A remote encounter of the hiking kind

I rounded the bend and came to an abrupt stop. Not 10 yards away a woman on all fours wearing a jester’s hat and a full backpack was shinnying across a downed hemlock that crossed the creek. On the far side of the creek were two other female backpackers: one taking pictures, the other encouraging the scooter. “You’ve got another photographer!” one of the landed women informed the scooter.
The scooter turned her head. “Oh! Hi!”
Curious as the scene was, it was to about get curiouser. “Joe Miller!” yelled the woman with the camera.
A Thursday afternoon, first week of November, on a backcountry trail bridging Mt. Sterling and the Cataloochee area in the Smokies: What were the odds of running into someone I knew? Pretty good, if it was fellow guidebook writer Danny Bernstein.
Danny, a retired college professor, and her husband moved to the high country not long ago. In 2007, her “Hiking the Carolina Mounains” was published, and this past April her “Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage” came out in. Her latest adventure: section hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. She and Sharon McCarthy, the jester-hatted scooter (she wound up walking most of the log), are doing the whole trail. “Carolyn [Hoopes, the third hiker in their party] comes along when she feels like it.”
It was late in the day and we were all racing the sun, Danny, Sharon and Carolyn to get to campsite 40, about 4 miles down the trail, me to loop back to my car 6 miles up the way. Thus, I didn’t get much time to find out what else Danny was up to. Fortunately, she keeps an active blog.
“It’s crazy running into someone you know on such a remote trail,” I said just before we parted ways.
“Acutally,” Danny corrected me, “it’s not so remote. It’s the Smokies.” read more

Why stay in shape

Tuesday evening I sat against a log, just off the Appalachian Trail, bundled against the cold, and watched the sun set. At 4,000 feet on a ridgeline, several miles from civilization, it was a long, slow show. When the curtain turned a deep crimson, I noticed it wasn’t getting darker. I glanced over my shoulder to find a full moon cresting over a near ridge to the east. I switched position and sat for another half hour. It took seven miles of hiking up more than 2,000 vertical feet with 35 pounds on my back, but it was worth it. I’m pretty sure I had the best seat in the house to see November 3rd come to a close in North Carolina. read more

Night hiking: Beating the Standard Time blues

With the end of Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, GetGoingNC.com is looking at various ways you can keep active during the dark times ahead.

For maybe the fifth time in five minutes Alan stopped to comment on the trail. “This is a great trail,” he commented. And for the fifth time in maybe five minutes I reminded him that we had hiked this same trail maybe a half dozen times. His sense of discovery was justified, though. This was the first time we’d hiked the trail in daylight. read more

Hikes You Can Do: Buckquarter Creek

Every Wednesday through Thanksgiving, GetGoingNC.com will feature a hike in North Carolina that just about anyone can do. It won’t be a long hike (though we may throw in a recommendation for going longer), it won’t be strenuous hike (there could be a hill-climb option as well). The hikes will be timed to coincide with the changing colors of fall. This week, the 1.5-mile Buckquarter Creek Trail in Eno River State Park. read more

East Coast Greenway: News from the (new) top

Does it help to have friends in high places? If there’s any truth to the old political adage then expect to see rapid development of the East Coast Greenway through the region, now that homegrown Dennis Markatos-Soriano is executive director of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. The alliance was founded in 1991 with the goal of creating a paved, 3,000-mile path for bikers, walkers, runners and other non-motorized travelers spanning the East Coast, from Key West, Fla., to Calais, Maine, on the Canada border. Markatos-Soriano, who grew up in Pittsboro and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2001, was appointed executive director of the alliance in August. We caught up with Dennis at the ECGA’s Rhode Island headquarters to get an update on the trail and hear what his plans are for its future. read more

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