Up & Coming Weekly

December 29, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1323226

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 16 UCW DECEMBER 30, 2020 - JANUARY 5, 2021 EVENTS First Day Hikes for 2021 are, well, taking a hike. e decades-old program traditionally of- fers free and guided treks in all U.S. state park systems each year on New Year's Day. Due to COVID-19, these events have been canceled for 2021 nationwide, though the park premises will be open. Visitors are encouraged to con- duct their own self-guided First Day Hikes with members of their own households. Since 1992, the hikes have promoted an alternate way of celebrating the new year by going outside, getting some exercise, and expe- rience local nature and history. According to the American Hiking Society, last year nearly 55,000 people participated, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country. Don't let the event cancellation deter you and yours from getting outside this New Year's Day or any other time. Hiking is good for your soul. Getting outside helps your physical and emotional well-being, not requiring much time or money. e low- cost activity is enjoyable for young and old and ranges from a few steps around a local park to tackling the Appalachian Trail. In Cumberland County and North Carolina, a plethora of recreational opportunities is available. With over 40 local and state parks and over 95 miles of the Appalachian Trail., North Carolina also touts the country's most popular national park in the Great Smokey Mountains. e list of equipment needed for hiking can range from the simple to the complicated. For day hikers contemplating moderate hikes, comfortable walking or hiking shoes, possibly a backpack and plenty of water are necessities. Plan to dress in layers, and consider tucking a disposable rain poncho in with your gear in case of unexpected showers. Always remember the ultimate hiker's rule, "pack it in, pack it out," to keep the parks beautiful and clean. Before hiking, always consult a map ꟷ carry a printed version if possible or take a screenshot on your phone. If hiking solo, make sure some- one knows your route and expected return time. Most experts recommend hiking with a buddy for safety purposes. Armed with these basics, you next need to find a place to get started. Two locations offer the most hiking opportunities in this region: Cape Fear River Trail and Carvers Creek State Park. e Cape Fear River Trail, part of the Cumberland County Parks and Recreation system, is open 365 days, from 8 a.m. to dusk. Free parking is available at both the northern and southern terminals at Jordan Soccer Com- plex, 445 Tree Top Dr., and Clark Park Nature Center, 631 Sherman Dr., respectively. e asphalt trail winds along for nearly 5.3 miles, following the path of the Cape Fear River. Be aware the course is not a loop. Plan only to go out as far as you can walk back. If you are hiking with others, try to park one car at each end of the trail, so transportation will be waiting when you finish. Walkers, bikers, runners and rollerbladers use the CFRT, so take caution as even the wide 10-foot path can get congested. e trek ranges from flat to hilly and includes a boardwalk through marsh and wetlands and a covered bridge. Glimpses of the Cape Fear River and waterfalls peek through the wooded terrain at many points. Amenities include interpre- tive signs explaining wildlife and plant life; portable toilets, benches and tables; a water station; security call boxes along the trail and security officers on patrol. Trail rules permit dogs kept on leashes. Near the southern end of the trail, Clark Park Nature Center offers educational displays and ranger-guided walks. Contact the Center for specific hours and programs or visit https:// fcpr.us/parks-trails/parks/ clark-park for more details. Carvers Creek State Park has two locations in Cumberland County and is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Check posted hours before heading out. Free parking is avail- able at both locations, the Long Valley Farm access at 2505 Long Valley Rd. in Spring Lake and the Sandhills access at 995 McCloskey Rd. in north Fayetteville. Opened in 2005, the Long Valley Farm access includes the historic retreat of James Stillman Rockefeller. Due to flood damage in 2016, limited opportunities exist at present. Rang- ers lead regular interpretive programs and special events. At Long Valley, hikers will find two trails, the 2-mile James S. Rockefeller Loop Trail and the Cypress Point Loop Trail, three- quarters of a mile and branches off to the north. Both trails are for hiking and bicycling only. From the Cypress Point Loop Trail, you can look toward the dam and see the pavilion, a former sawmill in the 1800s, and the grist mill, which played a vital role in utilizing waterpow- er in the 1900s. In total, there are just under 3 miles of trail, all offering a leisurely walk on sand and gravel. ese two trails were once roads during the peak of Long Valley Farm in the 1950s. Both routes are level and flat. e Sandhills Access totals just over 10 miles, composed of seven trails on sandy soil. Horses, hikers and bikers use the Sandhills access, adhering to the rule of "wheels yield to hooves and heels." Hikers yield to horseback riders while bicyclists yield to both hikers and horse- back riders, so all share the trail. Well-marked hiking trails are open at Sand- hills, with varying lengths and features. ese include the 1.4-mile Wire Grass Loop Trail, the 1.7-mile Turkey Oak Loop Trail, the 1.5-mile RCW Loop Trail, the 4-mile one-way Long Leaf Pine Trail, the 0.6-mile Dead End Spur Trail, the 1.10 Fox Squirrel Loop Trail and the 0.10 Little Pond Spur Trail. At present, there are no toilets or water facilities. is area is known for its excellent birding opportunities, including sightings of the red-cockaded woodpecker. Happy hiking with the words of naturalist John Muir in mind: "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." Visit these places near and far to get out- doors. Carvers Creek State Park, 910-436-4681; https://www.ncparks.gov/carvers-creek-state- park/home Fayetteville Area Parks and Recreation ere are more than 70 park and recreation fa- cilities and trails in Cumberland County, with amenities that range from linear trails — such as the CFRT — to green spaces, playgrounds, dog parks and recreation areas. Find the com- plete list at https://fcpr.us/ North Carolina Parks and Recreation e state parks system includes 34 parks, four recreation areas and three staffed state natural areas. North Carolina has parks along the coast and the mountains in addition to the Sandhill gems. For a complete list, visit https:// www.ncparks.gov/ National Parks Service e National Park Service encompasses 419 national park sites in the United States. Visit https://www.nps.gov/index.htm and https:// www.nps.gov/carto/app/#!/parks/state/nc Appalachian Trail ere are 95.7 miles of the AT in North Carolina, but the Trail runs along the Tennes- see/North Carolina border for 224.7 additional miles. Read details at https://appalachiantrail. org/home/explore-the-trail/explore-by-state/ north-carolina Hooray for hikes by BECKY ROSE Guided First Day Hikes have been canceled for New Year's Day due to COVID-19, but parks near and far are open for self-guided hikes and exploring. BECKY ROSE, Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com 910-484-6200.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - December 29, 2020