnel") From here you'll pass the old 8NC8 aviation field which is an old airstrip made back in WWII. Its now home to the Experimental Aircraft Association and its a nice little grass runway. Probably worth checking out at a later time. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/airstrip.jpg "Air Strip") From here its a straight shot to the Hickory Hill boat ramp. Its a nice wooded walk with chances for some wild life. In our case we saw some turtles and TONS more frogs. ![blogPics](/static/img/162/laketrail.jpg "Trail by the water") Once we got back to the car, we had our lunch - Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches!!! and got our hands on some gold ol' water. Overall it was a nice hike, not to hard but not too easy either - and you could probably even finish with a dip in the lake to cool off on a nice hot summer day! Have you ever forgot to bring anything on a hike? Let us know!

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