Monthly Archives: April 2012

Covering Up for (Hopefully) the Last Frost of the Season

I had planned for a couple hours of work in the garden last night, but did not count on spending that time prepping for a possible frost/freeze. Not a bad situation, really, as my tender plants are still in the greenhouse, with the exception of a few marigolds and begonias and a lone cherry tomato I just couldn’t help “jumping the gun” with. The only plants I actually have in the ground are root vegetables which should be able to tolerate a light frost. As a precaution, I brought my hanging baskets in off the porch, but in that sheltered area I don’t imagine a little frost would get to them. The published “safe” date for frost in this part of North Carolina is April 24th, and I am planning to transplant my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from the greenhouse into the raised bed over the next couple of weeks. Let’s hope this is the last cold snap we see until sometime around Halloween.

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Kings Mountain Training Hike – Some Rugged Terrain

My training hike at Kings Mountain State Park this past Saturday (4/7/12) was certainly the most “rugged” of my treks so far. The trail I hiked wound through both the State Park and the National Park, which are adjecent to each other on the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Gastonia. The National Park portion of the trail was better maintained with a clearly defined and well-cleared path. The State Park portion of the trail, on the other hand, was about as rough as any trail I’ve seen. Several large deadfalls required substantial climbing, crawling and scampering, while numerous stream crossings and muddy bottoms resulted in some wet and muddy boots. At times the trail was almost completly overgrown and difficult to follow. At one point after navigating a small stream and deadfall I got off the main trail for about a quarter mile and had to backtrack. As a result, my average time per mile was just over 21 minutes, or about a minute longer than my target. It was, however, a good training experience, in that I had to overcome a wide variety of obstacles in order to finish. I don’t expect the Foothills Trail to be quite so rough, but I know I will be prepared for just about any conditions.

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Training Hike at South Mountains State Park

I had a great training hike at South Mountains State Park on Saturday (3/31/2012). It was raining when I left Huntersville for the 90 minute drive to the park, but by the time I arrived the skies had cleared and the sun had warmed into the low 70’s.  I started off on the Chestnut Knob trail, which Janet, Kasay and I hiked last October. The first mile of that trail is almost vertical, and it took me a while to get my legs under me after the drive. I stopped briefly at the Chestnut Knob Overlook to take some pictures and record a video message for my supporters. Moving on, I connected to the CCC trail and followed that all the way to the Sawtooth Campsites. This is a primitive camping area in a large grassy field. Backtracking a bit, I connected to the Horse Ridge Trail and followed that for several miles, taking a short break at about the 6 mile mark. The Horse Ridge Trail connected with the Turkey Ridge Trail, which I followed all the way back to the equestrian parking lot, where I took another short break at the 10 mile mark. I then followed the main park road out past the welcome center and backtracked to the Jacobs Creek parking lot. Overall, I averaged about 20 minutes per mile over the 14.5 miles hiked.

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