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?
This week, it’s all about Sunday, New Year’s Day, and First Day Hikes — and First Day Outings. The latter First, first.
On Sunday in North Carolina we enter Year of the Trail, as deemed by the State Legislature. All year, we will celebrate trails of every stripe: natural surface, paved surface, equestrian, hiker, mountain biker, trails of blue. Even our cultural trails. We’ll get into all this in January, but for now we focus on Sunday. And first, those Outings.
In the 30 years that I’ve been either telling people about places to explore, or actually taking them there, I’ve had a singular focus: the trails less traveled. My very first piece, written for the Travel section of The News & Observer in Raleigh in February 1992, was about Raven Rock State Park. Scouting trail there on a cold but brilliantly blue Sunday afternoon, I hiked to the park’s namesake, a bluff 150 feet above the Cape Fear River, and saw nary a soul. The quiet, the view … .