Category Archives: Adventure

The motivation to soar

C4-d-antoine-saint-exupery

There are many reasons why Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Wind, Sand and Stars” ranks No. 3 on National Geographic’s “The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time,” and comes in No. 1 on Outside magazine’s “25 Essential Books for the Well-Read Explorer.” Saint-Exupéry’s piloting skills in the early days of aviation, flying from France to North Africa to deliver the mail when maps were sketchy and the likes of electronic navigation non-existent, are exceeded only by his gift for conveying what he and his comrades endured.
Think you’ve had a great adventure? Ever had your engine conk out flying over the Pyrenees or landed in hostile country where the locals had killed two pilots a year before? “Wind, Sand and Stars” is filled with such adventures, adventures that would forever ground the vast majority of us. For Saint-Exupéry and his peers it was just another day at the office.
It’s the motivation of Saint-Exupéry and his kind that fascinates us. Early in “Wind”, he offers a glimpse that most of us can relate to, an explanation of why the risk was worthwhile. It comes as he rides an early morning shuttle to the airport with the office clerks and other desk-bound workers who know all too well the outcome of their workday — and the rest of their lives. read more

90 (-plus) Second Escape: Colorado Trippin’

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 or slide show 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. read more

90 Second Escape: Neighborhood Wilderness

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 or slide show 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. read more

Lake James: Emerging nexus of outdoor adventure

Hiking: Looking into Linville Gorge from atop Shortoff Mountain.

Scott Carpenter has a vision that may seem myopic at first. Hear him out, though, and your adventurous self can easily see what he’s talking about.

Carpenter’s vision is this: Lake James, the 6,800-acre lake currently best known as the gateway to other adventurous places (Linville Gorge, Wilson Creek, the Pisgah National Forest) is the next Nantahala Outdoor Center, an all-encompassing outdoor playground that’s day-tripable from North Carolina’s major population centers: Charlotte, the Triad, the Triangle.
Carpenter is Deputy County Manager and Planning Director for Burke County, in which Lake James and its associated state park reside. Burke County, like many mountain counties, is dealing with a changing economy that must figure out how to rely less on manufacturing and more on … .
“Tourism,” answers Carpenter.
The ultimate goal, says Carpenter, is to lure an NOC-type outfitter to the region to help exploit the local recreational resources. Chances are, if you see the Lake James exit on I-40 as little more than a sign that you’re almost to where the fun starts, you’re scratching your head: What can I do at Lake James that doesn’t read more

GetExploring! Greenville: discover down east

One of the first paddle trips I took east of I-95 after arriving in North Carolina in the early 1990s was to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. I’d driven past the 154,000-acre lowland several times on my way to the Outer Banks, but for some reason never thought to bring a boat. Then I saw that the refuge was leading weekly paddle trips, so I signed up. As we were paddling the expansive Milltail Creek east toward the Alligator River, someone in the group asked why we weren’t seeing the refuge’s namesake reptile.
The ranger leading the trip told us to raft up and watch the river bank to the south. The bank was dominated by three-foot-high reed grass and what appeared to be fallen logs in the water.
“Watch,” he instructed. We did, and before long we noticed that the logs were blinking.
I tell this story a lot when explaining the allure of exploring Eastern North Carolina. There is so much to see east of I-95, it sometimes just takes a little extra patience and perseverance. I’ve since embraced that approach in telling the adventurous story of Eastern North Carolina, a story that’s yet to be fully appreciated by a larger audience.
We hope to change that in the months and years ahead. One way is by teaming with our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Greenville to form GetExploring! Greenville.
Our goal is two-fold: read more