After having LJ cooped up for the entire winter, I was ready to un-winterize him and get back on the road. The weather was starting to warm up a little and I began looking for new places to explore. Plus, I had a friend who was having a wedding shower for her daughter in Greenville, SC. I thought I would make a fun trip out of going to see her and hitting some campgrounds and Harvest Hosts along the way. Since I love hiking, I thought it would be fun for Goose and I to explore Pilot Mountain, NC and camping near Winston Salem, NC. It’s a wonderful state park and for a brief while, I lived nearby. I have really fond memories of sitting on my great-grandmother’s lap, watching farmers roll hay in the fall while listening to her sing nursery rhymes. The area near Mt. Airy represents such a simple time in my youth. This is probably why I love the mountains and vast, hilly farmland so much.
Since my parents are members of Thousand Trails and I can stay for free, I searched nearby campgrounds and found Forest Lake. It’s nestled about a half hour away from Winston Salem. I also chose Winston Salem because I think that would be a fun place for Andy and I to visit for a quick weekend getaway. I’d go first and scope out all the fun things to do and report back.
There are numerous things to do there with lots of walking trails and the largest dog park I have ever seen is there as well. I found a great trail, Tanglewood Park Red Multi-Use Trail, on All Trails in Clemmons and it was closer to Forest Lake than driving all the way into Winston Salem. I hiked that my first day since it was easy and I wanted to get in a quick walk after work. Its length was only 2.2 miles but I was able to walk multiple times squeezing more mileage out. There were lots to see including a county campground where I spied a few Air Streams! This park is also where the awesome dog park was. Nearby were some grocery stores and gas stations as well.
On the weekend, Goose and I ventured to Pilot Mountain. It was about 45 minutes away from our campground and was worth the drive. In March, the weather was cool and overcast but we worked up a little sweat. The hike up was consistent in its upward grade. The hike was 7.7 miles out and back and took us about 4 hours to complete. Recently, there was a forest fire in the park so I noticed a lot of burned areas. I hope to venture back once all of the vegetation returns to see it in its full splendor, especially in the fall.
While in the area, I drove over to the little community that I lived in briefly. I spied our old house and church next door. The little country store, Codell’s, that we visited for Cokes and candy was abandoned. That was a little sad. I remember that store and the friendly country folk there well.
After my trip down memory lane, I ventured back to Forest Lake campground. I had a really nice experience there. The campers were friendly and quiet. The scenery was beautiful even in late winter when all the leaves had not returned. There was construction going on as they were building more sites and adding onto the footprint. I was able to get some short walks in there before and after work, which Goose appreciated. I recently bought, from LL Bean, a 500-piece puzzle of all of the national parks. It was nice to sit and put it all together in peace and quiet. It only took me 6 hours with a few snack breaks in between!
I would definitely head back to Forest Lake again so I can adventure more into that area and try out some local breweries and wineries, but maybe I’ll bring Andy next time.