The outdoors has always had a special place in my heart. Growing up, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I was fortunate enough to live on family land that spanned over 100 acres. As a child, I would spend hours walking in the woods, getting lost on purpose or just climbing trees. When I got bored with that, I walked through the woods, past our family graveyard, to my great grandmother’s house. Constantly surrounded by family and the outdoors, I couldn’t get enough of it. In the summers, we would go up to the mountains and have picnics on Skyline Drive. Our family reunions were in a large cow pasture and we’d go swimming in the creek that flowed near it. In the fall, we’d go up to The Plains or Winchester and go apple picking. The love of the outdoors runs deep in my veins. Now that I have boys, I want to continue that tradition as best as I can. Although we now live in North Carolina, I still make it a priority to get out and explore.
We started nature walking when they were really young. I think my oldest was in Kindergarten at the time. We would pick a park and find a trail and just start walking. I would tell them to find something unique in the woods, something that stands out to them or looks like it shouldn’t be there. We’d take a closer look at whatever it was and discuss it. If I needed to, I’d look it up so we could find out what exactly we were looking at or why the tree trunk did what it’s doing or what kind of grass or plant it was. I’d snap a photo so we could remember it. Now, they carry a little notebook (like this one ) so they can draw objects or write down notes about the trails that we’re on. It’s become part of what we do. Teaching my kids about the environment that we live in and exposing them to the outdoors is extremely important to me. Since they don’t have the opportunity to roam freely on family land like I did, I try to take them to as many places as we can. The Carolina Thread Trail system gives me this opportunity and I’m so excited to walk and hike as many of these trails as possible.
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If you live in or near North or South Carolina there is most likely a nature trail or hiking trail near you that is part of the Carolina Thread Trail. The Carolina Thread Trail consists of a series of trails that, once completed will span over 15 counties and reach over 2 million people across North and South Carolina. The mission and goal behind the Carolina Thread Trail is near and dear to my heart. It speaks to everything that I want to share with my kids. Their goal is to preserve nature and natural environments, bring communities together and teach and expose all of us to the natural world. These trails encourage and promote members of the community to engage with the outdoors and preserve the undeveloped and that we live on.
However you choose to enjoy these trails, by walking, running, or biking you are guaranteed to find something interesting to see and experience. Ever since we started hiking and trail walking we have made sort of our unwritten goal to visit as many local trails as possible. We started out trail walking and hiking near us, mainly only in our county but as we were traveling around we started noticing the Carolina Thread Trail signs at that a lot of the trails that we were on. We have become huge fans of the Carolina Thread Trails and hopefully, we’ll get a chance to volunteer one day to help in any way they’ll need. Growing up in the country, I know the value of living and thriving around nature and any way that I can bring that to my kids, I will do so unapologetically.
Recently, I’ve discovered that on their website: http://www.carolinathreadtrail.org, you can create a FREE account that will help you log your completed trails as well as create a wish list of trails that you’d like to visit. I am currently in the process of logging the ones that we’ve already been to and definitely have some that I can’t wait to get to. If you’re interested go check out their site, it has loads of information about the trails as well as reviews from people who have been there already. For each trail you complete, just mark it as done and you’ll earn badges. One of my favorite trails so far has been the Buffalo Creek Preserve in Mt. Pleasant, NC. Hands down, the swinging bridge near the end of the trail was the highlight of our hike! We’ve also gone to Crowder’s Mountain, Kings Mountain and several others. We’ve definitely been bitten by the hiking bug. We go somewhere almost every weekend.
Eventually we will hike all of these trails along the Carolina Thread Trail. I have no idea how long it will take us or how many we will get to this year but I do know that finding these trails and sharing the experience is a priority. Each time we’ve gone, we have had some very memorable experiences. These trips with my kids are so important to me because one day they’ll be off to college and I’ll look back on this time and think of all of the funny things they did, even the annoying things they did will probably be funny to me.
Where do you all like to hike? Has anyone been to one of the trails along the Carolina Thread Trail system? If so let us know!