Category Archives: Hiking

14 hours, 35 minutes, 14 seconds: Use it all

Today is the longest day of the year.

OK, so technically, at 14 hours, 35 minutes and 14 seconds of daylight there’s only one second of daylight more than there was yesterday and three more than there will be tomorrow. And we won’t be seeing appreciable changes in the length of day until late August. But spiritually, emotionally, physically, it’s important to know that today you have 14 hours, 35 minutes and 14 seconds of daylight (or 15 hours, 35 minutes and 14 seconds if you count civil twilight) to work with.  Taking full advantage of that 14 hours, 35 minutes and 14 seconds, you could, conceivably: read more

Lower Haw River: A walk on the wild side


Usually when you think of taking an escape into the wild, you assume a long drive to an obscure trail that navigates rugged terrain, frequently loses its way through dense undergrowth, involves waist-deep stream crossings and surprises you with wild critters at every opportunity. With the Lower Haw River Trail, located on the outskirts of the booming Triangle, you get all of that without the long drive. read more

Short hikes on a long road

Marcy and I weren’t looking for a marathon hike (we’d done that a couple weeks earlier, to mixed reviews) and that made the Blue Ridge Parkway a perfect destination. This linear National Park that links the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddling the North Carolina/Tennessee line, is best known for the 469-mile two-lane road that takes motorists through some of the Southern Appalachians most stellar scenery. But you’ll find more than 100 hiking trails along the way, the vast majority of which do not fall into the marathon category. read more

Reminder: Saturday is National Trails Day

I’m back to remind you that Saturday is National Trails Day, a day when we celebrate the more than 200,000 miles of trail that help us escape the oppressive monotony of day-to-day existence and recoup our souls.
OK, maybe that’s a little strong.
But trails do play a vital role in our physical and mental well being. So in honor of National Trails Day, pay a visit to your local trail. You can either give something back (in the form of a workday) or you can celebrate their existence. And while you’re at it, celebrate the essential role that you, the people, play in blazing and maintaining the nation’s trails. To wit, another account of the vital part volunteers play in our trails, this one in regard to the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest.
“You ask about the vital roll volunteers played in the trail,” says Sue Huntsman. “There wouldn’t be a trail without them!  The Carteret County Wildlife Club — specifically my husband Gene Huntsman — conceived of the trail in 1970. With the advice of the USFS district ranger Ed Grushinski, the trail’s 22-mile course was determined.  For the next decade, the members of the club donated untold hundreds of man-hours, blood and sweat roughing out the trail’s path in sections then connecting and refining the sections.  Finally, (and still on-going) boardwalks and bridges were built to protect wetlands and ease hikers’ passage.”
While the U.S. Forest Service now does most maintenance on the Neusiok, the club continues to improve the trail, building additional boardwalks in perpetually wet areas, as well as shelters and fire pits for backpackers. In addition, the club remains busy building another trail in the Croatan, the Weetock, and also built a third trail, the two-mile Sea-Gate Woods trail for the Coastal Land Trust. All this from a club whose membership is largely over 55 years old.
The Carteret County Wildlife Club plans to celebrate National Trails Day on Sunday with a cookout Sunday afternoon. Show up between noon and 4 p.m. to hike, paddle the Neuse, fish or whatever (“The afternoon activities are unstructured,” advises Huntsman), the cookout commences at 5 p.m. (bring a side dish, barbeque will be provided).
For a rundown of other National Trails Day events, check out the GGNC post from last Thursday. In addition, Tim Lee with TORC fills us in on this late-breaking NTD event at the growing Briar Chapel trail network south of Chapel Hill.
NTD @ BC
The skinny:
10 a.m.-noon — Guided mountain bike rides (RSVP required at site below).
12:30pm — Free lunch, including Carolina-style BBQ with burgers, hot dogs, drinks, more.
1-4 p.m. — Party.
More info here. read more

Support your local trail this National Trails Day

If you’ve ever hiked at Crowders Mountain State Park, you may have encountered a challenge or two — tripped over a tree root or scrambled over a rock face. But it’s a good bet you haven’t come across trash or lost your way because the trail wasn’t well maintained. To a large extent, you have your peers to thank for that. Peers such as the ones who will gather June 5 as part of National Trails Day to make sure Crowders Mountain’s trails remain challenging and invigorating, yet safe and fun. read more