My reintroduction to backpacking, after a nearly 20-year hiatus, was in 1995. I signed up for a weekend immersion course through Smithfield Parks and Rec. We left Saturday morning, hiked and camped the Birkhead Wilderness node of the Uwharrie National Forest, hiked out Sunday. It was a crash course, and at the time I figured it taught me 90 percent of what I needed to know about backpacking. More than 20 years later, I still chuckle at the thought. Naive me. Backpacking is an adventure in lifelong learning.
Labor Day weekend: spiritually, what more incentive do you need to get out and explore? To wit, some quick recommendations for weekend fun:
Vade Mecum Trails Open, Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. The first weekend of every month, Hanging Rock and the Friends of Sauartown Mountains open the trail network at the park’s Vade Mecum addition. The 716-acre former Camp Sertoma 4-H Educational Center, with miles of trail, was added to the park in 2014. Learn more and sign up here.
In summer, I fantasize about layering up, topping it all with a shell and hiking in the cold and, if the planets are truly in line, snow. Rarely in winter do I fantasize about hiking in summer, an activity that can quickly be confused with swimming.
I’ve heard grumbling the past couple days about the weekend forecast, which, yes, includes the highly-un-April-like possibility of snow.
Have you seen the weekend forecast? Highs in the 60s, sunny skies. Spring, finally.
We’re going to be hiking at Little River Regional Park on the Durham/Orange line Saturday morning, then visiting Harris Lake County Park for a loop around the Peninsula Trail Sunday afternoon. After a week of temperatures nearing 80, the wildflowers should be in especially good form.
Grr, another creek crossing, or Yippee! Another creek crossing!
Thinking recently about the difference between a good experience and a not-so-good experience, I was reminded of a scouting trip I’d taken in December 2009. Here’s a brief reflection from that trip that originally appeared around the same time.