While most of you are staring down Day 3 of your 2012 New Year’s resolutions, I find myself with less than five months to go on my annual birthday resolutions. Make that “first” annual birthday resolutions: When I turned 55 last May 11 I got to Googling and discovered that 55 is a somewhat pivital year for a male. Among other things, our muscles and organs begin to atrophy; we shrink, on average, 0.4 inches a year; we dehydrate more easily; our joints stiffen … . Suffice it to say that on May 11 of last year I didn’t feel I could wait seven months to set some goals, so I set 10 immediately. All with a theme of 55.
This weekend’s offerings are proof that adventure in North Carolina knows no seasons.
Every once in a while, the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge opens its roads allowing the public in to better explore this 8,219-acre refuge in Currituck County. To explore its low-lying freshwater and brackish marshes, it’s upland and lowland eastern pine hardwood forests. And this time of year, to be treated to a variety of migrating waterfowl (including snow geese and Canada geese) in addition to year-round residents such as the bald eagle and osprey.
New trail opens along the Eno River, there’s a hike on some of the state’s highest trail and there’s a run on battleships at the coast.
We don’t normally recommend ribbon cuttings, but when that ribbon cutting is part of a chance to hike 1.5 miles of virgin Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which connects with another 8 miles of what might be the sweetest hiking on the Eno River — coupled with what’s forecast to be a lovely fall weekend — well, we’ll make an exception.
Judging from the weekend forecast, a blanket of wet and cool will cover much of North Carolina this weekend. Not what you hope for on the first full weekend of spring.
But lots of great weather is ahead, which should help soften the damp blow. And what better way to spend a rainy weekend day than planning for your next sun-drenched outing — and indulging in a vicarious escape in the process.
I was … envious?
Envious of Alan’s 13-hour nights in the tent? Envious of the 10-degree nights? Envious of having to crawl out of a warm bag at 4 a.m. for the inevitable commune with nature that goes with calling it a night at 6 p.m.?
Alan had just gotten back from six days on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Six days that saw the first cold of the season descend, bringing with it those 10-degree nights and daytime highs in the 20s. Six days with snow, a foot on the trail in places, drifts of up to two-and-a-half feet. Six rare days of bona fide winter backpacking, Southern style. His trip had the added cache of accompanying a thru-hiker down the homestretch. His buddy Rich — a k a Orson Deep Waters — was concluding his conquest of the AT (a conquest interrupted once to cut Christmas trees in Avery County in November, once to go to Belgium for the world punkin‘ chunkin‘ championship). Meanwhile, I spent the week here in Cary, sick, going three-on-one with the kids. An adventure in its own right.