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The Uwharries, and other forgotten mountains

“These mountains are killing me.” I was glad to hear my new trail friend echo my thoughts. Glad as well to hear him refer to the Uwharries as “these mountains.” The Uwharries are typically referred to as mountains, though the “mountains” part is often uttered with an implied snicker. As in, They may be mountains in name, but they certainly aren’t the Appalachians. And they aren’t. But they are surprisingly…

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Your weekend: More seasonable, more options 

The snow and bitter cold are gone. Time to get back out and explore! Coast | Coastal Plain There’s something extra special about the Coastal Plain in winter. The still air, the open views, the absence of flying biting things. All of which makes it a great time for a hike, to learn, perhaps about the phenomenon known as Carolina Bays. What are Carolina Bays? you inquire. Sorry, you’ll have…

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The RDU Solution: Let’s think big

Several years ago, when Keith Nealson was a ranger at Umstead State Park, I nearly had him talked into a canoe trip down Crabtree Creek through the park. Alas, he transferred (he’s now the superintendent of Eno River State Park) and the trip never advanced beyond talk. But the idea has lingered. It’s come to the fore of late with talk of creating a Trails Center on about 600 acres…

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Searching for the ‘ideal place, the right place’

I don’t recall where I was headed, but this wasn’t it. I was on a road I was somewhat familiar with. Then I took a right, onto a dirt road and thought I might wings it. That rarely works out, and soon it was clear it wouldn’t this time, either. This was long before Siri, long before the government made its global positioning system useful to civilians. I was on…

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Your weekend: Frightful? Delightful! 

Answer the following: The weather forecast for this weekend is: a) Frightful b) Delightful If you answered a), then you’ve already resigned yourself to spending the weekend indoors. Here’s a list of good books. If you answered b), stick with us as we depart from our usual format, which is to recommend planned outdoor activities scheduled for the weekend. Organized bike rides, hikes, runs, that kind of thing. Odds are…

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The One Thing

“The one thing,” Curly tells Mitch, displaying his black-gloved index finger. “Just one thing.” “That’s great,” says Mitch. “But what’s the one thing?” “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.” The mystery of  “the one thing” is what drove “City Slickers,” the 1991 comedy about three New Yorkers taking a dude ranch vacation to find the answer to life’s most persistent question: What is the meaning of life? The answer…

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7 Tips for a Better 2017

The following originally appeared on Jan. 5, 2011. It reappears today, tweaked and updated. Move more and eat better in 2017 using these seven simple strategies: 1. Mix it up. The big trend in fitness isn’t one thing, it’s everything. Avoid drudgery, avoid stressing the same muscles and work your entire body by doing a variety of workouts. “Incorporating several different forms of exercise in a training program can be an excellent…

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Avoid the Adventure Blues in 2017: Get an Adventure Coach

The following originally ran a year ago today. It reappears today, tweaked and updated. It’s an all-too-familiar lament this time of year: I meant to get out more, be more adventurous. I don’t know what happened … You look back on the camping weekend that instead turned into a garage-cleaning weekend, the paddle trip that wasn’t because the water wasn’t just right. The hike that, as the day neared, you didn’t feel…

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In 2017, don’t just set a goal, set the ‘right’ goal

The following originally ran on Jan. 1, 2012. We rerun it today with minor tweaks. “You know,” Chris said, “there aren’t too many people who could do this.” After catching his breath, he added, “And I don’t mean people our age. I mean people, period.” We were on day three of a four-day, 50-mile backpack trip on a particularly rugged region of the rugged Nantahala National Forest in western North…

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An active 2017 starts on Day One

We like to ward off the beginning of the work-week blues with thoughts about life on the outside. It’s only one day. But it’s a day that can make a difference. Sunday is the first day of the new year. Dating back 4,000 years to the Babylonians, we’ve looked at the day as a time for renewal and rebirth. We vow to be better people, we pledge to take better…

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