The signs of re-emergence continue this weekend, with North Carolina State Parks hosting some of the more ambitious — and larger hikes — that they’ve done since the pandemic, including:
3 Parks — 2 States — 1 Hike, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Crowders Mountain State Park/Boulders Access, Kings Mountain. This 10-mile out-and-back, co-sponsored by the Friends of Crowders Mountain, takes the Ridgeline Trail south into South Carolina’s Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park. A long hike, but it flattens after crossing into the Palmetto State. The hike is limited to 30 (been a while since we’ve seen a hike that big), and drinks and snacks will be available through the Friends prior to the hike. Free, but a donation to support the work of the Friends would be appreciated. Register by calling 704.853.5375; learn more here.read more
Some of our favorite North Carolina State Park hikes are this weekend, a weekend that will be on the cool side throughout the state. We start with two coastal favorites:
Carnivorous Plant Hike, Saturday, 10 a.m., Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. The perfect hike for someone you’d like to get more involved in the outdoors. The trail, the Flytrap Trail, is short, just a half mile. It’s flat and easy to navigate (it’s wheelchair accessible), and it features a natural wonder, the carnivorous plants — including the Venus flytrap — that are unique to the region. A ranger leads the way and shares the stories of these curious plants. Masks are required, space is limited: reserve a spot by calling 910.458.8206. More info here.read more
Do you know what Tuesday (February 2, so you don’t run off searching for a calendar) was?
Imbolc, the pagan observance that celebrates the midpoint of winter and thus, the beginning of the official watch for spring.
We celebrated by hiking along the Eno in search of early signs of the season. To us, that generally means sighting the first spring wildflower — the spring beauty or trout lily — maybe hearing the first spring peeper. With temperatures content to not rise out of the 40s for much of January, it was a search, we were sure, was in vain.read more
On today’s Morning Walk with Joe (Facebook Live, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8) I talked about being on the cusp of the spring wildflower season. About how last year at this time we were in the midst of the January thaw, with temperatures in the upper 60s under sunny skies, and how that prompted an early debut of the spring beauty and trout lily, in my mind the true first responders of spring. Others may emerge earlier — certain asters and chickweed — but really, it’s the appearance of the spring beauty and trout lily that let you exhale and realize that spring is just around the bend.read more
Our favorite place in Eno River State Park is likely a place you haven’t been, let alone heard of. Rocky Creek has a short run in the park, running for not much more than two or three miles through an area devoid of trails called the Eno Wilderness. Most maps show it as a broken blue line — an intermittent waterway. When it’s running, though, Rocky Creek a sight as it works its way through a beech forest that’s tight in spots, widening just enough in others to accommodate a narrow bottomland forest. As its name implies, it carves its way rough and tumble through rocky terrain.read more