After paying weekly visits to Seven Mile Creek Natural Area west of Hillsborough for eight months, last week I finally had the chance to share this find with other hikers. They were equally impressed.
It was the first of our weekly GetHiking Sunrise, Sunset Summer Beat the Heat Hikes, and it lived up to the hype. Thunderstorms that had been threatening to flare throughout the afternoon vanished by hike time (7 p.m.) and we were treated to the late day light that’s special to the season. As the light faded, over rocky Seven Mile Creek and the surrounding low hills, we could feel it taking the temperature with it. We weren’t exactly chilled by hike’s end — the temperature was 89 less than an hour before the hike — but between the sheltering canopy above and a 7-degree drop by hikes end, we were no longer melting into our boots. You can see a video of that hike last Wednesday on Friday’s post.read more
Few places do as good a job of quickly escorting you from civilization as the 189-acre Knight Brown Nature Preserve. Take the Beechwood Bottom Loop Trail from the trailhead and hike clockwise, and you quickly descend to Belews Creek.(As soon as you reach the creek, look across, to the north, for a cascade tumbling down the far slope.)Large sections of three trails run along the creek, which has forged a surprisingly deep valley: in just over a tenth of a mile, the terrain rises 80 vertical feet above the creek. The east-facing slope probed by the Leatherwood Loop Trail has some understory growth, but for the most part, the high canopy provides a protective roof above open terrain below. Nice in summer because it blocks out the sun but not the downslope breezes, nice in winter because the leafy canopy disappears letting the sun’s warming rays penetrate. Belews Creek, which runs west, then north through the preserve, offers rocky relief, spilling over car-size boulders in spots, before mellowing out on its journey to the Dan River.read more
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.read more
Over the past couple of weeks, our GetHiking! groups in North Carolina and Virginia have resumed group hikes — group hikes that look a little different than they did the beginning of the year.
“As stay-at-home orders started to relax some in the past few weeks, we have started posting some hikes again,” says Pepper Ernest, hike leader for GetHiking! Charlottesville. “I led my first hike (very small group) today and several other hike leaders have posted and led hikes over the past week.”read more