Winter hikes in the mountains intimidate us. Not so much the hiking itself — who doesn’t love tromping through a forest carpeted with snow? Rather, it’s simply getting to the trailhead. The prospect of icy mountain roads, of road closures, of other drivers who don’t know how to drive on icy roads. Why run the risk?
Why get out and confront the elements, sleep on hard ground, eat dehydrated food, drink water filtered from a pond, forgo fancy $5 coffee in the morning and not bathe for days on end?
Because of weekends like this past weekend spent by our GetBackpacking! group at Linville Gorge. Because of the rare chance to see half of North Carolina’s high country on a brilliantly clear day. Because of the whip-poor-will, whose enchanting (if, after a while, annoying) call serenades you throughout the night. Because of the abundance of perfectly drawn wildflowers. Because of the full moon that envelopes your campsite with just enough light. Because everything and anything tastes great after hiking 18 miles. Because it’s a weekend you won’t soon forget.
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.