Mel writes: “I am the Hiking Merit Badge coordinator for Troop 395 in Raleigh and we are looking to put together our hiking itinerary over the next 12 months. As you may know, to earn this MB the Boy Scouts have to do five 10+ miles hikes and one 20+ mile hike.”
Throughout much of North Carolina, the forecast through New Year’s Day couldn’t be much better for one thing.
Taking a hike.
In the Triangle, for instance, we’re looking at daytime highs in the mid- to upper 40s and sunny to partly sunny skies through New Year’s Day. Good timing since most of you likely have some time off over this same time period. Since the weather today is universally ugly and thus ideal for planning, we offer 10 hikes especially well-suited for this time of year. Look ‘em over, consult the listed sources for additional information. If nothing tickles your hiking fancy, head over to our sister site, NCHikes.com, for more options.
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).
I’m back to remind you that Saturday is National Trails Day, a day when we celebrate the more than 200,000 miles of trail that help us escape the oppressive monotony of day-to-day existence and recoup our souls.
OK, maybe that’s a little strong.
But trails do play a vital role in our physical and mental well being. So in honor of National Trails Day, pay a visit to your local trail. You can either give something back (in the form of a workday) or you can celebrate their existence. And while you’re at it, celebrate the essential role that you, the people, play in blazing and maintaining the nation’s trails. To wit, another account of the vital part volunteers play in our trails, this one in regard to the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest.
“You ask about the vital roll volunteers played in the trail,” says Sue Huntsman. “There wouldn’t be a trail without them! The Carteret County Wildlife Club — specifically my husband Gene Huntsman — conceived of the trail in 1970. With the advice of the USFS district ranger Ed Grushinski, the trail’s 22-mile course was determined. For the next decade, the members of the club donated untold hundreds of man-hours, blood and sweat roughing out the trail’s path in sections then connecting and refining the sections. Finally, (and still on-going) boardwalks and bridges were built to protect wetlands and ease hikers’ passage.”
While the U.S. Forest Service now does most maintenance on the Neusiok, the club continues to improve the trail, building additional boardwalks in perpetually wet areas, as well as shelters and fire pits for backpackers. In addition, the club remains busy building another trail in the Croatan, the Weetock, and also built a third trail, the two-mile Sea-Gate Woods trail for the Coastal Land Trust. All this from a club whose membership is largely over 55 years old.
The Carteret County Wildlife Club plans to celebrate National Trails Day on Sunday with a cookout Sunday afternoon. Show up between noon and 4 p.m. to hike, paddle the Neuse, fish or whatever (“The afternoon activities are unstructured,” advises Huntsman), the cookout commences at 5 p.m. (bring a side dish, barbeque will be provided).
For a rundown of other National Trails Day events, check out the GGNC post from last Thursday. In addition, Tim Lee with TORC fills us in on this late-breaking NTD event at the growing Briar Chapel trail network south of Chapel Hill.
NTD @ BC
10 a.m.-noon — Guided mountain bike rides (RSVP required at site below).
12:30pm — Free lunch, including Carolina-style BBQ with burgers, hot dogs, drinks, more.
1-4 p.m. — Party.
More info here.