Umstead State Park

On the Road at William B. Umstead State Park!

Umstead State Park

Image Source: On the Road with Mickey

On the Road at William B. Umstead State Park!

By Mike Ellis.

Today my wife, daughter and I went to William B. Umstead State Park for the first of their “100 S’more Years Events”!  The weather on this day was cool, kind of cloudy, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time!

Umstead Park is located at 8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC (telephone 919-571-4170), and features two main entrances — one on the south side of the park off of I-40 and Harrison Avenue (known as the Reedy Creek Entrance) and one on the north side of the park off of Glenwood Avenue.  Here are some facts about the park that may make it worth the visit:

  • Umstead State Park is approximately 6,000 acres of land.  That’s over 9 miles of park!
  • Umstead Park features 22 miles of hiking trails, and 13 miles of bridle trails for those that wish to ride horses.
  • Additionally, the park features mountain bike trails for those that wish to ride their bikes — Umstead Park is one of the few North Carolina State Parks that features mountain bike trails.
  • Camping: Umstead Park features both traditional camping as well as primitive camping opportunities.  The tent/trailer campground is open from March 15 – December 1st, and the primitive campground is open year round.  Additionally, there are two group camp locations that are open from April – October for youth and non-profit camp organizations.
  • Fishing is allowed, with a North Carolina fishing license.  Common catches include bass, bluegill, and crappie.
  • Umstead Park offers canoe and paddleboat rentals from April through the second week in October.  No private boats or gasoline powered engines are allowed.

100 S’more Years Events

Umstead State Park

Image source: On the Road with Mickey

In addition to today’s event, Umstead Park is offering these events on the following dates and times:

  • Sunday, January 17, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, January 31, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 14, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 28, 2016, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM

So, as you can see, there are many opportunities to enjoy some great S’mores!  This is just one of several opportunities across the state to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of North Carolina State Parks.  Will you participate in any of the events?  Check out the Centennial Events page for more details, and have fun!

In addition to enjoying the S’mores event, we also looked at many of the exhibits they have in the visitor center and drove around the park a bit.  Here are some of the photos that we took from our day, I hope you enjoy!

Umstead State Park

The canoe and paddleboat rental location on Big Lake. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey

Umstead State Park

One of the creeks that winds through the park. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

Right by the road was one of the parks wildlife, just watching us. This was one of three we saw. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

In the Visitor Center, a taxidermy of a beaver is on display. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Umstead State Park

A taxidermy of a coyote at the Umstead State Park visitor’s center. Image credit: On the Road with Mickey.

Good Dinosaur

Disney Pixar Movie: The Good Dinosaur

Good Dinosaur

Image ©Disney/Pixar

The Good Dinosaur

By Mike Ellis.

Last night my family went out to see the Disney/Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur.  Coming into the movie, I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sure how I would like the movie; all the previews made it seem like it would be a good family movie, but I just wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it.  Well, twenty minutes or less into the movie, and I was hooked.  This film has it all — a heart-warming story of the love a family has, brotherly and sisterly rivalry, tragedy, sorrow, and grief, friendship, and courage.

The story centers around the Dinosaur family, Henry (Poppa), Ida (Momma), Libby, Buck, and Arlo.  Libby and Buck easily adjust to life on the family farm, but Arlo, the runt, has a hard time adjusting, and is frightened of almost anything that moves.

As the story progresses, we find that Henry is doing all he can to get Arlo to overcome his fear, and in the course of yet another attempt, Henry is washed downriver and dies.  Arlo is devastated, rightfully so, as he is also lost, and who knows what might have happened to him if not for Spot, a young human boy.  After some trials, the two become best friends.

It turns out that Spot and Arlo have both seen sorrows in their lives — Spot has lost his parents, and believes them dead, just like Arlo has lost his dad.  Having to rely on one another, they run into their share of mean characters as well as friendly characters — I never would have thought that a T-Rex family could be considered “friendly characters” — and throughout it all, they slowly make their way towards Arlo’s home.

The climax of the story comes as Spot is taken by some scavengers because he’s a “critter”, and it is up to Arlo to save his friend.  Only by overcoming his fear of the storm, the rushing water that reminds him of losing his father, and the fear of waterfall, can Arlo come to his friends rescue.

As I said, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this movie, but I really enjoyed it.  It had incredible animation, truly photo-realistic in fact, it had a great, heartwarming story, and a good flow.  I know that many reviewers did not like it, but I did, although I will agree that it is definitely a kids movie at heart.

If you have a young one, go ahead and see it, I think they will like it, and you will too!

Have you seen The Good Dinosaur?  If so, what did you think of it?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!