Latest example of how things around here aren’t like the Bay Area: a week with no rain will not dry up the mud situation (the Winter From Hell does seem to be on its way out of town, though). I knew there was no point driving a long way to get all gunky so I did a bit more exploring Saturday at Tanglewood Park.

Another swamp shotI ended up in Tanglewood’s far southwest corner, which is about as close to wild as it gets in this suburban park. It even has a Genuine Southern Swamp — all it lacks is a few alligators.

Last week’s post included pix of all the major attractions; this week it’s “get some blue sky in the picture and hope for the best.” The local terrain proves what I suspected all along back in the day: in pretty scenery the pictures take themselves. When the scenery’s more scant, you have to do annoying things like wait for wildlife to so something interesting and think long and hard about how to pluck the telling detail from a tangle of brambles. Work, in other words, which I strenuously avoid on weekends.

May as well get down to business:

Frog Central

You can’t see the coolest thing in this scene: there must’ve been hundreds of little frogs in that long puddle, raising one hell of a racket. It’s a happy racket, because it means they’ve emerged from wherever they spend the winter and are making their “spring is so close we can smell it” noises. When I get ambitious I’ll look up how reptiles and amphibians survive the winter in these climes. I’m not sure why they don’t freeze solid.

Johnson Creek

This shot from the southern bank of Johnson Creek isn’t much to look at, but it does represent a small victory: I found a way to keep walking along the Yadkin River, which forms Tanglewood’s western border. Last week I had to take a detour at the northern bank of the creek so I set out this week determined to find more trails along the river.

Yadkin River

It took some wandering, but I did find more river trails. Not that you can see much of the river — it’s mostly blocked by a row of trees. After a couple miles the trail turns left at Tanglewood’s southern border. This is where it stars getting interesting.


Here’s the aforementioned swamp. Not hard to see why copperheads meld into this kind of scenery; I was thankful they hadn’t woken from their winter slumbers just yet.

More swamp

More swamp. It’s not that far back to civilization; in fact there’s a golf course less than a half-mile away.

BMX track

There’s also a nifty BMX track — which did inspire a moment’s indignation: where were all these things when I was learning to destroy that perfectly good bike Mom and Dad bought at Sears? We had to build our own bike ramps, by God, and I’ve still got the knee scars to prove it. (Yes, I am officially a geezer now).

Edge of the golf course

There’s a spur trail over to this section of pond/water hazard. Nice shady spot to enjoy the view; could use a bench, but it’s so far from everything, I doubt many walkers make it back this way.

Pond and park shelter

Another pond with a park shelter on the other side.

Wooded trail

Late afternoon sun lights up the leaves that didn’t fall last year.

One nice thing about Tanglewood: it’s big enough to rack up respectable mileage; last week I walked 9.5, this week, 7.5. It’s flat as a pancake but there’s plenty of room to wander across open fields, which is generally better exercise than walking on a flat trail, and the paths next to the river are pleasant.

My main plans for Tanglewood include walking for exercise and perhaps testing new gear — I don’t expect a lot more hike reports, except perhaps to document the change of seasons. If I ever get around to taking up paddling, though, it’ll be nice to have a put-in/take-out point so close to home.

View Tanglewood, 02-20-10 in a larger map

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