You wanted to take a whitewater kayaking course last year — but didn’t. You swore you’d finally spend that week on the AT you’ve been promising yourself since college — but didn’t. You also didn’t train for an ultramarathon, take a weekend canoe camping trip or climb Looking Glass Rock.
2012 — where did you go?
Disappointed with last year’s adventure resume? Don’t let 2013 be a repeat of 2012. Vow to make this your Year of Adventure. And start now by making a plan.
Now, a true year of adventure consists of numerous small adventures and maybe one or two big ones. (It is called a Year of Adventure, after all, not a Long Weekend of Adventure.) Say your goal is that epic backpack trip, a week — at least — on the Appalachian Trail. You just don’t go out and hike 15 miles a day, seven days in a row, with 35 pounds on your back. You lead up to it, with a series of smaller adventures in the form of training hikes.
But all the good places to hike are in the mountains, you grump.
Au contraire, mon adventurer-in-training.
Go to our Hiking Page and you’ll discover five hikes near each of our seven markets. Say you’re in Greensboro and your goal is to get in at least two hikes a month. On our Greensboro Hiking Trips you’ll discover five of our favorite hikes. Only got a couple hours? The Lake Brandt/Palmetto Trail and the Piedmont Environmental Center are good options. If you’ve got time for a day hike check out nearby Hanging Rock State Park or Mayo River State Park or the Birkhead Wilderness of the Uwharrie National Forest.
You start exploring our recommended trails and begin to feel good about your hiking. Time to add camping to the mix. Before committing to a backpack trip you’ll want to field test your equipment, not to mention your camping skills, in a more controlled setting. Check out our Camping page and you’ll find find five places to car camp near where you live.
Next step: a short backpack trip. Come by the shop to explore our map section and scout potential trips, or meander over to books and pick up a copy of “Backpacking North Carolina,” where you’ll find good warm-up trips of two, three and four days. Finally, you’re ready for your epic on the AT. Start planning with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s maps and guidebooks, which cover everything you need to know — from shelter and campsite locations to water sources — to plan and execute a trip capping your 2013 Year of Adventure.
Maybe you’re flummoxed by all the options in the adventure world and aren’t sure where to start? A good source of inspiration is your local Great Outdoor Provision Co. shop. Spend half an hour wandering the aisles and chances are you will find motivation in the most curious of places. Pick up some maps at random; A region you thought you were familiar with may reveal a valley or ridgeline you don’t know at all. Maybe you pick up a copy of the “Shining Rock/Middle Prong Wilderness Map”; you’re as comfortable at Shining Rock as you are in a 0-degree down bag on a January night. But Middle Prong? What’s over there? Or perhaps the quirky “The Linville Gorge Hiker’s Guide,” a grassroots effort with homemade maps, mimeograph (Google it, kids) quality and grainy pictures catches your eye. Start thumbing through and you quickly discover a ton of insidery information about one of the wildest places on the East Coast. Intrigued? You bet.
Motivation can come in unlikely places. A trip to the camping department reveals a titanium spork that suddenly makes you want to spend the evening huddled in the dark and cold over a can of beans. In boats you realize it’s been way too long since you’ve had yours out on a winter paddle, while a trip through outerwear makes you realize it’s rarely too cold in North Carolina to get out and explore. Maybe you discover something entirely new, maybe something you’ve thought about, but never pursued until you pick up a flier for a day-long fly fishing class on a nearby lake. A one day lesson, a handful of day trips to local hotspots and who knows, you could be fly fishing for cutthroat trout in the Rockies come July. Does a river run through you? You won’t know until you put a fly rod in your hand.
We’ve got the resources to help make sure 2013 doesn’t disappoint. Let’s get started on your Year of Adventure!
curated by Joe Miller