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Water Adventures, Camping and Star Gazing with Durham's Frog Hollow Outdoors

By S. Mathur

The Triangle Region of North Carolina is best known for its trio of outstanding universities but there are also plenty of untouched open spaces and water bodies within easy reach of the urban areas. Natasha Teasley, Operations Manager at Frog Hollow Outdoors explains a bit of background info.

"When the Triangle really started to boom in development we had some wise members of our local commissions and several conservation non-profits worked to protect our outdoor spaces so that we now have wonderful places without having to travel far. You can hike or bike in Duke Forest, paddle the Deep River or Eno River without seeing a great deal of development along the way."

Frog Hollow Outdoors helps to introduce visitors to this environment, through kayaking, canoeing, and paddle board trips, as well as rock climbing, geocaching, camping and summer camps. Frog Hollow Outdoors "was born out of Banks Dixon's love of the outdoors and his desire to share that love of the outdoors with others," says Teasley, "We love how energizing connecting or reconnecting to the outdoor can be for people. The outdoors and adventure activities have a very restorative effect on people."

From loving the outdoors to wanting to protect them is a small and logical step, one that Frog Hollow activities encourage. Teasley feels that "Also, the more people love outdoor spaces the more they care about protecting and caring for those spaces. People who are connected to the outdoors are naturally more aware of their impact on those spaces and they often try to leave the space cleaner and healthier for future use."

Visitors can tour the Eno River and other water bodies with guides or do self-guided tours. They can camp in Umstead State Park or at Falls or Jordan Lakes, or do the Bald Eagle Paddle on Jordan Lake. Bald eagles are making a comeback at Jordan Lake, and other wildlife includes blue herons, otters, deer, beaver, turtles, woodpeckers, egrets and other wildfowl.

There are night paddle trips that take visitors out into the twilight, under the stars and the moon, as well as overnight camping trips. Paddling Under the Stars trips on Jordan Lake are accompanied by an astronomer from the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, who will point out the constellations and other heavenly objects. Without the light pollution from urban light sources, the dark night sky is perfect for stargazing. If you plan ahead, you can catch a meteor shower. Overnight campers may be lucky enough to watch and hear an otters' pool party on the water, with splashing, diving and games.

With a wide range of trips, there is something for all ages and skill levels. Children are welcome and there is suitable equipment available.

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