The cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point form the Triad, which is not to be confused with the cities of the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). Sweltering summers mean hiking is not the first thing that pops into people’s minds when they think of getting outdoors. The abundance of lakes and rivers makes North Carolina more of a paddlers’ state than a hikers’ state, but I’m confident I’ll be able to track down a few dirt paths to wander down. Here’s a Google terrain map of the region:

View Larger Map

The land is characterized by gently rolling hills and deciduous forests that get very colorful in the autumn. The Smoky Mountains are about three hours west of here; in fact the distance to the Appalachian Trail is very similar to the distance to Yosemite from the Bay Area.

Hiking opportunities around here are scant compared to the Bay Area, but it’s an unfair comparison. The Bay Area has 11 months of perfect hiking weather, so it almost feels like the amenities are a logical consequence of the local climate. The rest of the world has actual seasons and perhaps more sensible things to do at certain times of year.

There are a few North Carolina hiking blogs:

A bunch more sites are devoted to the Great Smoky Mountains, so I’ll be looking those up too.

I’m going to try to get out this weekend. The great thing about all new trails: getting lost generates great blog copy. Right now it’s storming like crazy so it might be too wet, but heck, I’ve gone on wet hikes before.