Archive for the ‘Hiking’ category

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. Despite its urban…

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…

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…

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…

Taking the mystery out of a snake sighting

Wednesday, I was hiking along the North Prong of Shining Rock Creek, a lively mountain stream that plunges 2,200 feet in just three miles through a narrow, overgrown canyon. I was in a reveric trance, lulled in part by the rugged vegetation here in the Shining Rock Wilderness,  in part by the cloudless, 70-degree spring afternoon, when — Whoa! I like snakes, but their sudden appearance four feet away causes…

Let Mother Earth move you this weekend

While fitness and health experts would like you to get an hour’s exercise a day, they’ll tell you that, above all, the key thing is to just move. With that in mind, here are a number of Earth Day “just move” events this weekend. (Yes, technically Earth Day isn’t until Thursday. But Thursday doesn’t fall on a weekend, this Saturday and Sunday happen to.) Most involve a short hike, followed…

On the AT: Hiking through the thru-hikers

The backpacker looked up from his reverie, saw me and jumped. “Whoa! Didn’t see you there,” he said. Our paths converged a little after 9 Tuesday morning, on Section 9 of the Appalachian Trail midway between Rock Gap and Albert Mountain in western North Carolina. “Country,” as he soon identified himself, was why I was on this particular trail at this particular time headed this direction, south. The reason Country…

Check the weather (and sunset, too)

It’s a no-brainer, yet one we sometimes forget: Check the weather before going on an outdoor adventure. And, again it probably needn’t be said but I’ll say it anyway, check the weather for where you’re going, not where you are. There can be a huge difference between the two, especially during the transitional season of spring. I’m packing for three days on the Appalachian Trail near Franklin, which means one…

It’s Easter weekend — must we egg you on?

Things I might be doing this Easter weekend if my nose wasn’t running like a Delta Tau Chi keg from spring allergies. 1. Paddle at Merchant’s Millpond Merchant’s Millpond may be man made, but after 190 years the millpond has shed most signs of its civilized past. Today, the 760-acre millpond is much more coastal swamp than center of commerce. The pond’s dark, acidic waters meander through a forest of…

Let wildflowers put some spring in your step

Looking to jump-start — or simply start — a hiking program? There’s no better time than now, the start of spring. Temperatures are on the rise, there’s more daylight and choose your trails wisely and there can be a whole lot to see. After a brief delay thanks to an unusually cold winter, the spring wildflower display is on. One of the first signs of warmer weather and longer daylight…