Category Archives: Hiking

The Weekend of Small Hikes

Collier Cove Nature Preserve

Sometimes it’s good to see what’s in your own backyard. While going all around the world is exciting, I know that I’m missing a lot of opportunities right here around Asheville.

This past Saturday, I was introduced to two small areas around Asheville.

I was invited to  talk about the Southern national parks and my book, Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South. Am I still marketing this book?” You may ask. No, but if a group asks me, I go.

Bev McD. of Carolina Mountain Club asked me to speak to her group, RossCraggen Woods – a private club with a few acres in Arden. But before my talk, Bev took me to see a view of Lake Julian, a Buncombe County Park and power plant. See the picture above.

Bev also showed me Collier Cove Nature Preserve, another county park. It only has 2.5 miles of trail, or so, with some elevation but it’s meant to be a full-day hike. I never would have seen this without Bev’s help. I always like to learn how the public acquired the land.

Buncombe County bought the 29 acres from the Collier Family  in 2012. They had already built  the trails on the property. Twenty-nine acres isn’t much but the land is steep, adding to the interest.

From Lunch Roks

Every bit of land here was owned by someone.

Sometimes the owners actually give the land to the public. Most of the times, the descendants sell the land, but not at market (read “development”) prices.

Sunday I met a small group from the Raleigh Camino group. They had come for a weekend of friendship, food and hiking with the Asheville Camino group.

Most had done the long Asheville Camino hike on Saturday, so they scheduled a five-mile hike to Lunch Rocks on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Raleigh Camino group

Only four hikers showed up because the rest were still recuperating from the 16-mile hike. But that was OK. The hike to Lunch Rocks, MST east of the Folk Art Center, was just the right length before the Raleigh group started out on their long drive.

I need to have a repertoire of short hikes, close to Asheville because they come in handy.

 

 

 

Storing my hiking stuff

I haven’t written a blog post for over a week because I haven’t been hiking. I’ve moved and  downsized from a house to an apartment.

No more garage or extra rooms. No laundry room with a large sink where I can rinse my boots.

Camping in the past

Where do I put all my hiking and camping stuff?

The minimalist websites that I’ve read don’t discuss hiking gear.

I’ve paired down my outdoor stuff as much as I’m willing to.

I’m down to one daypack, one trekking pack and one backpack. No more extra packs or water bottles for guests. They’re going to have to bring their own gear.

I kept a tiny stove and got rid of the leaky tent that I’ve had since Lenny and I backpacked the A.T. A sleeping bag and waffle pad take up most of the room on the closet floor. My two pairs of hiking boots (high tops and low tops) are on a floormat in another closet. The hiking poles hang from a hook like ornaments.

But all the tiny house gurus don’t say the obvious. If you get rid of equipment that takes up space, you’re giving up the activity as well.

I’m not ready to give up camping with Carolina Mountain Club or with my grandkids. The latter requires three sleeping bags, three pads and a large three-person tent. Plus a cooler, a pot and water kettle…

Hannah’s first camping trip

For the first time, I’ve rented a 5 foot by 5 foot storage unit, the smallest available. The camping stuff didn’t even cover the floor. Now a  storage unit is a very dangerous thing to have. Once you have one, you can keep putting other stuff in it. So far, I’m resisting the temptation.

I’m no longer saving my hiking uniform just for hiking.

I’ll wear my shorts and white polyester shirt, separately and together, whenever it makes sense. I’ve also been reading about developing an everyday clothing uniform, like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have. Same clothes every day – maybe in different colors.

Sign to Muxia

I wore the same clothes on the Camino de Santiago for weeks, and no one cared.

So why not at home?

Another lesson from the Camino.

FITGO at the YMCA

Did you see the Dennis the Menace cartoon yesterday?

It shows the mom doing yoga. The kids say

“I guess when you get too old to play… You have to exercise.”

Really? What is hiking, biking, canoeing or even yoga, but playing?

And to make it more fun, the Asheville YMCA came up with Fitgo.

The  YMCA Fitgo is a combination of Fitness and Bingo. You get a card with a five by five grid of challenges for a month. Some activities are simple, some take thought, and a couple I am just ignoring.

Fitgo card

Simple Goals – No fast food for three days and Drink no soda for three days. I checked that off the moment I got the card because I haven’t had either for decades.

Same with Eat fresh fruit with your breakfast and Stretch for 15 minutes.- I do those every day.

Goals that take some thoughts –  I didn’t want to count activities that I’ve done before I started Fitgo. So I waited until I did my next yoga class to count it as  group training class, no problem since I go to yoga once or twice a week.

Another goal was to Participate in an outdoor activity – yeah, like hiking.

Swannanoa River

As for volunteering for a service organization, I lead hikes for Carolina Mountain Club, Friends of the Smokies and other nonprofits who ask me.  So I counted my involvement in MST-in-a-Day.

Do an activity together with friends or family – another easy one since all my hiking companions are friends – no double counting was involved.

Since this is the YMCA, the goals also included introducing yourself to three Y members I didn’t know and letting a Y staff person know why you love the Y . I love the Y because it opens at 5 am on weekdays. It give me and lots of other people flexibility.

Now the tough ones. Drink water as your only fluid intake for one day. What? Give up tea? I interpreted this literally – not even herbal tea.

Get eight hours or more of sleep for three days – Are they kidding? I’d love to but if I can sleep more than six hours, it’s a red letter day.

No one can hike every day – certainly I don’t have my life planned to hike every day. So that’s where the YMCA comes in – with or without Fitgo.