One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time.
You know spring has sprung when North Carolina State Parks has 17 programs scheduled for for the weekend.
Because there’s such variety on tap, we thought we’d simply list the program name, location and time. If you’re intrigued, click on the link and learn more.
That’s what we’re about here at GetGoingNC.com: our guided hikes are intended to introduce you to new trails you can hike on your own, our classes give you the skills to confidently hike and backpack independently, and our trail guides, books and tutorials are likewise intended to activate and inform the explorer within.
All right, folks, time for another round of weekend weather roulette when we spin the weather wheel and see which day will be more conducive to spending time outdoors. And the winner is … Sunday!
Saturday doesn’t look half bad, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. However, the wind is expected to kick up in the afternoon, with a steady blow of 15-20 mph winds out of the southwest, with gusts up to 35! That’s especially problematic if you worry about dead wood showering down upon you from the canopy.
Welcome to the last weekend of winter — and the first weekend of spring!
Curiously, the winter end of the weekend, Saturday, has more of a springlike forecast (temperatures in the mid 70s, chance of rain), while Sunday is looking more late winter, with a high around 60 under crisp skies. That said, here’s a bit of what’s going on: