One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time.
Will it snow again this weekend? It looked likely at the beginning of the week, less likely as of today. So let’s go with the latest forecast, which calls for a mostly sunny weekend throughout the central Piedmont, with high temperatures in the low 40s. It’s a change in forecast that I’m sure the Triangle Land Conservancy is glad to see since it’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time for their First Saturday Hike, of which there are two this month.
The holidays are upon us — and so, too, are our holiday visitors.
You’re eager to show your visiting friends and family why you love living in the region: the outdoor opportunities that make this such a wonderful place to explore. You also don’t want to alienate your guests — or worse, harm them! — by taking them on an outing beyond their capabilities. Fortunately, you can do the former while avoiding the latter with the 10 hikes below, hikes that offer considerable esthetic bang for minimal physical exertion.
It was still on the murky side of sun-up when we gathered this morning for our weekly GetHiking! Friday Morning Hike. As we fine-tuned our clothing strategies for dealing with the cold — at 30 degrees, the coldest morning since April — we scanned the eastern sky for signs of the type of day ahead. Gradually, the rising sun revealed a mostly clear sky as it lit the autumn canopy above.
Who wants to wait until Saturday to kick off the weekend? Especially when you have the option for a Friday Morning Hike.
We launch our new GetHiking! Fall Friday Morning Hike Series a week from today (Sept. 10), with a 4-mile hike on the Cox Mountain Trail at Eno River State Trail — the very same trail that we hiked this morning — in long sleeves and a vest, which one does when the temperature is just 48 degrees! That’s a good omen for our 8-week series, which gives you a jump on the weekend without playing hooky (the hikes start at 7:30 a.m., we’re done by 9).