A late spring day, temperature in the mid-50s under a cloudless sky, hiking down Yellowstone Prong east of Graveyard Fields along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was during that soft-focus, three-day flash that marks the transition from winter to spring, when the natural world is enveloped in pastel greens and yellows and pinks and oranges, the colors, I’ve heard, that the tress will revert to in fall. There was the slightest of breezes, just enough to make the budding trees whisper.
I stood atop the outcrop overlooking New Hope Creek this morning and was reminded of how much I liked this particular trail. Moments later, as I continued upstream through Duke Forest, I was reminded of why I‘d never included this hike in our GetHiking! Sunday hike series.
Saturday’s GetHiking! Winter Wild hike at the R. Wayne Bailey-Caswell Game Lands near Yancyville was cold, really cold. But the brilliant blue sky more than made up for the 28-degree temperature. If I had a nickel for every time someone on the hike said, “What a beautiful day!”, I’d have a dollar thirty-five. A little sun can make up for a lot of cold.
Game lands? Aren’t those for hunting and fishing?
They are. But they’re also for all kinds of exploring, including hiking. And that’s from someone who would like to see more folks hiking the state’s game lands: Brian McRae, Division Chief for Land and Water Access for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
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.