When I think of Hawn State Park, I think of pines. Big stands of mature native short-leaf pine.

Or I think of Pickle Creek, which is as pretty a small watercourse as any in the state. It's easy to forget that such an idyllic place is only an hour from South County, and only fifteen minutes from the parking lot. I don't know why I don't go there more often. I could use if as a office. Take a book and a little lunch, get caught up on some reading.

I have another favorite place at Hawn, a much used but probably against-the-rules campsite on the back loop of the Whispering Pines Trail. I haven't camped there in years, but I usually try to take a break there whenever I'm in the back of the park:

I think a lot of people camp there because they mistake it for the official backpacking camp that's just a little bit father up the trail. Or maybe they make the mistake on purpose, since it has a pleasant view down the little creek it sits on:

There's the sound of water running down a little waterfall, and the smell of pine needles . . . if the rules are being bent, at least they're being bent tastefully.

In any case, when I was there in May, the campsite was bordered by big, health ferns, like I've never seen there before:

I was quite surprised, since I've spent so much time at the place. I'm not sure what was different. A really good year for ferns? We had had a mild winter and an early, wet spring. Or is it just that I tend to not get out in the woods around Memorial Day? It seems reasonable, since for the last ten or fifteen years Memorial Day usually finds me preparing for one summer mega-event or another.