Much as I love snow, and we’ve had more than our share so far this season, the attendant cold and gray that often accompanies it gets old after a while. I can’t do anything about the cold, rather than bundle up. But there is a place or two where I can battle the gray. One of which is the Little Creek Trail at Raven Rock State Park near Lillington.
Resolve to be more active in 2011 by checking out one of these three events this weekend.
Frankly, I can’t think of a better way to get the juices flowing the second week of January than on a hike, a mountain hike. A 9.8-mile mountain hike that gains 2,000 feet of total elevation, flirts with an elevation of one mile, takes in frozen waterfalls and promises great winter views in the Shining Rock area. That’s what the Carolina Mountain Club has in mind for this Sunday when it takes on the Seniard Ridge Loop in the Pisgah National Forest west of Asheville in the Looking Glass Falls area. Because of the potentially dicey footing, trekking poles and YakTrax (or a similar traction device) are recommended.
For me — and thousands of others in North Carolina — it’s as much a New Year’s Day tradition as black-eye peas and college football: the New Year’s Day hike. Make it a tradition for yourself as well, whether it’s to shake out the cobwebs from ushering 2010 out the door or, on a more progressive note, to get your year off to a healthy start. A walk through the woods can’t help but put you in a good frame of mind for the year ahead.
I’ve been following the schizophrenic Christmas weather forecasts as closely as anyone. In part, because I love a white Christmas and haven’t seen one since the Denver blizzard of ’82. I’m also keeping a close watch to see whether I should dig out the cross-country skis (in the event of 6 inches or more), the sled (a minimum of 3 inches), or the hiking boots (a photogenic dusting).
I was … envious?
Envious of Alan’s 13-hour nights in the tent? Envious of the 10-degree nights? Envious of having to crawl out of a warm bag at 4 a.m. for the inevitable commune with nature that goes with calling it a night at 6 p.m.?
Alan had just gotten back from six days on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Six days that saw the first cold of the season descend, bringing with it those 10-degree nights and daytime highs in the 20s. Six days with snow, a foot on the trail in places, drifts of up to two-and-a-half feet. Six rare days of bona fide winter backpacking, Southern style. His trip had the added cache of accompanying a thru-hiker down the homestretch. His buddy Rich — a k a Orson Deep Waters — was concluding his conquest of the AT (a conquest interrupted once to cut Christmas trees in Avery County in November, once to go to Belgium for the world punkin‘ chunkin‘ championship). Meanwhile, I spent the week here in Cary, sick, going three-on-one with the kids. An adventure in its own right.