Cerebral Gibberish

What's on my mind, might just blow yours.

Milling Around: Yates Mill Park

Posted by heymoe on 21st July 2008

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I picked up a new lens on Thursday (Hopefully the last one for a while. This hobby is getting expensive 🙂 hehe), so I decided to take it out for a spin this weekend. My first stop was Historic Yates Mill County Park.

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Yates Mill was 1 of 70 Wake county gristmills dating back over 200 years. Out of the 70 mills, Yates Mill is the only one left standing today. In 1963 North Carolina State University took ownership of the land the mill is located and in 1989 The Yates Mill Associates began restorations of the mill. In 1996 NCSU and the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture decided to allow Wake Country to convert the 558 acres of land into a park. The park planning hit its first speed bump when Hurricane Fran came through the area and breached the dam draining the millpond and damaged the shed portion of the mill building. Restoration of the mill and the dam was completed in 2005 and the park opened to the public on May 20, 2006. There is a lot more history about the mill available HERE.

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Getting to the park was easy and there was plenty of parking. There is a really nice and air conditioned welcome center which has displays telling the history of Yates Mill as well as information about how mills work and the wild life in the area. There is a nice patio area behind the welcome center that has a view looking over the pond with the mill in the background. The path to the mill is well maintained with benches to rest at and some old parts from the mill along the side of path to explore.

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Reaching the mill itself I was surprised to see people dressed era clothing from mill’s hey day. I have to applaud their dedication to their job since it was very hot and humid that day and they were wearing long pants or full era style dresses. I mean I was wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt and sweat was pouring down my face as it was. Any ways, it looks like they were giving tours of the inside of the mill as well as demonstrating how it operated. I opted to skip the tour this time and headed down the path to the left of the mill down to the water wheel and dam.

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It was very peaceful in this area with the sound of water flowing and the beauty of the water flowing over the dam like little water falls. The water wheel of the mill was not turning when I first got down there since it seems they only turn it on when there is a tour group going through which seemed to be about every 20-30 minutes. It was really neat to watch them unleash the water with a big gush to get the wheel turning. Once it got turning they lessened the flow to keep it moving. I did run into another snake behind the dam but I saw it well in advance unlike last time. To the parks credit, they did have signs saying that there are snakes in this area as well.

From there the path takes you up a hill to a picnic area and a deck / pier that over looks the pond and gives you good view of the mill. I’m pretty sure the path would take you all the way around the pond but it was just too hot and humid that I decided to head back to the welcome center to cool down and then on to my next stop (so I thought.. stay tuned).

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Falls Lake

Posted by heymoe on 26th April 2008

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While heading to Home Depot to pick up some yard supplies, I decided to make a detour to Falls Lake (one many to come I think) and continue my exploration of local parks. When I left the house the sun was out with some clouds but nothing that looked like rain. While heading down Highway 50 the skies opened up with a really good down pour maybe about 2 miles from Falls Lake. I kept on going despite the rain figuring it would end as quickly as it started and I was right.

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Falls Lake is pretty big so this little detour is only a taste of what future visits will hold. Since this was my first visit to Falls Lake, I took the first turn off I came upon on Highway 50 which turned out to the the Highway 50 Boat Launch area. I was not really interested in the boats so luckily there was a picnic area and a trail down to the water with bridge over a spillway. The water level was high enough that you could not tell there was a spillway there which I think is a good sign from the drought point-of-view. I was the first one down to the bridge since the rain just stopped but it did not take long for others to show up with fishing polls in hand. I did not see anyone catch anything while I was there though. On the other side of the bridge was a man-made land bridge that went all the way across to the other side of the lake.

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I didn’t see a lot of wildlife while I was there but did come across two geese so I practiced using my zoom lens on them. My photos of the geese are nothing to write home about but it was still fun “stalking” them to get into position for the shots. I did not adventure to far off the main path this time around and I was very careful where I was stepping especially on the loose rocks. I did not want to have another unexpected run in with a snake like I did at Pullen Park.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Shelley Lake

Posted by heymoe on 22nd March 2008

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As part of the recent changes at work, we gained Good Friday as a work holiday. So after I was done shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall, I headed to Shelley Lake to continue my exploration of local parks.

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I’ve actually been to Shelley Lake before but that must have been at least 8 years ago and from what I remember from way back when, a lot of things have changed. I don’t remember the path all the way around the lake being paved or at least not as wide as it was. I don’t remember there being a boat house and docks. I’m pretty sure the playground has been updated as well.

