Temperatures are warming, skies are clearing, wildflowers are blooming and more people are getting the itch to hike. All of which means it’s time for our annual Spring Hike Leader Recruitment Drive. Not everyone is interested or inclined to lead a hike, but if you’ve ever given the notion a thought, there’s a good likelihood a hike leader lurks within. Today, one of our hike leaders — one I personally raised through our farm system — shares what led her to be a hike leader and what she enjoys about it. Kate Rice is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been leading hikes with us for two years. And, nepotism be danged, she’s also my stepdaughter.
To hike, or not to hike. That was the question Monday upon waking to see that not only were Sunday’s 11 inches of snow still on the ground, but Mother Nature was adding another two. The second hike in our Tuesday Night Hikes series was scheduled for the next evening, on a stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake; looking out the window, I wondered if we could pull if off.
Before I head down the trail with a batch of hikers, I do a bit of scouting. Even if I’ve hiked the trail before, the nature of things might have changed. If it’s a trail I hiked just last week, I might just scout the website to see if there’s been any flooding or tree falls. But if it’s been a while, and maybe in a different season, I’ll head on over to the trail and see for myself what’s new. Because, although it’s true that part of the delight of hiking is discovering new things, we don’t want to discover that a trail is impassable or there’s not enough space for overnight camping or there’s no water source for miles.