My delightful wife bought me a book optimistically a few years ago that I'm just now appreciating -- 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Raleigh, by Lynn Setzer. Last week I ventured out to one of the hikes that I'd always wanted to try, Occoneechee Mountain in Hillsborough. It's the highest point in Orange County at a whopping 867 feet above sea level. I read the official web page and consulted the map (PDF), but the last nugget in my head before I headed out was that the book said the hike would be 50 minutes.
Well, no. When I got back I looked it up again -- the book suggests that you climb to the overlook then the summit, then retreat back the way you came. Who wants to do that when there's another option? My two hour journey around the whole mountain led to a beautiful overlook, a disppointing summit (just a cell phone tower and fenced-off fire tower), a stroll alongside the Eno River and quite a bit of up-and-down. Apparently this word "mountain" in the hike's name should have given me a clue, eh? My only real frustration was having that "50 minute" time in my head so the last 30 minutes or so I kept thinking the end was just around the corner.
Beautiful scenery, moderate hike, well worth your time. And a clean bathroom to boot!
All 43 pics are at my Facebook album here: