“Well, I learned something new on this trip,” Cat said as she watched Brandon hoist his backpack to his bent knee before pausing to swing it onto his back.
“That’s the thing about backpacking,” I said. “Every trip, you learn new things.” read more
Our two favorite times to be in the trail in winter: sunrise and sunset. They’re great year-round, frankly, but much more accessible in winter: Sunrise today is at 7:21 a.m., sunset at 5:34 p.m.
If you have to ask what’s so special about these two golden hours of the day, then you’re probably not a hiker. Or possibly in possession of a pulse. Personally, we love the moment-to-moment change as the sky evolves from yellow to pink to orange to crimson to purple. If we sense the conditions for a good sunset, we’ll dash to the local summit in town, Occoneechee Mountain, which affords an open view to the west: sunset over the Eno River Valley is one of the best. We’re pretty crazy about certain other sunsets as well: from Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge, from atop Shining Rock in the Pisgah National Forest, from Little Long Mountain in the Uwharrie National Forest, from Hump Mountain on the Appalachian Trail. We’ve even seen the queen mother of sunset phenomena: the elusive green flash, a prismatic neon burst that lasts just a second or two, which we saw over the Pacific Ocean years ago in Hawaii. read more
I got into the business of leading hikes about a decade ago for one reason: Hiking did a lot for me, I thought it might do the same for others. Since I got the most mental benefit from a hike when I was alone, I assumed others would as well.
So rather than just leading hikes, I hoped to empower those with me to feel comfortable hiking on their own. Expose people to a variety of trails, on varying terrain, in a variety of conditions, both day and night, and it wouldn’t be long before I might see them just once or twice a year because otherwise they’d be exploring on their own. I even created a class, GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods, to teach basic map and compass skills and how to read a topo map and the terrain. All the tools. read more