Getting Back Into Nature

After some long months of sheltering at home and trying to avoid large crowds, I finally got back out to do some hiking this weekend.  I think it was February the last time I was able to hit the trails so I was greatly looking forward to the hike.  I thought the Pinnacle Trail at Crowder’s Mountain State Park would be a great way to break the leg muscles back in.  It’s about a 4 mile round trip hike with a pretty solid incline in the second half.  Just the thing to make your calf muscles bark at you.

First time out in a while – going for the 4 miles not the 6 miles

I am very lucky in that I live in an area of North Carolina that has great access to nature, as I definitely need more breaks from suburbia.  Within an hour driving range I can hit great State Parks like Lake Norman, Morrow Mountain and Crowder’s Mountain, all of which have a nice range of trails depending on how hard you want to push yourself.  A little bit further drive gets you into the mountains around Boone or Asheville and it is easy to spend a day in the Pisgah Forest exploring trails or even splashing through a nearby river.

I headed out early as I felt things would be busy, but even I was surprised at the sheer number of people out enjoying the trails.  Even with some remaining concerns about social distancing, it always makes me very happy to see so many people out communing with nature in some way.  It makes it a little harder to find that quiet little nook to settle in for a break and enjoy some peace, but there is nothing wrong with a little challenge.

Such a Beautiful Morning

It’s also nice to see all the four-legged adventurers out on the trails, and there were examples of all shapes and sizes.  The best was a small shepherd-mix pup that couldn’t have been much more than 3 months old, leading his family without a leash and with a singular focus of getting back down that trail.  My french mastiff would most likely insist that I carry her back down from the pinnacle given how much she hates the heat so I wisely left her at home.  

The accompanying pictures do not really do the trail justice, but I am always looking for opportunities to try and improve my photography skills.  It was a perfect morning for the hike, hot and sweaty, but not crazy and just great views all the way up and back down.  If you are ever in the area it is definitely worth taking a couple of hours out of your day to make your way up and down the trail.  And the Pinnacle is just one of many that are available at the park.  I usually do this trail maybe a half dozen times each year, as it really is a perfect warm-up trail before getting back into more serious hiking, and certainly stands up  on it’s own as a great way to spend a morning.

Slightly off the beaten path nooks and crannies

It also doesn’t hurt that it provides the absolute best reason for stopping for a great burger on the way home.  What’s the point of getting great exercise if you don’t treat yourself.  Always try your best to push yourself, but also enjoy life at every turn.

The Free Range Viking

Always celebrate making it to the top – I recommend a great burger

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