One of the big reasons we moved to North Carolina was because we wanted to live somewhere with more options for us to be active outdoors. And honestly, sometimes I’m overwhelmed (in a good way) by the options around us when it comes to hiking in particular.
So in 2019, to make an effort to explore more, I’m aiming to do one hike per week all year and complete the 52 Hike Challenge!
I’ll be sharing a little snapshot of each hike here on this page and in my Instagram story highlights, for accountability. So follow along, and maybe even join me in the challenge or on a hike if you’re in the area!
Hike #1: Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail
Date: 5 January 2019
Location: Hillsborough, North Carolina | Catawba territory
Distance: 4 miles
The Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail is a 44-acre site just outside of Durham. The recreational area is on the National Register of Historic Places because it is the only surviving dirt speedway from NASCAR’s inaugural 1949 season. The area has four miles of trails, which take you around the track and along the banks of the Eno River. There are a few rusty cars on the track and you can still see the old concessions area, grandstand, and flag stand.
We did this hike on a beautiful, breezy January with our friends Drew and Erin who are visiting the area. It was an easy trail and we really enjoyed learning the history and significance behind the speedway!
Hike #2: Blue Loop at the North Carolina Museum of Art
Date: 12 January 2019
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina | Catawba & Tuscarora territory
Distance: 1 mile
I’ve been dying to get to this museum since before we moved! Admission is FREE, and it is in the city of Raleigh, about 30 minutes from us. Our friends, Erin and Drew, joined us on this day as well since they were still in town visiting. We walked around the permanent collection inside before heading outside to do the loop trail around the museum grounds to look at the outdoor art installations.
I’m not gonna lie, I debated for a good long while on whether to include this “hike” or other “urban hikes” I have planned in my upcoming travels. I’ve always felt like hiking is only “real” if it’s unpaved, in nature, and outside of the city. But then I realized this fits into an elitist and very privileged idea of hiking and the outdoors. Not everyone can travel to places like that to go hiking. It’s not accessible to everyone. The point of this challenge is to get outside and get active. And if that means you’re walking around a neighborhood or city park, then do it. The outdoors is for everyone, and we shouldn’t limit our experience or anyone else’s by gatekeeping what counts and what doesn’t. So I’m going to count these urban hikes. They offer their own merits and experiences which I appreciate and enjoy.