WNC TRIPS

For a look at our Calendar of Events, please click this link. Listed below here is a sample of some recent Wilderness Network of the Carolinas trips. They are listed in no particular order.

Paddling the New River - Late August offered the opportunity for a WNC party to spend a delightfully relaxed day paddling the New River.  We chose a shorter trip to avoid pressure to hurry back to the outfitter, where most of us had rented our boats.  The river course was fairly easy, even for the inexperienced.  The warm weather offered opportunity and incentive to take advantage of the deep pools suitable for swimming, along the way.  We ended the day with a supper at a nearby steakhouse where a friend of WNC (who tends bar there) channeled Carol Channing to give us a performance of “Hello Dolly” during supper.
Basin Cove/Stone Mountain - Basin Cove was a thriving mountain community until a tragic landslide in 1916 destroyed most of the community.  Now included in land that is attached to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is available for hiking.  On a February Saturday, we hiked to the remaining cabin in the cove, past extant foundations of other buildings.  After our round trip of 11 miles, we returned to our bed & breakfast that night for a well-cooked meal, warm fire, and hot tub.  After breakfast the next morning, we added on a shorter hike to one of the peaks in the nearby Stone Mountain State Park and ended the day by exploring the restored homestead at the foot of the mountain.

    

Merchant’s Millpond Canoe Trip - Merchant’s Millpond is a 200 year-old millpond, now contained in a state park.  We canoed from the launch point to the group-camp site, where we set up our tents for our overnight stay.  After lunch, we canoed into Lassiter Swamp, at the upper end of the millpond.  Lassiter Swamp is home to some of the oldest cypress trees in North America.  Along the way, we encountered the relatively rare great white heron.  After supper later that day, we were “serenaded” for a couple of hours by a chorus of owls in nearby trees.
Pisgah National Forest Campout - We assembled at our meeting point along the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked a couple of miles to our campsite.  Our trip leader had chosen this weekend to coincide with huckleberry ripening.  Good choice:  In the afternoon, we were able to pick enough berries to garnish breakfast the next morning and still take some home.  The energetic members of the party then climbed the adjacent Sam Knob before dark.  Our trip leader gave us all a pleasant surprise the next morning when he used a pooled supply of huckleberries to make huckleberry pancakes for everybody. 

    

Eno River State Park - Eno River State Park offers a generally gentle hiking terrain in the central part of the state.  This springtime hike along the Cox Mountain loop took us 4 to 5 miles through the Few's Ford section of the park, along the Eno River and around a couple of 700-foot peaks that give the trail its name.  The trees had few leaves on the day of our hike, and so we enjoyed unimpeded view of the profuse wildflowers in bloom.  Redbuds seemed to be ubiquitous.  The drama of the outdoors became real when a weather front brought us impressive wind and some hail, as we neared completion of our route.
Birkhead Wilderness - The Birkhead Wilderness section of the Uwharrie National Forest includes ridges of one of the older mountain ranges in the North Carolina.  At this time in geologic history, their heights bring the work “hill” to mind, rather than “mountain.”  Our early spring afternoon hike, however, was before the trees were covered in mature leaves.  From the ridges, we were able to see far enough to recognize that indeed we stood on the remnants of mountains.
Bicycling the New River Trail - The New River Trail follows an old railroad bed along the New River in southwestern Virginia.  We took a Sunday afternoon ride of 33 miles in mid-May along a relatively gentle grade through countryside that all agreed was beautiful.  The location of the trail on the former railroad bed gave us easy enough pedaling that members who weren't in the habit of long-distance bicycling were able to complete the trip.
Glacier National Park - For this long-distance trip, we took a 5-day trip along the 30-mile Highline Trail.  On our first two nights, we stayed at the Granite Park Chalet, at an elevation of about 6000 feet.  We allocated the 2nd day for dayhikes to nearby mountain peaks, with elevations of around 8000 feet.  Continuing along the Highline Trail, we paralleled the continental divide, just below it, through high alpine meadows, downward through scrubby forest, and into fir-spruce forest near the Waterton River.  We ended the backpacking portion of our trip at Goat Haunt, where we joined other long-distance hikers for a boat ride to the Waterton town site in Waterton Lakes National Park.  Before leaving the park, we added one last dayhike to a nearby lake that occupies a hanging valley a couple of thousand feet about the town site.

    

Shackleford Banks - Shackleford Banks, in the Cape Lookout National Seashore, offers secluded camping that is not so very far from familiar transportation.  On a Saturday in late April, we boarded a launch in Beaufort for the short ride out to Shackleford Banks.  From the Shackleford dock, we walked among the wild ponies to the ocean side of the island and set up our campsite a short way up the beach, but behind the dunes far enough to be shielded from the wind.  Freed from the weight of shelter and water, we explored the more of the island that afternoon and did a bit of shelling.  As the sun set, just after our evening repast, we were able to pick out the flash of the Cape Lookout lighthouse, which had been just barely visible during the afternoon.
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