North Carolina county #83 Dehart Botanical Gardens
Very early in the morning on Friday I drove over to Dehart Botanical Gardens in Franklin County. It was so early in fact, that I had to wait a while before someone opened the gate, which typically opens at sunrise.
This place is not what I think of when I think Botanical Gardens. Instead, it seems more of a well maintained park. The trails are all well-marked and well maintained, there are several viewing areas and benches, and numbered spots where you can use the paper map you get at the entrance to do a self-tour. At the entrance there is a gazebo where you are supposed to write your name in a log, and there is a Porta Potty for a restroom.
When you arrive you have to decide which way to go. On the left is the waterfall trail and on the right is the lake trail. Both have several offshoots and loops. I chose the lake trail.
I covered this side of the gardens in about one and a half miles, but it packed in a considerable diversity of habitat in that distance. There were forested trails with both deciduous and evergreen, shrubby grassland, and the large lake area. The lake area had a Belted Kingfisher hanging out almost the whole time, flying to the opposite side and perching there each time I approached on the trail.
It was still very early and therefore dark, not helped by the overcast skies. I saw most of the usual suspects, including a couple of Eastern Towhees, which I am starting to see more of now that the summer is over. Although the photos don’t do it justice, this place is a great spot to visit. Easy and interesting trails, and on a day with better weather I am sure there would be more birds. I would definitely like to come back and check out the waterfall side some day.