Please note that this walk is starting :30 minutes earlier than usual (at 9:30AM) to fit into my schedule. For this walk, we'll be on two trails (two interconnected loops) - Buckquarter Creek Trail (1.5 miles) and Holden Mill Trail (2.6 miles); and, we'll also take the spur out to the old mill site if the creek crossing is doable (~ 0.5 miles more) --- total distance of 4.6 miles.
This is my year to explore new trails - to get to know new areas and to see if they work for meditation walking (with trees, water and circular paths being my main criteria). These two trails combined are as amazing and interesting - perhaps more so than the Company Mill Trail at Umstead which has always been one of my favorites ( a friend of mine calls this "the Company Mill Trail on steroids").
Half of the walk is higher up on a ridge and the other half is at river's edge with delightful outcroppings of rocks as part of the path as well as part of the view --- we'll interweave the ups and downs. There are points that we will be "scurrying" across rocks and using rocks/trees as hand-holds to secure our footing ... all of which provides an "up close and personal" connection with nature; and, expect somewhat muddy trails as part of the experience (hiking boots recommended). We'll be walking these trails as a figure-8 to shift in-and-out of trail/high-up and rock/river-edge experiences. This walk has lots of up and downs (including some stairs, and steep inclines) and rock crossings. The terrain itself will focus our attention to the here-now presence. The first up section will be walk-and-talk; then we'll switch into silence for the remaining sections: river-edge, spur, upper-trail, and river-edge. Plan on 2.5 hours for this walk (including a 5-minute standing mediation on one of the rock outcroppings).