Who wants to write a user guide on Sunday mornings when you can go hiking?! My dad came over for a "Sunday Stroll" a few weeks ago and we explored Harris Lake County Park in Wake County over by the Shearon Harris nuclear plant. I'm used to visiting the park for disc golf and McCrae sometimes mountain bikes at the park, but this was the first time we were going to explore the running and walking trails.

We got a late start so it was muggy, but even so the morning sun slanted through tall cattails, glowing gold through reeds and leaves and glittering off fluorescent green pond scum. A guy with a shy dog passed us once, then twice, his head bent in his phone while he searched for Pokemon. A mother and daughter pulled at their German shepherd as it bellowed at the water fowl. I scrambled at the water's edge - once to count frogs as they instantaneously appeared in a brown flash and then disappeared in a flash, almost too fast to see, but there was the evidence of them by the disturbance in the algae.

Another time I watched the bluegills laze in the shallows, swaying back and forth with waves from a distant, long-gone motorboat. I puzzled over the odd plastic bag one woman carried on the trail as we passed her until I looked around and watched her stop and pick a white cap. Mushrooms. No wonder her bag bulged so weirdly but looked so light. It was full of mushrooms.

"You better know what you're doing with that," my dad remarked at the mushroom foraging, and I agreed before we headed down the trail again.

We didn't hike the full 4.5 miles of the Peninsula Trail - it was hot, Ryder was uncomfortable and almost considered hopping in some cool water, and Dad's back pain was acting up, but it was a pretty trail with one decent look at the nuclear plant's tower issuing a pillow of steam.

By the time we got back to the car we were buzzing - with hunger, not radioactivity - and we wallowed a minute in the AC, watching an older couple haul kayaks from their SUV and down the car-top boat launch, ready for a day on the water.

Try it:

Harris Lake offers miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, as well as a disc golf course, kayak/canoe launches, picnic tables, a playground, and a couple of fishing spots. Read more: http://www.wakegov.com/parks/harrislake/Pages/default.aspx

Have you been to Harris Lake? Or do you want to go to Harris Lake? Let me know in the comments!

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