Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Latta Plantation Nature Preserve

Over the weekend,
Sister and I took some "girl time" together
and headed out to the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
What a stellar way to start out the month of October!

This amazing piece of property allows visitors to peek into
life in the 1800s.
Although the land hosts the historical cotton plantation
and all of its outbuildings, we decided to save that tour for another day.
On this day,we hiked.

The charming stroll up to the welcome center is a delight for the eyes.
Lush greenery with a sprinkling of color winds its way to the entrance.

Welcome Center

Inside you'll find nature displays,
including some of the critters likely to be seen while hiking.
Trail maps can be acquired at the front desk,
along with information about membership, classes offered, and party rentals.

The garden just behind the welcome center is rather rustic,

and hosted this brilliant example of beautyberry,
which we were sure the birds would be enjoying all season.

Latta has 16 trails open to hikers, bikers and horses.
When Sister informed me that they have horses available for rent,
I knew this would be only our first visit of many to come.
I grew up riding and have really wanted to get back into it,
and Sister has never been on a horse.
What a fabulous way to spend a cool, fall day.
We'll be sure to share that adventure!

The trail awaits.
With serenity surrounding us,
we took off for parts unknown!
The quiet enveloped us,
and the only sounds heard 
were from the countless birds who call this place home.

This property is the county's largest nature preserve
and boasts over 600 acres of sprawling splendor.

Clearly marked trails enable you to explore without worry.
Without a trail map to guide us,
we wandered through the woods,
anticipating something wonderful around every bend.

Aside from enjoying a picnic lunch next to the water,
visitors can participate in kayaking, paddle boarding or fishing.
We were content to simply gaze at the tranquil ebb and flow before us.

From the MECKNC.gov website:
"Latta Plantation Nature Preserve also preserves habitat for 97 species of birds, 17 species of mammals, 14 species of reptiles, and 9 species of amphibians. Among the species that have been found at the Preserve are: Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey,red fox, gray fox, mink, and red-spotted newt. The Preserve also protects two federally endangered plants (Schweinitz's sunflower and Michaux's sumac), a federal candidate species (Georgia's aster), and the largest population of puttyroot orchid in Mecklenburg County."

Our journey took us through meandering paths,
greeting fellow hikers (some of the four-legged variety),
and relishing the stillness within the protection of the woods.
We both agreed that this type of activity does not even seem like exercise,
there is so much to see, hear and appreciate.

What a fantastic place to do nature studies for homeschooling.
It was wonderful to read about the educational programs available,
some geared specifically for homeschoolers.
This type of hands-on teaching is what fosters a life-long love of learning.

Our next trip will be planned when fall has been around a while,
since mosquitoes were a bit of a problem.
Sister gets eaten up, it's probably because she's so doggone sweet.
After hearing about this glorious treasure,
I'm glad I finally got to see it for myself.
I'll be back.

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