As we noted in Wednesday’s post, February is a great month for hiking because of its link, in the Southeast at least, between the last of the best of winter and the beginning of spring. One particular upside of February is that you can start thinking about heading back up to the mountains. Sure, maybe not the highest peaks, where winter will hold court into late March, but certainly along the Blue Ridge Escarpment — and not far beyond.
In the “not far beyond” category are isolated small peaks such as Mount Jefferson, in the far northwest corner of the state. This isolated peak reaches 4,683 feet, impressive by regional standards and a worthy destination for a first-of-the-season mountain hike: the Rhododendron and Lost Province trails combine for a scenic 2-mile mountaintop hike. And if you need added incentive — and want to learn a thing or two — Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is hosting two hikes this weekend: Climate Tower Hike on Saturday at 2 p.m., the Luther Rock Nature Hike on Sunday at 2 p.m. Click the appropriate link for more information.
A couple more events that might be of interest:
Seven Mile Creek Natural Area, Sunday, 2 p.m., Hillsborough. We’re especially excited about this hike in the Eno River Association’s Sunday Afternoon Winter Hike Series because it explores new terrain. Well, not “new,” exactly: it’s been around a while. But it is new in terms of accessibility. This 3-mile hike will utilizes old farm roads that will be part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to follow Seven Mile Creek, an Eno tributary, past old homesteads. Get to know Seven Mile Creek this Sunday by meeting at 2 p.m. at 2187 Moorefields Road, Hillsborough. (Follow the signs to “The Moorefields.”) More info here.
Great Backyard Bird Count, Saturday and Sunday, various locations. For the past 22 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society have been keeping tabs on the world’s bird population by employing volunteer eyes like yours to monitor bird activity in their own backyards. Currently, about 100,000 citizen scientists participate in the count. As the event’s name might suggest, you can do the count on your own, in your own backyard. Or, you can join others, including practiced birders who know their birds, at scheduled events. For instance, the Triangle Land Conservancy is holding a GBBC Friday at their Brumley Nature Preserve North near Hillsborough, Saturday at the Bailey & Sarah Williamson Preserve in southeast Raleigh, and Sunday at their White Pines Nature Preserve south of Pittsboro. Learn more about those events and sign up to join in, here. Similarly, group counts are scheduled Saturday at Hammocks Beach State Park and Eno River State Park. Learn more about those counts at the N.C. State Parks web site, here.
GetHiking! this weekend
What are our GetHiking! groups in North Carolina and Virginia up to this weekend? Plenty, thanks for asking …
GetHiking! Charlottesville: James Madison’s Montpelier to Grelen and Back, Friday, February 14, 9 a.m., 11350 Constitution Hwy., Montpelier Station. Easy. 6 miles. Hike highlight: Montpelier. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Triangle: Valentine’s Day Hike: Loblolly Trail to Schenck Forest, Saturday, February 15, 10 a.m., Schenck Forest Access Rd., Raleigh. Easy. 5 miles. Hike highlights: chocolate exchange. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Bear Church Rock, Saturday, February 15, 8:30 a.m., 4105 Lewis and Clark Dr.., Charlottesville. Strenuous. 10 miles. Hike highlight: Bootens Gap, Appalachian Trail, Laurel Prong Trail, Cat Knob Trail, Cat Knob, Jones Mountain Trail, Bear Church Rock. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlottesville: Sunset Hike on Rivanna Trail: Riverview Park to Free Bridge, Saturday, February 15, 4 p.m., 298 Riverside Ave., Charlottesville. Easy. 1.5 miles. Hike highlight: fields and forests along the Rivanna River. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Charlotte: Dutchmans Creek Loop, Uwharrie National Forest, Saturday, February 15, 9:30 a.m., Dutchman’s Creek Trailhead, Mt. Gilead. Strenuous. 11.3 miles. Learn more here.
GetHiking! Virginia Beach: York River State Park, Sunday, February 16, 11 a.m., 5526 Riverview Rd., Williamsburg. Easy-Moderate. 5-10 miles. Learn more here.
Live the video
Today’s video is from Saturday’s hike on Day Hike Section K of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, at 7.3 miles the longest undisturbed run of the trail along Falls Lake. Learn more about this stretch of the MST here.
More Weekend Options
Looking for more options for weekend adventure? Check out our GetOut! Find An Adventure resource page here.