Let March know you’ve been waiting for it with a big outdoor welcome this weekend. Paddle the month in at the coast, greet it from on high in the Piedmont, or acknowledge its arrival with a classic hike on the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs.
Mel writes: “I am the Hiking Merit Badge coordinator for Troop 395 in Raleigh and we are looking to put together our hiking itinerary over the next 12 months. As you may know, to earn this MB the Boy Scouts have to do five 10+ miles hikes and one 20+ mile hike.”
The pending changing of the seasonal guard is evident this weekend. At the coast we have a sweaty 5K that ends with a bracing dip in the brisk Atlantic Ocean; in the Piedmont, the Eno River Association’s weekly Winter Hike Series is drawing to a close; and in the mountains there’s the opportunity to hike in snow — in 50-degree temperatures.
Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb.
Here’s the weekend dilemma: you want to get out and experience the snow, but will you be able to get there? And once you get there, can you even get in?
If your destination is Mount Mitchell State Park, the Shining Rock/Middle Prong wilderness areas, or anywhere else along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the answer to the first question is probably not. The entire Parkway, all 469 miles, is essentially closed, mostly due to snow and ice, in parts because of construction. (For the latest BRP status, go here.)