charisma void buzzing excitement
Located west of Charlotte, N.C., the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is "dedicated to the promotion of the active lifestyle". The USNWC offers kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, ropes courses, stand-up paddle boarding, zip lines, yoga, and 30-miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. The whole place was buzzing with excitement and adrenaline.
We had the intention of hiking one of the longer and more serpentine trails, but it had been raining in previous days and those trails were closed to all activity. So, we chose the only one available - the Parkway Loop. The Loop starts on the sidewalk leading from the main building to the parking area and quickly veers off to the left and down an embankment to a dirt and gravel trail (if going in a clock-wise direction). Mostly single-track, but sometimes wider, the trail oscillates between skirting the parkway and detouring into the trees. The elevation gain is generally barely noticeable. At the halfway mark you cross the parkway and hike down the other side, again weaving in and out of the woods. On this second half of the loop there are a few tempting side trails leading off into meadows and deeper into the trees. But, drat, they were roped off.
The Parkway Loop is easy to follow, family-friendly, and a place to stretch your legs and get a bit of exercise. But, not much more. We suspect that the other trails would be far more interesting and challenging.