When I moved to the Raleigh area at the beginning of 1992, I spent a lot of time at Umstead State Park. It was a 10-minute drive, you could hike and mountain bike, and, lucky me, I happened to live on what I considered to be the most interesting side of the park, the Reedy Creek side, off I-40. Access to the mountain bike/equestrian trails was easier, you could pick up two long trails from the parking lot, even the physical facilities — the picnic shelters, the restrooms — seemed more inviting.
It was cold this week, but it will be welcomingly warm this weekend, so promises the forecast. And that could spell trouble in a world where people are increasingly inclined to head outdoors to try and escape the pandemic.
So instead of making specific recommendations on where to go this warm late-fall weekend, we are instead going to pass along some advice from our book, “Explore Your Neighborhood: A Guide to Discovering the World Immediately Around You.” Specifically, advice on how to find and take an adventure out your front door, one that may not even involve getting in your car!
If ever there was a winter to get over your dislike of the cold, this is it.
Without dwelling, cold weather historically drives people indoors, and, this year, indoors is where you have a significantly greater chance of contracting the coronavirus. The advance of fall is already seeing a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in North Carolina and nationwide. In response, on Tuesday North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper dialed back the cap on indoor group gatherings to 10 people. Staying indoors is trouble, especially if you like people.
Face it: you miss your coworkers. Sure, Bob in the next cube could drive you nuts with his frequent “Got a minute?”s. The chronic tongue-clucker near the copy machine, the dude
overmedicating on Creed Aventus, the fantasy football guys, the never knowing when Ms. Dithers might drop by “just to say hello.”
This weekend, we were able to conclude our Spring GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking class, with a graduation weekend at South Mountains State Park. Originally scheduled for the end of March, this pandemic-delayed trip was one we were especially interested in, as a way to gauge whether we might be able offer small-batch backpacking trips. In short, could we enforce physical distancing to the point we would feel safe moving ahead.