I love eating chocolate peanut butter cupcakes from the Tipsy Bee.
They are delicious but have done some damage to my waistline. I needed to do something in order to eat my beloved cupcakes and minimal weight gain.
So I started urban hiking around Mount Olive.
Most evenings, I leave my apartment and explore various streets and areas of the town. I started walking to the library, which is awesome. Then I decided to walk to the park. I walked to my friend S’s house. Maybe one day, I’ll walk to the University.
It is a good way to build strength and endurance while burning calories. A one-mile hike can burn up to 150 calories.
I decided to take it up a notch and go on my first real hike at Cliffs of the Neuse.
It is a 20 minute drive from my home.
The Cliffs of the Neuse has something for everyone. There is camping, swimming, fishing and hiking. And for me, it is one out of four. I don’t sleep outside, I can’t swim and I’m not a fisherman.
There is no admission fee but there is a minimal cost to camp and swim.
So I got up early Saturday morning so I could beat the heat.
There are five hiking trails—Longleaf, Bird, Galax, Spanish Moss and Lake Loop--and each is less than a mile in length. I took the Lake trail and while I enjoyed myself in the peace and solitude, it seemed like it was more than a mile.
I will admit that I am not the most outdoor oriented person. Bugs and other critters don’t appeal to me.
And to be prepared, I had a little backpack with water, granola bars, bug spray and cell phone.
After some stretching, it was through the woods, around many curves and to the lake.
It took me a few minutes to get used to the birds chirping and sound of my breathing. I could feel all the stresses of the world fall away. When I finally got to the lake, I felt like I had really accomplished something.
But as I stepped from one side to the other, I accidentally stepped into a carpenter ant hill.
Carpenter ants are very large ants. They build their nests around the base of living trees and in rotting logs. As I walked, I had worked hard to avoid them because they were all over the trail.
But I managed to find some of them. Anyone on the other side of the lake must have thought that I was doing some kind of crazy interpretive dance.
But other than that brief moment of pain and humiliation, I had a good time and could see myself going back to conquer the other trails.
To others interested in hiking, the first thing is to figure how long you want to hike. I knew I didn’t want to go Appalachian Trail style but wanted to something that could be done in an hour before it got to crazy hot.
Also decide if you want to go solo or with a friend. I went solo because I knew I wouldn’t be able to convince any of my friends to join me.
The most important is to let someone know that you are on the hiking trail. So if you go missing, they will at least know where to start looking. Plus, have a fully charged cell phone.
I had a good hike and my legs are still feeling it.
And while I liked it, I think I will stick to urban hiking. I have started to go other towns, park and walk.
Of course, all of that is temporary on hold during the heat wave. I can do a basic walk to the library and back to get some exercise. Anything else is just too much.
In other news, I had some trouble getting my car to pass inspection for the state of North Carolina.
The result was 12 not ready slips, $200 in repairs and $35 for a tire. Beatrice passed!!! And for 15 hours, life was good. I got to work and found I couldn't get my car out of park. Turns out the transmission cable broke so Beatrice is now in the car hospital. A friend is letting me drive his car while Bea is being fixed. So life is still pretty good and slightly hot.
1. Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes!
2. Windows down, radio blaring and singing at the top of your lungs!
3. Good friends!