This is my favorite time of year to take to the trail. Even as the weather gets colder and colder, I seem to log more miles in the woods in January than most of the other months.
There are a few reasons for that. For one, the cold weather keeps the crowds away from the state parks nearby. On my recent trip to Victoria Bryant State Park, I found myself as the only hiker on the park’s 6-mile trail. The resulting quiet was hard to beat.
Of course, the cold weather strips all the trees of their leaves and wipes out a lot of the underbrush. The result is its own benefit – when I hike these familiar trails right now, I can see farther through the forests than I ever have before.
There’s a nice stopping point on a high ridge trail at Watson Mill Bridge State Park that I always thought just overlooked the woods I was already in. But last week, the bare trees revealed the South Fork of the Broad River flowing below. It turned out this mostly forgotten trail actually has the best view in the entire park.
Yes, the freezing cold has its benefits. It can create new opportunities.
As we start this new year, I find now a particularly good time to take a look around and see what I may have been missing amid the ever-growing forest that can envelop our lives. A few forgotten projects have come back into focus. A few stories for Beyond the Trestle, after months sitting in unfinished form, are getting their finishing touches. Heck, after moving two years ago, I’ve finally hung some pictures on the wall of the guestrooms. (Stop by for a visit!)
As you start this new year, there’s no better time to take a long look at where your projects and priorities stand. And it’s a great time to take action.
After all, these forests won’t stay dormant for long. Spring will be here before we know it.