Today is a scouting day. Of my many tasks as a hiking guide, scouting the trail in advance is among my favorite. If I’m leading on a trail I haven’t hiked in a year or longer, I go out beforehand and hike it. I like to make sure the trail is passable, that a hurricane hasn’t laid a stand of trees across the trail, that recent rain hasn’t turned a key crossing into a Class III rapid, that—in the case of a National Forest—the trail hasn’t been closed for logging or another form of resource development. As a guide, I don’t like surprises when trying to get hikers from Point A to Point B safely.
Finally, some fall-like weather! The weather unpleasantness that blew through late in the week has been replaced by seasonable temperatures. Meaning if you head out for a hike early Saturday, you better be packing fleece — it could be in the upper 40s.
It’s been a toasty first week of October, but the forecast for the weekend calls for cooling and temperatures of a more seasonal nature. That said, some thoughts on how you can get out and enjoy an adventurous weekend.
- GetHiking! Triangle: 5 Miles on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, Durham. Saturday, 9 a.m. Record heat has kept fall color at bay, but it’s a good bet we’ll see some on this hike that includes ecosystems that tend to promote early color. One of the more remote stretches of the MST through the Triangle. Learn more and sign up here.
- Vade Mecum Trails Open, Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The first weekend of every month, this new section of Hanging Rock State Park opens its trails for hiking, taking you into remote parts of the Sauratown Range and past remnants of the area’s past as Camp Sertoma. Learn more here.
- Fall Hike Along Commissary Trail, Mount Mitchell State Park, Burnsville (sorta). 2 miles. Sunday, 10 a.m. A ranger-led hike on this trail just below the ridgeline of the Black Mountain Crest, the highest mountain range on the East Coast. Expect cold temperatures and good color at this elevation. Learn more here.
You can find more opportunities this weekend here:
Saturday, our Gethiking! Triangle crew will hike a 5-mile stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail north of Durham. Known as Day-Hike Section S, it’s one of our favorite stretches of the MST through the Triangle because of its ecological diversity: it spends time skirting edge forest, it sidles up to Falls Lake and a large farm pond, it passes through emerging hardwood forest and mature bottomland woods, it takes advantage of long abandoned farm roads.
We’re all wondering the same thing: are my favorite places to explore open post Hurricane Florence?
Here’s a look at what I’ve found for our upcoming GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! adventures. Hopefully, my sleuthing can help you in figuring out your own upcoming adventure plans.