Last month, I was lucky to be able to head for the hills with two old friends—we spent a long weekend hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia.
We’re all amateur campers. From the top of a mountain, we marveled at a far-off hailstorm, only for it to sweep over us and soak us to the bone. One evening, we chatted with a grizzled, Gandalf-ish through-hiker named Woodstock, who gently mocked us for packing too much food. At our campsite, we gathered enough twigs to make a small fire, celebrating each delicate flame as evidence of our imperfect survival capabilities.
Mostly, though, we just stared off into the distance. The blue hills on the horizon served as a much-needed reminder that, though our lives have shrunk to the size of our dwellings, the world outside is still huge and full of wonder.
The pandemic isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and getting outdoors is one of the safest activities available to us these days—so this week’s issue of C-VILLE is outdoors-themed. There’s delightful wilderness to easily and safely explore in the area, even if you can’t slip away for a walk on the AT. There are also plenty of ways to get involved with local outdoors groups. And though the news has been bleak lately, environmental activists in the region scored a huge victory this month with the defeat of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. So get outside!—Ben Hitchcock