Raven Rock

I grip the wood railing that trails up the ginormous rock and heave out breaths as my dad steps past me, singing the Rocky theme song and pumping the air in idiotic triumph.

Raven Rock State Park, surrounding the Cape Fear River, is a spot frequently visited by students of NC State University, regular citizens of Raleigh and others from around the state. With easy and difficult trails riddled through the park, the hiking there can be enjoyed by anyone at any level.

Since the park is named after it, I decided to take the Raven Rock trail, scouring the gigantic rock from top to bottom. This is a very easy and scenic trail to take, the hundreds of trees lining it, giving everything a warm green hue. There are many other trails to take, along with different camping sites that have to be hiked to.

Adults and kids climb around at the base of the rock. Running fingers along the sediment lines, the surface slightly smoothened from years of people touching it, I walked between the rock and the river. The clay slightly slips beneath the soles of my sneakers, causing me to right myself before I plunge into the water.

When walking beneath Raven Rock, everything else seems so big and you so small. The trees tower above everything, clutching to the bank and the cliff the rock creates. The nature there is a mixture of delicate leaves and chirping birds and huge forces of nature that leave you in awe.

Once deep into the forest, the sounds of nature drift on the wind, the occasional laughter or bark heard in the distance. The forest makes it seem like there isn’t a hint of civilization for miles, a secluded haven for those that just want to get away.

Since I only took one trail while I was at the state park, I am gladly going to go again and try a harder one. While hiking is great for relaxing and taking a breather from responsibilities, I also see it as an exciting workout when the gym gets too boring. The scenery and sounds are worth the inconvenience of driving a ways to get to it.