I bolted upright, wide awake, at 4:45, 15 minutes before the alarm was scheduled to do its ugly business. In 10 minutes I was dressed, had my daypack packed, poured a mug of coffee and was ready to go. I wasn’t my usual morning self.
But then, on this morning I wasn’t going about my usual morning routine.
Judging from the weekend forecast, a blanket of wet and cool will cover much of North Carolina this weekend. Not what you hope for on the first full weekend of spring.
But lots of great weather is ahead, which should help soften the damp blow. And what better way to spend a rainy weekend day than planning for your next sun-drenched outing — and indulging in a vicarious escape in the process.
Wilderness areas shouldn’t be the private domain of only the most intrepid swashbuckling types who have no compunction about pushing through where the trail disappears, about fording waist-deep streams, about scrambling through rhododendron hells ever-so-deserving of the name. They shouldn’t be their private playground and they needn’t be. Provided you know how to get in the back door.
I’ve been following the schizophrenic Christmas weather forecasts as closely as anyone. In part, because I love a white Christmas and haven’t seen one since the Denver blizzard of ’82. I’m also keeping a close watch to see whether I should dig out the cross-country skis (in the event of 6 inches or more), the sled (a minimum of 3 inches), or the hiking boots (a photogenic dusting).