Carter Meadow Road, Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
I went for a solo hike this morning on the Carter Meadow Road in Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The relatively flat 2.6 mile lollipop trail provided a nice opportunity to get out and enjoy a sunny Thanksgiving morning.
The first half mile is a wide dirt road covered in pine needles and running part of the time adjacent to a stream.
At a half mile, the trail splits forming a loop leading to an observation platform. I chose the trail to the right on the way to the platform and returned on the other trail. The trail to the right was significantly flooded in parts, and I would recommend instead just using the left trail and making it an out-and-back hike to the platform.
The platform overlooks Sunkhaze Meadows, a broad wetland containing a number of raised peat bogs. A beaver lodge was visible from the platform.
The return trail was far more enjoyable and less flooded, winding through woodlands before meeting up with the entrance trail.
The highlight of the hike was hearing the wingbeat of a bald eagle shortly before seeing it fly overhead.
Overall I enjoyed the hike although the observation platform and a wooden footbridge are in need of repair and pose a danger in their current conditions (I emailed the refuge to alert them to the hazards.)