We came to a stop in the narrow clearing accommodating a power line and switched off our headlamps. We’d reached the turnaround point for our weekly Tuesday Night Hike, and as was our habit, we went dark for several minutes. The sun was long gone, having set two hours earlier, and the moon was just starting to think about cresting the eastern horizon. It was dark, really dark, and it took our eyes a minute to adjust. Our psyches, too.
I was putting together a curriculum for a new hiker in our Adventure Coaching program and realized that some of what she needed to know was especially pertinent to this time of year. Today, I share some of those tips that will be especially helpful, hopefully, going into winter.
I like to think we take away something every time we hike. Something as spirit lifting as the first spring wildflower to something as simple as the quiet or a conversation with your hiking partner.
Every once in a while, though, comes a hike that will be remembered because there’s a good chance you won’t see another one like it. Sunday was one of those hikes.
In early December, we’re doing a GetBackpacking! trip on the 21-mile Neusiok Trail. It’s a two-nighter, with a 2-mile hike in Friday evening, 8 miles Saturday, an 11-mile hike out Sunday. Pretty good distances for a backpack trip.
It also makes for a great day hike — a great long day hike.
My favorite time to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway?
When it’s closed.
As of Thursday, 81.8 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina are closed because of wintery weather conditions. (With few exceptions, the entire 469.1-mile parkway isn’t plowed during the winter. When it snows or the road ices over, the road stays closed until the snow or ice melts.) When those sections are closed to automotive traffic they become some of North Carolina’s best outdoor playgrounds.