Seeking Purple Finch  LbNA # 57393

Placed DateApr 8 2011
LocationRiverbend Park, Conover, NC
Found By 2-2 wheelers
Last Found Dec 13 2014
Hike Distance2-3 mi
Last EditedSep 14 2015

Boxes 1 - 3 of this series have been reported missing.

Park is closed Tues, Wed, and Thurs.

Note on distance. This is a gentle hike with a couple of steeper climbs. So while three miles may seem long on paper, I've been on shorter hikes that were much more difficult and seemed longer. Don't let the distance scare you off, but do wear good shoes and take water. There are benches scattered along the way for breaks and a few nice meadows for a picnic lunch.

This series is designed to work your thinking and orienteering skills, and show off many of the various features of the park. All degrees are magnetic.

Distance: 3 miles from trail head to trail exit.

The Clues:

My Grandma loves to watch for different kinds of birds and my grandkids just like being active, some more than others. So, we decided to take a family outing. Being good hikers we were careful to pick up a map while registering our presence in the park. Miss T went with and though she chaffed at being leashed most of the time, she still enjoyed the walk.

We headed down RED toward the river.We could hear it rushing before we got there. But even the short distance to the #1 marker wore out grandma. On the side trail, about 33 steps past #1 but before the hiker made shortcut and the trail hairpin turn there are some flat topped rocks where one could sit and watch the river through the trees and the hikers on the trail just down the small hillside. On the trail side, where the most colorful rock and the best for sitting meets its neighbor to the left there is room under for Beatrice. There is no obvious SPOR or SPOW and it would be good to keep it that way; there is just the camo of the box and debris filling and covering the hole as it was when we arrived. The hole has been plugged on the downhill side to prevent Beatrice from blowing or washing on through. But it would be great if you made sure she is seated well when you put her back. If you need a bench, there is one a little ways further down the trail.

Being THREE, Logan was the fastest of the kids to poop-out. However, though he stopped, his inquisitive nature took his wandering off the trail and up the hill. His wanderings didn't take him overly far, he could still see the trail when he finally stopped. When the adults found him again, they could barely see the lower right corner of the marker at 60*. He had crawled inside a hollow log shelter for a nap.

Somewhere past 4 Sissy started to give out. The group had followed the tricolor marker and turned off on the red/green leaving blue to meander off by itself. Just past red/green is a heavily lichen covered large rock/small boulder. Now Sissy loves to hang and swing from trees. about 130 steps from the boulder she spied one on the left perfect for climbing up on and swinging. When she tired of swinging on the tree she ran across the trail to the other side to investigate a couple of old neighbor stumps, one split open down the center. Alas she found nothing there to hold her interest. But 3-5 steps to the right was another story. From the trail this might look like a 5 trunked tree but in fact is a 3 and a 2 right next to one another. In the base of the three is a nice hidey spot.

Not long after leaving Sissy, Joshua spied the RIVER TRAIL and took off. But upon reaching the first meadow, instead of taking the route closest to the river he took the greener, less traveled side of the loop. It was pretty. 30-35 steps before the path met back up with the better traveled one he spied an odd looking tree of three. It looked like it was shedding it's skin. Later he found out it was a River Birch sometimes called a Water Birch. There really wasn't anything blocking the 25 or so steps (at about 72-78 degrees from the trail) to this skin shedding tree so he strolled over to it. After settling in the midst of these three he decided to stay while the persevering few moved on.

Madison said, "Well, I'm not staying here!" and continued down the green trail. She passed a fishing spot where one could rest if they needed, but she said no and continued on. She spied the back of eight and took the short cut through the second meadow toward the WETLANDS and on towards 7. Starting up the rise she saw an awesome climbing tree Sissy would have liked, but alas Sissy had already dropped behind and off the trail. At 7 Madison decided to stick with green, going straight, and checking out a couple more meadows. Green here was lovely and the trail looked barely worn, just shadows of the the ranger's buggy tires. On she strolled listening to the birds, enjoying the peacefulness of the little kids absence and no other hikers. Straight on through 6 until a Y took her to the middle of the first meadow. There near the middle she discovered tree with a graceful sweeping trunk. The base was almost flat enough to sit on for a rest. In the V between the trunk and the ground she decided to curl up in the shade for a longer stay.

Well friends, only I, your narrator have persevered and pushed on for the Purple Finch, the goal of this journey. At 10 I took a rest and ate a bit of my packed lunch and snacks. Off to the left are the remnants of an old fence. Wonder what it held in the long ago past. Off to the right is the second meadow on this leg of my journey. From the trail there is a marvelous old growth tree dominating the center of the meadow. I left the trail at about a 90* angle to walk past the tree and into the woods beyond. About two trees in I found the finch's abode. It was high on the back of the tree that turned to two quite a ways up.

Please keep track of the stick that helps secure the finch's door and return it to its job when you are finished.

Beatrice Glenn Swaim
Sissy aka Kyrstin
Purple Finch

Edited Park Map
About the Purple Finch
Riverbend Park