This assemblage of pretty people at Kure Beach limited our hiking for the July 16-22 week to a series of pretty short beach walks.
July 2: Apple Orchard Falls Trail to forest Road to Cornelius Creek Trail. 6 miles.
An old favorite was in good form on this summer day, with the flows of the creeks and the fall of the falls healthy for this time of year, though not full enough to occasion any wading at the bottom of the Cornelius Creek Trail.
July 9. Trails of Bottom Creek Gorge Nature Preserve. 5 miles.
This pleasant, easy set of trails has its good midpoint at the viewing area for the falls.
July 16-22. Beach walks from Kure Beach giant oceanfront home toward Fort Fisher and Carolina Beach, though never to either one. 5 miles.
The Day Hiker, surrounded for a full week by a family totaling 22 people—the five sons, their wives/honey and the 10 grandchildren ranging in age from cool-boys 13 to fast-changing four months—was not to be drawn very far nor for very long from members of the assemblage, and so while no true hike was undertaken, there was a series of daily forays along the beach, early and late. But, you know, no lunch stop nor even beachside cafe kinda stop . . . just some walking.
And aside from old-man rue on the lack of big walk, a wonderful wonderful time was had by all, with all manner of on-beach running, throwing, catching, jumping, diving and such, built around things like Frisbees, footballs, baseballs, kiddie balls and many other things that were not invented for throwing but which, in the hands of certain people of certain ages are, you know, highly chuckable. A grand week at the beach.
July 24. Star, Woodthrush, Ridgeline and Star trails on Mill Mountain. 5 miles.
A hot muggy day even on Mill Mountain, where, 100 years ago, the incline railway promotions used to brag about the summit being 9 degrees cooler than down in the city.
July 31. Appalachian Trail from Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 97.7 to Wilson Creek Shelter and back. 4.8 miles
Along what we expected to be a totally empty trail section on a hot summer day, we first crossed a . . . bicyclist! The Day Hiker moved to make way; the old man, possessive of the walkers-only Great Trail, trod ahead until the cyclist stopped and let us pass. A quarter mile later, we crossed a set of hikers as old as we are, the oldest of whom took a few minutes to brag about how he’d turned the cyclist around and told her how lucky she was not to have had to meet one of the ladies behind him. A pleasant lunch at the empty shelter.