Category Archives: Hiking

I get lost so you don’t have to

My slogan as a guidebook writer: I get lost so you don’t have to.

Yet in the case of London Bald, there’s no guarantee that even my most meticulous directions, derived from wandering 20 miles in less than 24 hours with GPS and maps in hand, will spare you from a similar bushwhacking fate in the rugged Nantahala National Forest. For London Bald, like the 26-mile Appletree Camp trail network it’s a part of, is in a National Forest, and when you step foot on a National Forest trail, anything can happen. read more

Cool! Time to start hiking

About 12:30 I stepped outside for a quick run and —

Wow! I thought I was back in Colorado, from where I had returned the evening before with the itch to hike. There, the overnight lows were already dipping into the upper 40s, the daytime highs in the 70s. Coupled with the state’s trademark dry weather it was perfect hiking weather — much like what I felt when I stepped outside today around 12:30 for a run: High in the low 80s, light breeze, dry air … . read more

When mellow beats medal

Yesterday, I went for mellow instead of a medal.

Originally, during my quick visit to Colorado, my plan was to climb two of Colorado’s 52 14ers, 14,264-foot Mt. Evans and its little brother, 14,060-foot Mt. Bierstadt. A 10-mile loop connects the two from a trailhead at Guanella Pass. With a minimal total elevation gain of 3,900 feet (albeit all above 11,000 feet) it seemed a doable accomplishment for a flat lander in reasonable shape. Besides, I was looking for new conquests, new goals. Last Sunday I ran my first half marathon, in July I’d done my first mountain century ride. Adding a couple of 14,000-foot peaks to my summer resume would put me in the gold star category. read more

The peak of peer pressure

I’m going to Colorado next week to play. I wasn’t planning to play hard: some nice day hikes, a road ride or two. At least that was the plan until I started hearing about my friends’ recent epic adventures in the Centennial State.

My cycling compagno Alan Nechemias went to Colorado two weeks ago and did the 27-mile ride from Idaho Springs, elevation 7,600 feet, to the top of Mt. Evans, elevation 14,130 feet (that’s 6,530 feet of vertical climbing, for the subtraction challenged). Alan is a mountain goat: he’s been doing all the major Southeast mountain centuries — Assault on Mount Mitchell, Six Gaps, Blue Ridge Brutal, Blood, Sweat and Gears, to name a few — for the last 15 years. And while those rides all have 10,000-plus feet of vertical climbing, the ride up Mt. Evans started 916 feet below the highest finish of his Southeast rides (Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet). Alan lives in Chapel Hill, elevation 510 feet: to go from 510 feet to 7,600 feet, then climb another 6,530 feet on a bike and only get “a little light-headed at one point” boggles my hypoxic mind. read more