Eno River State Park Backpacking Trip
A couple weekends ago I joined my younger brother for his first backpacking trip and my first backpacking trip in twelve years. Between kids, extra-curricular activities, and crazy schedules, it’s hard to find time for self care, so we scheduled this backpacking trip months in advance. We made it a priority for both of us to spend some brother time in the Great Outdoors together! It was great catching up on our families and life, as well as remembering our childhood memories, especially our family camping trips growing up. We were fortunate to grow up with parents who took us on family camping vacations to visit state parks and national parks across the Midwest. That’s where our shared love for the Great Outdoors began at a very young age.
We decided to hike Eno River State Park, which was a halfway meeting point for my brother in Greensboro and me in Johnston County. Eno River State Park offers some beautiful backcountry campsites in the Fews Ford access area that make for an easy hike from the parking lot, only about a mile from trailhead to campsite. There are five campsites in this area, each with a pad for tents, fire ring, lantern hook, and bench.
We began from the Cox Mountain Trailhead, located off of the main parking lot at the back of the Fews Ford access area. The hike began with a descent toward the Eno River.
Once we got down to Eno River, we crossed a suspension bridge over the Eno River. Hikers must take turns hiking across the suspension bridge, as it sways when hiking. An interesting part of the suspension bridge is a sign that marks where the Eno River rose to during Hurricane Fran on September 6, 1996.
After crossing over the suspension bridge, we headed straight across the trail into the woods, then joined with another trail to the right that took us back to the campsite area. From there, it was about a three quarter mile hike to get to our campsite.
When we arrived to our campsite, we first set up our tents on the tent pad, then I began boiling water for our dehydrated backpack dinners while my brother began collecting firewood for a campfire. It was a team effort!
After a delicious backcountry dinner, my brother and I enjoyed hours of conversation around the campfire, catching up on life together. We had an early night, retiring to our tents a little after 9pm. It’s amazing how late it feels when you’re in the middle of the woods and it gets dark at 7pm!
During the night, we heard many interesting sounds, including coyotes howling. We had a pretty good night of sleep, although sleeping on a ThermaRest in a sleeping bag is not the same as sleeping at home in bed, but that’s part of the backcountry camping experience!
The next morning we had an early rise, getting up before 6am. I immediately started boiling water to make our instant coffee, some Starbucks Via French Roast. For me, my day doesn’t begin until I have my coffee and there is nothing better than enjoying some delicious Starbucks Via French Roast instant coffee in the backcountry!
We broke camp and hit the trail out by 7:15am. I had to leave the park by 8am to meet my colleague down in Lillington, NC to help run an 8.5 mile canoeing trip on the Cape Fear River with students in a canoeing class through NC State University’s Outdoor Leadership minor program, a part of their Health and Exercise Studies program.
The hike out was absolutely beautiful! We took a slight detour when we got back down to the Eno River to explore the old cabin, then made our way back over the suspension bridge up the trail back to the parking lot. It was a trip we truly enjoyed!