City to Trails

A city girl's journey to the trails of North Carolina


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Weather Woes

I have a serious love-hate relationship with spring. I love when the sun begins to stay out longer, a pleasantly warm breeze drifts through my windows (that I’m finally able to keep open), flowers blooming and birds chirping. There is nothing more breathtaking than seeing the mountains against a bright blue and clear North Carolina sky. Then, the rain begins. I swear, it feels like it goes on forever! I know, I know-April showers bring May flowers. Honestly, though, I could really do without the rain. I would never survive in the Pacific Northwest.

Of course, there are also days like today. I woke up and it was, once again, raining on my day off. Not only was it raining, it was starting to get very windy and very cold. So cold, in fact, that it started snowing. It’s the middle of freaking April! WHY is it snowing?!

Stupid spring! Teasing me with awesome mid 70’s and sunshine, then BAM! Mid 30’s and snow. I’m so over it.


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Hike 5: Mount Pisgah

Hike five. Wow. It is hard to believe that I’ve done more hiking in the last 6 months than I have in the last 2 years. It’s also hard to believe that I used to look at hiking like a silly hobby of those who are bearded and smelly. Terrible, I know. The important thing is that my mind-set has changed completely.

Today, I hiked Mt. Pisgah, just of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I also hiked it alone! *Gasp* Well, I wasn’t technically alone. Ruthie, my trusty side-kick came with me, of course! If you asked me to describe this hike in one word I would say it was an ass-kicker. I am now well aware of how out of shape I really am.

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My trusty side-kick telling me that I must keep going 🙂

 

Rock Stairs

Rock Stairs

Mt. Pisgah is a really difficult hike. It is a relatively short hike (about 1.5 miles to the top), but it is up, up, up the whole way. There are not many spots where it levels off and you can catch your breath. I was so tired on the way up that I almost turned around and went back down the mountain. Thank goodness for Ruthie. I could tell she wanted to keep going, if it weren’t for her I would have seriously missed out.

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Photo Apr 01, 12 38 57 PM

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So proud of myself that it totally deserved a selfie!

 

Once you make it to the top there is a HUGE television broadcasting tower that belongs to one of the local news stations, along with a wooden platform that gives you an amazing 360 degree view of the mountains. It is totally worth all the blood, sweat and tears. Okay, okay so that might be a bit dramatic, but there was a lot of sweat!


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Hike 4: John’s Rock

Best. Hike. Ever. Well, at least so far. This was an amazing adventure. A perfect combination of hard work and reward. John’s Rock is located in Brevard, NC and you can access the trailhead in the parking lot of the Fish Hatchery.

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The picture above is one of about 5 different “bridges” we had to cross along the way. It was interesting to watch little Ruthie make her way across each bridge. She tends to get very excited, and because she is a hound dog, she has the need to smell EVERYTHING. I thought for sure she would catch the scent of something and take off into the water. Such a goof ball.

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This trail is pretty intense. Certainly the most difficult trail I’ve been on thus far. The loop is about 5 miles and climbs about 1000 feet in elevation for half of the hike. You need to be aware of whats under your feet. Tree roots and rocks are a constant battle on the trail. Having said that, the reward is spectacular.

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Once you reach the top of John’s Rock, the end of the trail peeks through some trees to give you just a tiny glimpse of the scenery in front of you. After you step out on to the rock the view is breath-taking, and a bit frightening.

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The rock is very steep and can be slick. As usual, being my paranoid self, I stayed very close to the trees until a made it a little further from the edge. Directly across the way you can see Looking Glass Rock (which will be my next hike). You can also see the road and the hatchery. It was such a beautiful sight to behold. We took a short break to snack and take in the views.

The hike back down was just as difficult as the hike up. Since the trail is steep on the way up, it is just as steep in the way down. Sometimes I think going down is more difficult. You have to maintain a slower pace because if you gain too much speed and momentum odds are you will just tumble down the mountain.

I would suggest this hike to everyone. It was so much fun and I will certainly go back, mostly because I want to explore the area a little more.

 


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Hike 2: Bent Creek

Since my Craggy Gardens hike was a wee bit of a let down I decided I needed something a bit more challenging. This time my better-half and I chose to hike in Bent Creek. It has many different trails all varrying in difficulty levels. I picked the Explorer Loop. According to the map it is a moderately difficult trail and is 3.3 miles long.

I think it took us about 2-3 hours to complete the whole loop, and I enjoyed every single second of it! There is something about being in the woods that it very cathartic. Its so peaceful and beautiful. It gives you time to think and clear your head, but without thinking too much. Especially on the trails in Bent Creek. You have to be focused on where you’re going and your surroundings because it is a very popular trail for mountain bikers and horseback riders.

The mountain bikers were in full force when I hiked this trail, and boy do they sneak up on you. I was in complete awe of how any of them managed to stay upright with all the rocks and roots and countless other obstacles in their way. Hearing the woosh as they would ride past me was intimidating, but I powered through.

This hike was just what I needed. It had just enough challenge to make me feel like I accomplished something, but not so much that my legs felt like Jell-O by the end of it. I’m pretty sure I’m hooked.


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The Back Story and the Decision

Asheville, North Carolina is set in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Travel just outside of the city and an abundance of outdoor activities awaits you. Rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, camping, white water rafting, you name it and Asheville has it. So, why on earth would a city girl who has no desire to do any of those activities choose to live there?

It wasn’t really my decision to move to Asheville. Yes, I agreed to move, but I wasn’t the one to say “Hey, lets move to North Carolina”. Prior to moving here, I had never stepped foot into the state. I moved with my (now ex) significant other. It was a way to escape from Florida and at that moment in time I was desperate for a change. We sold everything we owned and moved here with no job, no place to live and a very limited plan. It all worked out in the end and now I’ve been here for almost three years, but there has consistently been one problem. I’ve never fully emerged myself in the Asheville lifestyle.

In order to call myself an “Ashevillian” I have decided that I need to act like one. I’ve got a few of them under my belt already. For instance, dancing at the Drum Circle on Friday nights. Check. Learning to hula hoop. Check. And the most important (at least in my eyes) drinking the local brews. Multiple checks. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve mastered that one! But, I’m still lacking in the outdoors department. That is all about to change.