If fall is nature at its showiest, winter is nature at its most honest. Minus her canopy, her understory, her ground cover, she has little to hide. Stone foundations from homesteads long abandoned lie exposed. Distant mountaintops are revealed. Critters have nowhere to hide. It’s the perfect time to be in the woods, a time when you can peer deep into nature’s soul. Especially if you seek a more true form of adventure — the type of adventure that doesn’t exist on a blazed trail marked on a map. That’s why we go wild over winter.
Wednesday Wisdom? That may be a stretch (though it is alliterative). Every Wednesday we share our thoughts in rotating subject areas: gear, social media, hiking/backpacking/camping resources, and tips from the field. These items are culled from our weekly GetHiking! enewsletter, which also includes news and information on hikes and backpack trips in our GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! universes. Subscribe to our weekly enewsletter here.
Our favorite place in Eno River State Park is likely a place you haven’t been, let alone heard of. Rocky Creek has a short run in the park, running for not much more than two or three miles through an area devoid of trails called the Eno Wilderness. Most maps show it as a broken blue line — an intermittent waterway. When it’s running, though, Rocky Creek a sight as it works its way through a beech forest that’s tight in spots, widening just enough in others to accommodate a narrow bottomland forest. As its name implies, it carves its way rough and tumble through rocky terrain.
The following post originally appeared Dec. 12, 2016. We rerun it today, with a tweak or two, because it expresses our appreciation of the season that lies ahead.
Winter’s skies are milky, indifferent. Its landscape monochromatic, a wash of grays and browns. Its weather harsh at times. And Lord knows the season is stingy with sunlight. The stuff of travel & tourism ad campaigns winter is not.
With cooler temperatures elevating the risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to spend time outdoors. This winter, we’re providing more options than ever to help you do just that. We have six programs designed to address every level of outdoor enthusiast, from the backcountry explorer who’s comfortable going off the grid, to the aspiring hiker yet to set foot on a natural surface trail. We’ll start with the latter: