by Crystal Cockman

A few weekends ago, we got the first rain we’d had in a while in this area. Unfortunately it was on a day that I’d planned to be outside for both a hike in the morning and a paddle in the afternoon. Fortunately though, the rain stayed just to the east of where I was planning to be outside. It was cloudy and even a little bit drizzly, but somehow miraculously the exact locations where I planned to be did not see the downpours the surrounding area did.

My best friend who lives in Florida had come back to North Carolina for a couple weeks, and as usual we had planned a small adventure together. Her eldest daughter is now almost 8 years old, and she was excited to go with us this year. We decided we would climb Little Long Mountain, which is only a short hike, maybe 30 minutes round trip, but offers great views from the top of the mountain.

We met at my grandma’s in Seagrove, as she was staying with her parents in Robbins. I had loaded up three kayaks for my afternoon adventure in my dad’s truck I borrowed, one for myself and two for some other friends who would join me later in the day. It rained pretty much the whole way down the road and it was pouring in Robbins, so we were seriously considering ditching the hike for a warm breakfast.

However, we thought we’d head that way and see what the weather allowed. We stopped off at Pisgah Covered Bridge and walked the short trail around the property. The trees stopped what little rain was falling at this point, and so we continued on from there to the Joe Moffitt trailhead on Thayer Road. We decided to go for it, and we climbed the trail to the top. The views are spectacular and even in the rain and clouds they did not disappoint. We snapped a few pictures and headed back down the mountain.

My friend and her daughter had to go after the hike, but I headed towards Montgomery County again from Seagrove with boats in tow, ready for a paddle on the Little River. Eight of us had planned to kayak that day, but three friends who live in Richmond County saw the radar and decided not to make the drive. There was a 40% chance of rain with possible thunderstorms, but myself and four friends decided to take the gamble and hit the water.

We met at the old Smitherman dam site, on Town of Troy owned land where there is a formal put-in, just off Troy-Candor Road. We’d tried this paddle one time before a few weeks back, when a huge storm blew through and prevented us from taking the trip. The area right around Capelsie was bright red on the radar on the news, so we were glad we aborted. But we were game to try it this time.

Thankfully, we made it down to Capelsie Road and back, 6 miles round trip, and did not get rained on one drop. The sun even peaked out occasionally, and by the time we were back to our cars the sky was blue with few clouds in site. The wind blew us around a little bit, but we were no worse for the wear, and everyone was glad we decided to push on.

That was the end of my outdoor adventures for that day, and of course also the end of the threat of rain. But it had stayed far enough away so as to not spoil my adventures, so I had nothing really to complain about. The cooler temperatures were actually a pleasant accompaniment to the rainy day explorations. I certainly can’t say that it will always be the case that the forecast and my experience don’t coincide, but I was glad it was that way on that Saturday.

I’ll be a little less hesitant next time to go ahead and go for it in spite of the predictions. I would have missed out on a lot of fun if I hadn’t done that this time. However, I have been caught in a hailstorm on the Uwharrie River before, and I did not enjoy the experience in the least, so I’ll still keep an eye out for the red on the radar.