Posted on February 21, 2017
December 21, 2016. It is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. There are only nine hours and forty six minutes from sunrise to sunset. Regardless of daylight or time of the year, it’s another opportunity to get out and enjoy life. An impromptu relay adventure began with bundled and layered cyclists leaving the U.S. National Whitewater Center at precisely 7:28am. The hustle and bustle of Uptown Charlotte's workday commute quickly faded as the team ventured east. The country roads of rural Piedmont NC winded towards the tree-line confines of Uwharrie National Forrest. At a small boat launch at the intersection of NC Highway 109 and the Uwharrie River, an exchange of personnel, human powered craft occurred. The river was chilly and since the water level was low, the rocky sections required heightened attention in order to navigate the Standup Paddleboards. Appreciating the moment required slowing down. Both undisturbed and picturesque landscapes surrounded river bend after river bend. Crossing the Pee Dee River to Morrow Mountain State Park would lead to the third and final leg of our journey. Understanding that we were losing the race against the sun, the team reconvened and mapped out the fastest route to the summit of Morrow Mountain. Part road running, part trail running, and inclusive of an unexpected and steep final push, the team was greeted with an expansive and spectacular summit view at 5:13pm. Just 2 minutes shy of the day's official sunset. What began as an idea to over-utilize the shortest day of the year, turned into a full day of dreaming about what other adventures lay beneath our noses, so close to home. – Adam Bratton is the Marketing Director at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.