We live less than a half mile from Occoneechee State Natural Area in Hillsborough, and I either hike or run there a couple times a week. Though I generally like to mix things up on trail I do regularly — hiking clockwise one time, counterclockwise the next — I have the same routine at Occoneechee: I enter from the neighborhood entrance off Eno Mountain Road, then take the Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail, Overlook Trail and Chestnut Trail back to the Loop Trail, which brings me around the west side of the mountain to the Eno River for the hike’s highlight: a 75-yard stretch beneath a north-facing cliff that is perpetually green. Green with holly and ferns, which are common in these parts, but also with mountain laurel, with rhododendron, and even a narrow carpet of galax. For this brief stretch the trail leaves the Piedmont for the Southern Appalachians.
When Rod Broadbelt began leading hikes at Umstead State Park more than two decades ago, they were events not for the feint of foot. Rod had just retired to Cary, moving from the Philadelphia area where he was a member of a competitive hiking club.
Competitive hiking? you ask.
It’s a common challenge over the holidays: you have family and friends visiting from afar — now, what are you going to do with them?
Take them on an adventure! Or, rather, let us help you take them on an adventure!
We’ve got several outdoor adventures this holiday season that are ideal for getting everyone out of the house and showing off the region’s great outdoor attributes!
Seasonably civil weather, finally! With weekend temperatures forecast to go no higher than the mid-70s throughout much of the land, it’s the perfect weekend to get out and explore. (And who won’t want to celebrate the end of a crazy first week of October when the temperatures hit triple digits in areas!)
OK, so perhaps summer is overstaying its welcome. It’s still dry out, which means you have at least one more weekend to get out and savor the warm weather. Remember, in another couple months, you’ll be pining for its return.
National Public Lands Day, Saturday, nationwide. Saturday is National Public Lands Day, “the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands.” Related events are planned at five North Carolina State Parks (Crowders Mountain, Pilot Mountain, Lake Norman, Grandfather Mountain, Morrow Mountain); you can find specifics here. You can find additional events in the state by going to the National Environmental Education Foundation web site and clicking here.