90 Second Escape: A Wilderness Wander at Umstead

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb.

Today’s 90-Second Escape: A Wilderness Wander at Umstead.

Saturday morning dawned gray, rainy and cool. The perfect day for an off-trail trek in Umstead State Park. Umstead is a 5,700-acre forest in the heart of the Triangle. The land that would become the state park was put aside beginning in the 1930s, depleted farmland that had been drained of its productivity. The federal government began buying out local farmers; the land began reverting to its pre-European invasion state. Today, Umstead is an 80-year-old forest with only occasional signs of its civilized past.

Twenty miles of hiking trail crisscross the park, and I’ve been on all of them hundreds of times. But Saturday, the objective of octogenarian Rod Broadbelt, who’s been leading monthly hikes here for 14 years. Few people know the backcountry of Umstead better than Rod. C’mon, let him take you on a quick tour.

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