The long and winding switchback: Next Saturday, June 3, is “National Trails Day.” In our neck of the woods, the event will be feted with a hike hosted by the Carolina Mountain Club. The eight-mile hike, with 800 feet of ascent, will start at the end of Lake View Road north of Bryson City, pass through the notorious “Road to Nowhere” tunnel and loop down to Forney Creek. The hike will access some easy trails with views of old homesites, scenic water and perhaps even the “Broken Promise” billboard. The hike is open to the public. Those interested who are not members of the Carolina Mountain Club should call hike leader (and Xpress columnist) Danny Bernstein at (828) 236-0192, anytime between 5 and 9 p.m., to register. (No emails, please; calls only.) This is an all-day hike, and participants should bring comfortable hiking boots, a pack, lunch, two quarts of water and a rain jacket. The event is co-sponsored by Diamond Brand Outdoors.
Get in touch with your inner tube: It’s nearly time again for a lazy float or paddle down the Big Murky — our beloved French Broad River. The nonprofit RiverLink will again team up with rafting company Southern Waterways to offer sunset cruises along the groomed banks of the Biltmore Estate. Vessel options range from inner tubes to kayaks. This year’s excursions are scheduled for June 9 and 23, July 14 and 28, and August 11 and 25. Cruises cost $40 per person, with $5 going to benefit RiverLink. For more info, call 232-1970.