This past weekend I was able to spend some time on both Saturday and Sunday outside – which makes for a great weekend about anytime. On Saturday morning, I went kayaking with a friend at Lake Reese near Asheboro, and on Sunday I helped lead a hike for A3 Healthy Communities on Three Rivers Land Trust’s Low Water Bridge Preserve in Montgomery County.

A3 Healthy Communities is a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging the Asheboro Community to “embrace and value a healthy and holistic lifestyle through education, support and advocacy.” This group regularly hosts hikes in the Randolph County and surrounding area that are free and open to all. If you are interested in getting on their email list, you can contact Dr. Jim Rich at 336-625-2993 or by email at

My friend and myself started our paddle at Lake Lucas on Saturday at 9am. This beautiful lake is small enough that you can kayak around the entire perimeter in about 3 hours. We saw a number of great blue herons and kingfishers, a great egret, several turtles, and a variety of native wildflowers in bloom – but the most impressive thing is the number of butterflies we saw. There were butterflies flying around us almost the entire time we were there, and a large cluster of them putting on a show around some blooming buttonbush on one cove on the lake.

Water primrose with its yellow bloom could be found in thick patches on the edge of the shore. Back in the headwaters of the lake we saw swamp milkweed in bloom with its bright pink hue standing out amongst the greenery. A vine known as “love dodder” was also found in the same area as the buttonbush, covering the surrounding vegetation with a lime green canopy that looked like it was made of thin, long hairs.

The hike on Sunday at Low Water Bridge began around 2:30pm and we had a very large group of almost 50 people in attendance. We hiked a trail that follows the Uwharrie River to Crow Creek and back, about 2 miles total trip. We saw rattlesnake plantain orchid in bloom as well as desmodium and goldenrod. We heard a hooded warbler across the river with his bright “weeta-wee-te-o” call. There were a couple of streams we had to cross and a few downed trees we needed to navigate, but overall it was a fairly leisurely stroll under a shaded canopy.

The A3 group was very appreciative of the guided hike and seemed like a great group to hike with. They will be leading another hike to Cooper Mountain Cemetery in the Birkhead Wilderness Area on Sunday afternoon August 25 from the Robbins Branch trailhead, if the water in the creek is not too high. Contact Jim Rich if you are interested in joining them for more details.