Go Take A Hike!
No, not that kind. The peaceful foray-into-nature-to-reset kind of hike. The explore-our-area-with-some-healthy-exercise sort of hike.
This is a story about beautiful hikes, but let’s back up a minute.
Every year during the holidays, between Thanksgiving to New Year’s, there is time I don’t typically have. Time I’m never used to. It feels like stepping off a quick spinning merry-go-round onto solid ground; a bit disorienting with the abrupt change of pace. If I’m honest, what made it particularly jarring this year, is that real estate has also quickly changed. Like a light switch, within a very short period of time, our market has gone from white hot to dim. I made a choice this year; instead of lamenting the odd offering of time, I have embraced it. Turns out this isn’t “dead time” at all. In fact, I feel really good, alive and refreshed, and ready to tackle this next year whatever it has in store.
Space to Explore
Because I’m familiar with the impending dread this downtime typically brings, I knew I needed to not only mentally and emotionally prepare but physically engage. There is way more to life than real estate, and there is way more to real estate than just buildings. There is space. Space is environments and geography, parks and trees and water- the richness we surround ourselves with and the community it connects us to. As Charlotte’s real estate market flattens, I decided it’s a good time to get out and explore. I promise this is a blog about beautiful hikes. Stick with me.
My adorably understanding husband knows better than anyone I can get a little nutso or stir-crazy during this time so we devised a plan. Finding ourselves with time and extra energy, we decided to check out different areas of the Charlotte region. We tried to stick within a mile circumference of Center Charlotte. Our hope was to find local hikes and new spaces to explore.
We discovered all the information we needed by visiting the Carolina Thread Trail.
Carolina Thread Trail Mission Statement:
The Carolina Thread Trail is your regional network of connected greenways, trails, and blueways that reaches 15 counties, two states, and 2.9 million people. There are over 300 miles of trails and 170 miles of blueway open to the public – linking people to places, and communities to each other. The Thread Trail preserves our natural areas and is a place for recreation, transportation and conservation. This is a landmark project that provides public and community benefits for people of every age, every background and in every community in our region.
We decided on three hikes that we’ve taken over the last three weeks. Each has been a wonderful surprise and delight in space. Like the mission statement says, these hikes really do link spaces and communities, so it is an absolutely perfect way to get to know local regions and history while connecting with nature.
Our Chosen Hikes:
Gold Hill Rail Trail:
This trail was on the edge of a real gold mining town still functioning! Such a fun expedition and like a hike back in time. The trail was 2.2 miles one way. We completed both directions for an easy and enjoyable 4.4 miles. The coolest thing was learning about the history of this gold mine town. There are still some structures and equipment from the active gold mining days in place along the hike. A kiddos imagination could run wild. You can even have lunch steps away from the head of the trail at Flynn’s Village Grill. Who doesn’t like lunch in the middle of their hike?
Landsford Canal Trail:
Did I mention the trail map covers trails in South Carolina too? The Landsford Canal trail is one of them. This hike is part of a series of trails along the Catawba river inside the Canal State Park. It’s a hike grandparents and children could enjoy. Like the Gold Hill Trail, this hike guides you through history. The Landsford canal was a very sophisticated lock system complete with locks and bridges. It’s a 1.5 mile hike one way. Oh, and fun fact, it’s home to the Rocky Shoal Spider Lilies which are rare and only seen in this part of the world. They are under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Their peak bloom season is May and June. If you wait until early summer, you could see the lilies and take advantage of the kayaks and canoes offered.
Duke Kimbrell Trail:
This trail is close to home for us in Belmont. It was our longest hike amongst the three clocking in at 4.6 miles. You can stay on the Duke Kimbrell path or you have the option of taking a side loop through the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. The gardens have some fun events coming up in February. You could surprise your partner for Valentine’s by telling them to take a hike and have a fun daytime date! The hike takes you along the edge of Lake Wylie, which is one of the fastest growing spaces in our area. This hike was a bit more challenging and we enjoyed the exercise. After this one, we were ready to grab a bite in adorable downtown Belmont.
Ya’ll, I don’t use these words lightly, if you don’t know about this treasure trove of local hikes, do yourselves a favor and check out the Carolina Thread Trail Map for ideas that fit your preference.
Williams Shakespeare said, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
So here I am, thankful for the rich spaces we find ourselves in, energized, connected AND better for taking a hike.
Go enjoy our region.
**Important to mention all of these hikes are good for all ages and doggies (please remember to bring waste bags for your doggies and dispose of them when you leave.)