One of the goals of our monthly Winter Wild series, which takes hikers to the places they know, then takes them to off trail to the places they don’t, is to expose the hidden human history of where we explore. Sometimes that human history is maybe just 50 years distant. Sometimes, it’s more than 1,000. More often than not when you stumble upon an old foundation, a filling root cellar, or a long-abandoned roadbed, you’re left to speculate about their origins. On this Sunday’s Eno River Association Hike from the Few’s Ford Access, you’ll get a pretty complete story.
We visit the Wayback Machine this week to 2015 and the start, for us, of a classic adventure. At the time, we were introducing our series of Classic Escapes, weekend adventures that would take us deeper into the Southern Appalachians for longer, more challenging, and more rewarding hikes. We’ve been refining the Classics concept since, and shortly will unveil a new iteration of classics we call Hike Camp. We’ll share details in mid-March. Until then, we revisit the Classic hike that started it all, at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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.
February: such a great, yet under-appreciated, month to hike.
It’s still winter, and some of the best days of the season — the bluest of skies with bracing cold air — remain ahead. Yet it’s also a period of transition in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Yeah, it can be cold. But it’s also the month when temperatures begin warming enough to launch the earliest signs of spring: the spring peepers singing away in their vernal ponds, the trout lilies pushing through the leaf litter to add the first delicate splash of color to the stark winterscape.
We’re big fans of hiking at night. We love the intimacy of the dark woods, the increased sense of camaraderie with our fellow hikers, the mystery of what lies beyond the glow of our headlamp. That’s why we created our Tuesday Night Hikes series (our next hike is Tuesday, btw; details here), and also why we keep an eye out for night hikes to recommend.