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Unlike Lake Johnson, I did not have any problem finding a parking space. Granted that might be due to it being Friday and not everyone having Good Friday off or maybe there was just more parking available. The trail around the lake has markings every quarter mile for a total of 2 miles and took me about an hour to go once around including stops for taking pictures. There are some large wide open fields where people were enjoying different activities like frisbee and soccer or just enjoying the sun. I enjoyed my visit and I’m sure to go back.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Lake Johnson Park

Posted by heymoe on 17th February 2008

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It has been awhile since I’ve gone exploring a local park so after my haircut on Saturday I told my GPS to show the a list of parks in the area and Lake Johnson Park was the winner.

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My first impression of the park was not that great due to the limited amount of parking. I circled the lot a couple of times, along with several other cars, hopping that I would get lucky and get a spot. After my third time around the lot I decided to drive to the other side of the lake and see if there was any parking over there, since there was a boardwalk that also went across the lake, and there was. The other parking lot was also small but at least people had the ability to park on the side of the road but luckily I was able to get a parking spot in the lot.

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I decided to head across the boardwalk since there seemed to be more activity on that side of the lake. The boardwalk was well maintained and populated with walkers, joggers and fishers. It also provided a nice view of the lake as you strolled across. On the other side there was a park center which provided a concession stand, restrooms, a nice covered deck with rocking chairs that over looked the lake and boat rentals.

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Wild life wise consisted mainly of ducks, geese and seagulls. I’m sure there are more critters out there and luckily I did not have a run in with anything that could have put me in the hospital like last time, even when I went off the trail to get some pictures.

Other then the limited parking, Lake Johnson Park turned out to be another nice park to explore. Granted I only explored a small bit of the park since the park consist of over 300+ acres of land. The map of the park show a fully paved trail that goes all the way around the east side of the lake and an unpaved trail around the west side. Next time I’ll have to get there earlier and take a stroll around the lake.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Watch Your Step: Pullen Park

Posted by heymoe on 1st December 2007

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After getting my haircut yesterday I decided to take the opportunity of already being downtown to visit Pullen Park. The park is pretty much located right next to the N.C. State University (NCSU), my alma mater. It’s a little sad that during the 5 years I went to NCSU, that I never really stepped foot in the park. The park was a buzz with activity as workers were getting everything ready for the Holiday Express activities later on that day. The park is full of activities for a family outing including a train ride, a carousel ride and pedal boats.

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The park has well maintained and paved walking paths and plenty of things to take pictures of. I even had a run in with some wild life that surely would have sent me to the hospital for some medical attention. While taking some pictures of a tree that still had some brightly colored leaves, I wondered off the main path and down a rocky hill down to a creek when I heard something move and a hiss. Of course this made me jump back the way I came and once I regained my balance I looked down and saw a snake which was sunning next to a rock (see picture). I’m not 100% sure what kind of snake it was but I think it was a cottonmouth water moccasin. Of course since I’ve escaped without a scratch on me I had to go back to take some pictures but this time I looked before I stepped.

NOTE: I am in no way saying that Pullen Park is a dangerous place to go. There is always a possibility of something happening when people and nature interact. Especially if you did what I did and leave the main trail.

More Photos Here

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Fall Colors: Durant Park

Posted by heymoe on 10th November 2007

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Today I made my first outing to Durant Nature Park to take in the fall colors. It was overcast and windy and even though it looked like it was going to rain a few times, which would have been nice since we are still in a drought here, it was overall a nice day. Durant Nature Park is smaller then Umstead Park which I visited just about a month ago but none the less, it still provided plenty of photo opportunities while I wondered around the trails around the lakes. I did see some wildlife but was not able to get close enough to get good pictures. I really need to get a zoom lens for my camera so I can get those close up wildlife photos. Oh well, I’ll keep on wishing for now. Any ways, enjoy the photos. I did take a few HDR shots so keep an eye out for them in the gallery (HDR will be in the name). HINT: The first and forth photo in this post are 2 of 8 of the HDR photos.

More Photos Here

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Walk in the Park

Posted by heymoe on 14th October 2007


Well after I got my haircut I decided to take a side trip to Umstead Park before going grocery shopping. I wondered around the park for almost 2 hours and took some pictures since I had my camera with me. I think I walked around 2 miles around the park but the weather was great so it was all good.

More Photos Here

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