Hike NC, the hiking program launched in the fall of 2016 by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, is back with 60 hikes this spring. This weekend, Earth Day weekend, the spring season kicks off with seven hikes. While many of those hikes are aimed at beginners — the goal of the program is to get more people moving and outdoors — there are several good reasons for more experienced hikers to check out those hikes as well.
The weather is finally turning springlike, which means that many of you are starting to think about the epic hikes you have planned for summer. Since nothing can torpedo an ambitious mountain hike quicker than legs that aren’t up for the hills, it’s time to start getting your gams ready for game day.
Weekend forecast: Saturday’s looking a little iffy in GetGoingNC land, but Sunday promises sunny skies and cool temps, ideal for a day of exploring the woods.
Today’s Friday Nudge offers takes from last weekend to encourage you to get out this weekend. If you’re interested in the places mentioned, click appropriately for more information: Little River Regional Park, Harris Lake County Park, Horton Grove Nature Preserve. For additional hiking opportunities, visit our GetHiking! page.
The first time I went to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest—a 3,800-acre tract— I was awe of the concentration of old growth trees along the 2-mile trail takes you through one of the last remaining virgin cove forests in the Southeast. Here grow behemoth yellow poplar, oak, basswood, beech and sycamore, some believed to be more than 400 years old. Put in perspective, some might have been saplings when Hernando De Soto and the first Europeans passed through. The massive canopy limits the amount of plant life below—thought it does make room for an impressive spring wildflower display of cohosh, trillium, crested iris and more—giving the forest an ethereal feel.
Last June, a Robbinsville grandmother and her 13-year-old granddaughter set out for a morning hike in the Snowbird Mountains of far western North Carolina. They got lost in the rugged terrain: their morning hike ended a day later when they were found by a Graham County search and rescue crew.