Had great weather today hiking a 13.2-mile loop up Deep Creek in the Smokies, but by the time I got back to the car, a gauze of white clouds was forming, tipping off the next storm system moving into the region. Rain is expected to begin in the middle of the night and last into Thursday morning. That’s rain in Bryson City, elevation 1,752 feet. It occurred to me, with temperatures forecast in the upper 30s rising only to 50 down here, that atop 6,600-foot-plus Clingman’s Dome the situation could be significantly different. So I decided to put off that trip until the drier, so says the forecast, end of the week.
The key to continuing to enjoy an activity? Don’t intentionally put yourself in a position to dislike the activity.
I left Cary early this morning for a week of backpacking in the Smokies. In the throes of trying to wrap up a book on backcountry exploring in North Carolina, the trip was both pleasure and work – work under a rapidly approaching deadline. I was doubly motivated to hit the trail.
Initially, I planned to do these Hikes You Can Do through Thanksgiving. But since I’ve been pushing hiking and walking as a good way to stay fit and sane over the holidays, I’ve decided to extend them through year’s end. So what’s a Hike You Can Do? It’s not a long hike (though we may throw in a recommendation for going long), it’s not a strenuous hike (though there could be a hill-climb option as well). This week, the 4-mile loop trail at Jones Lake State Park.
Getting to the top of the mountain is great. Getting back down even better.
I realized that, again, today after finally conquering — after two unsuccessful tries — the Woody Ridge Trail in the Black Mountains, then starting back down the east-facing flank I’d come up. Coming up, pristine blue sky above, clouds in the distant distance. But when I headed back over the crest of the Black Mountains, the highest mountains east of South Dakota’s Black Hills, and emerged through a thick balsam fir forest onto a knob looking east —
One of the many things I like about taking a long ride, run or hike is that it purges my mind of life’s daily distractions — bills, deadlines, squirrels. The resulting void clears vital space for creative thinking, for random thoughts, ideas and whatnot to bubble up from the subconscious and get some air time. Usually, this is good thing. Sometimes it is not.