News From The Field
Getting Outside with Kids
by PLC Legal Intern Paula (Marie) Booth:
Over the course of the last several weeks I had become increasingly frustrated with the constant use of electronics in my house. When I was a child I spent almost all of my time outside exploring the woods, investigating neat looking plants, and jumping over creeks. My son has grown up in a world overcome by T.V., PlayStation, online gaming, cell phones, Kindles, etc. While these items are great to have, they seem to take over sometimes no matter what limits are placed on them. With that in mind I decided a family outing was in order and the only use of electronics would be to take pictures.
I have been given the wonderful opportunity to be a legal intern with Piedmont Land Conservancy and through this organization I have learned of many very beautiful areas right here in our backyard. This past weekend was the Black Walnut Festival in Bethania, NC and since PLC has conservation easements on several trails I decided it was a perfect opportunity to go on a hike, check out the property, and enjoy the festival. We hiked the Black Walnut Bottom Trail which is 1.4 miles and the Graveyard Trail which is .7 miles. Although I do not know what plants and trees are of which species, I enjoyed the beauty of the scenery nonetheless. The Black Walnut Bottom Trail winds through the Walnut Bottom area of Bethania along Muddy Creek with bridges for hikers to cross over Bear Creek and Laurel Creek. The old benches and wooden bridges were my son’s favorite part. Every time we saw a portion of one of the creeks he would run to the bank and get as close to the water as possible. The serenity of the trail, sounds of nature, beauty of the flowers, trees, and gently babbling creeks was peaceful and calming. In a world of go, go, go it was wonderful to move slowly and take in the beauty of nature.
The Graveyard Trail was relatively short but it took us to God’s Acre which is the Bethania cemetery. Although we did not get to go in, it was neat to see some very old headstones from the edge of the lot. I also thought it was interesting looking at some of the trees. It is known that the larger around a tree is the older it is. The trees in the cemetery and in the trails were huge. I honestly don’t know if I have ever seen trees as big around as the ones here. In fact, it was my fiancé who pointed it out. As an extreme land surveyor he has an opportunity to see more beautiful areas than most. He tells me all the time what the plans are for certain areas which is why the work PLC does to protect and preserve the beauty surrounding us is so important.
I asked my family later that day what they thought about our little adventure and the response was, “It was the best afternoon we have had in a long time.” I must agree. I felt like a child exploring the woods again and I watched my own son do the same in one of PLC’s protected areas. If you haven’t hiked a trail in Bethania I highly recommend it.
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