Did you have cabin fever this week? If you live anyplace on the East Coast, I don’t have to tell you about the snow, ice and cold weather. But today was scheduled to be a beautiful day in Western North Carolina. High in the 50s and no rain. I was going hiking. But to my dismay, both Carolina Mountain Club hikes were canceled because of poor trail and road conditions. What!@#$!
So Lenny and I went to Dupont State Forest between Brevard and Hendersonville. The trails are wide and easy, perfect for a winter day. We didn’t leave until 10 am, so that any ice on the roads would have a chance to melt. But when we got to the Visitor Center entrance, the trail was just a sheet of ice.
The few people we saw were inching on the trail. This wasn’t good. But to my amazement, the Dupont visitor center was open. Two NC Forest Service volunteers were staffing the desk and we inched ourselves toward the building, trying not to slide down.
The Aleen Steinberg Visitor Center is small but beautiful. The exhibits are well done and so much better than the ones in most NC State Parks. The information panels are national park quality. Right now, the visitor center is only open on weekends but it will expand its hours in the spring. It was a great 15 minutes or so, talking to the volunteers, but this wasn’t curing my cabin fever.
We drove back and went to Hard Times Road in Bent Creek. By then, it was past noon and the parking area was almost full. We hiked the “loop”, as we call it – about six miles up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, plus the distance to go up to the Arboretum visitor center.
Yes, the trails had snow but with all the runners, dog walkers and even bikers, they weren’t icy. Slush and mud were almost welcome. We climbed up the Carolina Mountain Trail – the photo on the right – and followed a lot of footsteps.
The MST climbed straight up from the Parkway. It was icy. I don’t think too many people are hiking the MST seriously, right now. But it’s here, waiting for hikers.
Hang in there. Spring is coming.
So what did you do today?