Posts Tagged With: Outdoors

A Psychological Guide to the Appalachian Trail

For the vast majority of outdoor enthusiasts, the idea of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail is just that, an idea; something to think about abstractly on long winter nights or talk about after a beer or two with friends. Ultimately, most of us find the idea of 2,200 miles and six months of our lives (not to mention 100+ miles of elevation change) too strong a deterrent to consider actually doing anything about it.  Last night, however, I sat in a room at REI-Charlotte with 30 other people, among whom — I strongly suspect — I was the only one who either hadn’t already hiked some significant portion of the Appalachian Trail or who wasn’t seriously considering doing so.

Truth be told, I have hiked a very small section of the AT near the Nantahala Outdoor Center in western North Carolina; by my calculations about .13% of the total distance. And last spring, I hiked more than 300 miles in various locations over a 3 month period preparing for the 28-miles-in-one-day CureSearch Ultimate Hike. That brief glimpse into endurance trekking brought me to an understanding about just how difficult it really is… and how poorly suited I am for it. While I found the physical rigors challenging, it was the mental aspect of hiking mile after mile after mile that wore on me the most, and that is why I attended the REI event. Continue reading

Categories: In the Woods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Carolina’s “Fifth Season” And Time to Start Thinking About Fall Planting

ImageWhen I recruit companies to North Carolina in my “day job” as an economic developer, the state’s temperate, four-season climate is often a major selling point, particularly for folks who have just come through a long Michigan winter or a broiling Texas summer. I don’t usually mention our “Fifth Season” though; the one that starts around the first of August and runs through mid-September. Different people know this season by different names. My fishing buddy calls it “Nothing Biting” season. I call it “Brown-Out” season; the six week period when the Spring/Summer plants have lost their oomph (as my Mother used to say), but it’s too early yet for the Fall planting.

One sure sign of Brown-Out season is the color of my lawn. Like many in the Carolina Piedmont, I plant tall fescue, a type of grass that Winters well and pops brilliant green in the Spring. Alas, it tends to whither under the unrelenting Southern Summer sun and by the first of August, even irrigated, well-manicured fescue lawns look a bit worse for wear. Beyond a little sprinkling if it’s a REALLY dry period, I don’t irrigate, so by August my lawn is, to be charitable, looking a little ragged. This really concerned me the first couple of years down here: I was afraid I’d somehow killed my grass. But now, I take it all in stride, knowing that a little fertilizer, a good core aeration and a bit of overseeding will bring back the lush green carpet by the end of September.  Continue reading

Categories: In the Garden | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Online Home of John B. Marek — North Carolina-Based Outdoor Enthusiast, Adventurer and Author

Growing up in rural north-central Ohio, my family’s house was located at the corner of Lake and Forest Streets, and it would only be a slight exaggeration to say that I spent my formative years within a stone’s throw of both the water and the woods. My father, Bennie, was an avid fisherman and gardener, and while some of his his homespun wisdom in those pursuits seems a little curious to me now, he clearly had a major influence on the way I see the natural world and my place in it. I have created this blog to share some of my own experiences in the outdoors of my adopted home state of North Carolina. Although I research my information carefully and willingly offer homespun wisdom of my own, I do not claim to be an expert on all things outdoors; if you see something that is obviously incorrect or with which you disagree, do not hesitate to comment or send me a note. I enjoy hearing from my readers, whether through email or social media, and will respond personally whenever possible.

John B. Marek

mobile          704 237 0719
email             johnbmarek@gmail.com
twitter          @johnbmarek
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Categories: From the Desk | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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