The first hint of warm spring weather always sets a backpacker’s wandering foot to itching, so with that in mind, we planned a quick overnight on a twelve mile loop in the Uwharrie National Forest.  We’ve found that a women’s backpacking trip is a different experience to a co-ed trip; the pace is different, the conversation is different, and the mood is different.

The weather gods were smiling when we headed out in the late afternoon on Sunday.  It was a big shift from Laura’s last trip to Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness during November snow flurries and 16 mile per hour winds.  The sun broke through the pines leading up the Uwharrie trail giving off just enough light for the start of a good farmer’s tan.  We found the trail to be full of life and the first signs of spring: deer and lizards, one bob-tailed cat, budding trees, crocuses springing up just off the trail, just enough to get Amanda’s allergies going!  Amanda laughed at Laura’s enthusiasm to get her feet dirty, purposefully trudging through the muddier parts of the creeks in her Chacos.


A lazy 6.5 mile hike to our camp, the two of us separated agreeing that we both needed our own pace and some meditation time.  At the trailhead for Dutchman’s Creek, we set up camp, enjoyed fine dining a la’ Backpacker’s Pantry, drank a bottle of wine (thanks to Alex at Trader Joe’s for pointing us in the right direction for the twist off cap…classy), and read some Merchant of Venice under the bright back lighting of a full moon (we are nothing if not nerds!).  It’s frog spawning season, and in every puddle we saw new hatches of life clustered and ready to burst.

On Dutchman’s Creek, the clear cuts and silence of an empty trail in the morning made it easy to get lost in the rhythm of the wooded sanctuary, always the best place to reflect and empty one’s head of all that excess day-to-day noise and stimulation.


For Laura, standing in a stream with her dirty feet and a Woodie Guthrie song stuck in her head, she remembered to forget about everything; to let that first spring trip, however short-lived, readjust her mindset and return to the peace of the Carolina woods once more. For Amanda’s part, listening to the wind blow through a laurel grove with the sun on her face is the perfect way to stay grounded.

Laura Lee & Amanda McGuire
GOPC Charlotte Staff