Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Anchorage Trail, Anchorage, Ky.

On Christmas Day, Chris, Sidney, Chris’ parents and I headed off to explore Anchorage Trail. This 2-mile loop trail is located in Anchorage, a small city in the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Area (Ky.). Anchorage is a community full of large homes and trees. I can’t seem to find a government site about the park, but here’s some pics and a review from a local from a few years ago.

And here are some of my pics and a review of what we saw:

Anchorage Trail

Despite the cold, there were lots of people walking their pups, biking or giving their kids an opportunity to ride their scooters. True to the culture we’ve come to expect from Louisvillians and surrounding communities, most of the walkers greeted us with a smile and “Merry Christmas.”

Alongside the trail were fields of soybeans, a small pond with several mallards and a pair of swans, tree stands and views of many large homes. We saw a nuthatch, a young hawk, a possum and many cardinals and robins.

Anchorage Hawk

Anchorage ducks

Most of the trail is paved, but there are some dirt paths that we avoided because of melting ice. We did venture out onto a wooden overlook to check out the pond and ducks.

Chris and Sidney at Anchorage overlook

Residents in the area are lucky to have this available. It’s a great place to walk or bike and is connected to sidewalks so that you can walk up the street to local cafes and shopping.

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Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge

At Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, we first hiked on the Woodland Trail. We saw kingfishers, a pileated woodpecker and egrets flying at Eagle Point Overlook. We also think we saw a couple of warblers, though we aren’t too sure. One was black with a white underbelly and a white spot on its wing. The mate was light green or yellow green. They have a soft “peep-peep” call and they fly like a flycatcher. We saw them hanging around an understory tree in woods.

Microanthra spiders had built lots of big webs across the trails. We had to tear down several to make our way through the woods.

We next went to the Great Marsh Trail, which is .75 miles long. It is paved, so is handicapped accessible. At the end of the trail is a sitting area with a telescope. We heard frogs, saw some egrets at a distance and saw some seagulls.

It would be good to take along some bug spray if you plan to spend a lot of time at the sitting area. It won’t be necessary, I don’t think, if you visit in cooler months.

We took a rest and discussed our next stop on our way home.


April snow

It wasn’t that many days ago I sat at our patio table studying. It was sunny and warm. Who could ask for anything more in early spring?

Today was supposed to be a cool 40 degrees Fahrenheit with some rain. Now? It’s snowing. Here’s hoping that the saying “April showers bring May flowers” also pertains to April snow. 🙂

Cardinal

    


Shelley Lake Park, Raleigh, N.C.

Shelley Lake Park in Raleigh, N.C., is a great place to take a stroll or, as many people were on a recent visit, jog.

The small lake is surrounded by trees and a 2+ miles of trails, including sections of a greenway. Walking around the lake we saw ducks, geese, turtles and, possibly, cormorants. The cormorants could also have been herons; the birds were far away and hard to see.

There are also basketball courts, a playground, a boat house and an art center (Sertoma Arts Center) located in the park.

Great place to take a stroll with the family on a weekday afternoon!

(Sorry, no photos to share this time!)


Francis Beidler Forest, Harleyville, S.C.

On our way home from our Charleston trip we visited the Francis Beidler Forest, an Audubon Center in Harleyville, S.C. It is an hour from both Columbia and Charleston.

The 1,800-acre forest sits within the 45,000-acre Four Holes Swamp.

We walked along the park’s boardwalk and some of its dirt trails, though most were flooded due to the day’s rain.

We didn’t see much wildlife, but we could hear it, especially pileated woodpeckers.

Our walk along the boardwalk was serene, peaceful. It was a great rest stop along the way home.

Here’s some pics from our visit:

This is a shot looking up a tree trunk of a tree that you can climb into.


Conagree National Park, Hopkins, S.C.

Another stop we made on our trip to Charleston, S.C., was at Conagree National Park, Hopkins, S.C., not too far from Columbia.

The wooded trails were quite wet so we only walked on it long enough for Sidney to relieve herself and stretch our legs.

We then hopped onto the 2.4-mile boardwalk loop trail and explored the various habitats and read the interpretive signs.

Pups aren’t supposed to be on the boardwalk trail, by the way. That’s something to consider when you start off because there is no where for you to get off on the boardwalk as it takes you over lakes, swamps and very wet areas.

Here’s the park’s descriptions of the boardwalk trail, divided into the Elevated Boardwalk and Low Boardwalk:

  • The Elevated Boardwalk is about six feet above the ground and travels through old-growth forest. The trail ends at Weston Lake, an old channel of the Conagree River.
  • The Low Boardwalk passes through bald cypress and water tupelo forest.
We heard lots of birds, including woodpeckers, but didn’t see much else. Though the ground and boardwalk were still pretty wet, it was still a lovely walk and one that was much drier than the visit earlier in the day at Cypress Gardens.

One complaint I have is there was an interpretive sign that called a tree a pawpaw, but it was most definitely not a pawpaw. We’ve got a small grove of pawpaws in our yard, so we knew that was not correct. We’re pretty sure it was a chestnut oak.

The park’s site has a calendar of events. It might be cool to visit during a guided walk or other event.

Besides trails, you can also canoe/kayak, camp and fish. Check out a complete list of things to do here.


County Parks, Charleston, S.C.

One of the features that impressed us about the Charleston, S.C., area were the many county and municipal parks and their quality. I swear the county parks were like being in a state park. Awesome!

We visited Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County ParkNorth Charleston Wannamaker County Park and Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park (where the Mount Pleasant Pier is located). And, in the next county over in Monck’s Corner, Cypress Gardens, which I’ll blog about later.
If we would have had time (and less rain), I would have loved to visit James Island County Park and Folly Beach County Park.
Here’s some photos from Palemetto Islands County Park:

There was a large marsh between the park and neighboring subdivisions.
The park is located among several housing developments.

Sidney on a boardwalk across part of the marsh.

A combination bird-watching tower and playground.

You cross this pond using a bridge to get to the visitors’ center.