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Running, walking, hiking, biking, paddling, climbing

Living the active life in North Carolina

Trail Magic Revisited

On Sunday, I saw a Facebook post from a hiker visiting Damascus, Va., for Trail Days, the annual event celebrating the first wave of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers traipsing through town. It reminded me of what a delight it is to hike among thru-hikers and hear about their experiences. Back in April of 2010, I happened upon a wave of thru-hikers, along with a bit of paternal trail magic, in the Standing Indian area…

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Trail etiquette: play nice

We head into the wayback machine again to revisit the timely topic of trail etiquette. The following first appeared here on March 19, 2010. It reappears today, with minor revisions.  Sunday, I was running the bike and bridle trail at Umstead when I came upon a sizable obstacle: a phalanx of hikers bearing backpacks spanned the width of the trail, spilling over onto the shoulders. The trail is quiet generous, a…

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This weekend: Cool spring lingers (but for much longer?)

Take advantage of yet another cool spring weekend with a fitness challenge at the coast, a Mother’s Day hike in the Piedmont, and what may be the most ideal first hike ever offered. Coast You think of firefighters, you think of folks in pretty darn good shape. So who better to stage a fitness challenge? Saturday, the Wilmington Professional Firefighter’s Association holds its Second Annual Charity Firefighter’s Fitness Challenge. Wondering what types…

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Good or bad? A lesson in perspective

Grr, another creek crossing, or Yippee! Another creek crossing! Thinking recently about the difference between a good experience and a not-so-good experience, I was reminded of a scouting trip I’d taken in December 2009. Here’s a brief reflection from that trip that originally appeared around the same time. Sometimes, to keep a challenge from becoming an ordeal you have to try and balance the bad with a good. Take my ordeal…

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This weekend: Adventure from sea level to 6,000 feet

Learn about the salt marsh on a paddle at the coast, watch the sun set on the weekend from the Art Loeb Trail, or discover a “new” gorge where the Piedmont and coastal plain meet. Coast The Bald Head Island Conservancy does an exemplary job of promoting the environment through public education. This weekend, for instance, there’s Birding BHI, Touch Tank Time and Reptile Roundup on Saturday, and Island Nature…

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Eating MREs so you don’t have to

When I started writing about trails in the early’90s, my motto quickly became, “Getting lost, so you don’t have to.” It’s a philosophy I’ve stuck with as my scope has widened to encompass trying all kinds of things so you don’t have to. A year ago, I had a backpacking class that included three vets, a rarity because most ex-military I encounter have zero interest in voluntarily spending another night…

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This weekend: Sunny days ahead 

After a long spell of rain, you owe it to yourself to spend the weekend outdoors. The opportunities for doing so abound. Coast How many chances do you get to run a 5K through a swamp? Not too many. Saturday, though, you have the chance at the Millpond Day 5K Family Fun Run/Walk at Merchants Millpond State Park. The run is on park trail that winds through bottomland coastal forest…

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Spring wildflowers, spring bees

New Hope Creek was at its burbling best: the hardwoods nearly leafed out, the air warm but not summer warm, the wildflowers in abundance: spring beauties, bluets, chickweed, violets, periwinkle and a particularly stunning dwarf iris. My hikers will love this! I thought, thinking ahead to the Sunday GetHiking! trip I was scouting. Then I heard a distinctive hum, with more volume than I was accustomed to. I looked down…

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This weekend: A Day to Get Out and Celebrate Mother Earth 

It’s little surprise that there’s lots going on in the great outdoors this Earth Day weekend. Saturday alone (the actual Earth Day), the N.C. Office of Environmental Education lists more than 50 events on its calendar. Lots to choose from; here are some we especially like. Coast One way to approach Earth Day is to use it as an opportunity to visit a place you’ve yet to explore. Lake Waccamaw State…

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10,000 steps a day? Try 30,000

Jim Emmons was happy to talk about his 30,000-step-a-day habit, under one condition: the interview had to be in motion. Yes, Emmons confirmed as we walked the Durham campus of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina where he’s Vice President of Corporate Planning, he does average 30,000 steps a day—three times the daily recommendation and twice the much-discussed increase recently suggested by a study of Scottish mailmen. As…

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