As Year of the Trail draws to a close, it should be a time of reflection. It should be, but it’s not, for there is work left to be done.
Work in the form of hikes.
One of the many objectives of Year of the Trail, as this year has been designated by the N.C. General Assembly, was to have a trail-related event in all 100 North Carolina counties. Going into this month, 91 counties had hosted Year of the Trail events. For those of us not gifted in mental math, that leaves 9 counties to go. All of which are in more remote, rural areas of the state. Since I was hired by the state last year primarily to promote Year of the Trail in rural counties under Gov. Cooper’s Hometown Strong initiative, I’ve taken it as my goal to make sure a Year of the Trail events gets done in those 9 remaining counties.read more
I remember where I was on the very first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970: Standing mid-thigh in central Pennsylvania’s Buffalo Creek, ostensibly taking measurements of stream flow but instead watching the very expensive stream-flow measuring device break its cable and disappear quickly downstream. I remember this more than a half century later because our usually mild-mannered science teacher, Mr. Morris, became wildly animated as he told just how expensive the device, which he’d borrowed, was.read more
My latest goal: Have a Pop-Tart instant coffee breakfast in the woods before work.
As goals go, it my not be the loftiest.
Or is it?
For a good 5 years this simple ambition has been on my to-do list. Yet it remains undone. Why?
Because until now I’ve simply viewed it as “a thing to do.” A thing I really want to do, but, in the pecking order of life, simply a thing to do; it never occurred to me to elevate it to “goal” status. Goals, after all, are things you work at: a million in sales through Q2, discovering a cure for the doldrums. Showing up for work on time. Goals usually take the form of resolutions you set on New Year’s Day, like fitting into your high school Speedo by Memorial Day. Having a processed pastry and Sanka while sitting on a tree stump isn’t exactly an achievement you’d include in the Christmas newsletter.read more
As part of Year of the Trail, the Great Trails State Coalition, the non-profit driving the observation, has designated themes for each month. Some themes aren’t necessarily tied to the month: August, for instance, has been “health and wellness” (as opposed to “sweating”). September is another matter. Its theme?read more
The first time I visited the mountains of northwest North Carolina was shortly after Elk Knob State Park opened two decades ago. Facilities were sparse, trail even more so. But there was an old roadbed that plowed straight up the south side of the mountain, to the 5,520-foot summit. The climb was ridiculously steep and a mile-long — the actual trail that soon replaced it takes twice as long to reach the top, from the same trailhead. But oh, the payoff. From the summit looking north is a 180-degree panorama that you could spend a day taking in.read more