How do you follow an event like Year of the Trail?
You don’t. But you do build on it.
The just-passed Year of the Trail was intended to promote North Carolina’s vast trail system. Hiking trails, sure, but paddling, biking and equestrian as well. Year of the Trail events were held in 94 of the state’s 100 counties, those events ranging from hour-long guided walks on local greenways to three-day festivals celebrating trails across the state. The ultimate sign of Year of the Trail’s success? When the concept was conceived by the state’s General Assembly in 2021, it included $29.15 million for trail development; in the budget passed this past fall, legislators allotted nearly twice that much for trail development in the next two years.read more
Now’s typically the time we start thinking about goals for the year ahead. We all do it. By and large, it’s a good thing. By and large, because sometimes we get locked into a particular way of thinking, a way that doesn’t always reflect our true wishes and dreams.read more
When I lead a hike, I like to know a little about the land we’ll be hiking. About the natural history, certainly. Sometimes, especially for a trail I haven’t done in a while or during a particular season, I’ll scout the trail with my PictureThis app, which does a remarkable job of IDing plants, and providing their story.read more
Back in January I got to thinking about where I haven’t been in too long and thus, where I would love to explore this summer.
I didn’t have to think long: the mountain portion of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Now, I hike the MST nearly every day, since I can pick it up a couple blocks from my front door in Hillsborough. And while I never tire of this stretch, nor of the other 120 miles I hike with some frequency through the Triangle, there’s something about the MST’s nearly 350-mile run through the mountains that’s especially enchanting — and diverse, capturing both the rugged beauty of the Southern Appalachians and its moments of intimate calm. Here’s a look at three favorite sections, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway.read more
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.read more