Go long this weekend with GetHiking! at Crowders Mountain, Doughton Park and on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The following items are from our GetExploring! Greenville and GetHiking! Charlotte, Triad and Triangle enewsletters. All enewsletters are delivered, upon request, to subscribers’ email boxes on Mondays. If you’d like to sign up for this free service, email joe@getgoingnc.com.

What’s up in the GetHiking! and GetExploring! worlds this week and beyond.

Inspired by the breath of cool weather sweeping the Piedmont the start of this week, our GetHiking! chapters in Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle all have long hikes planned for the weekend. It’s a great opportunity to start getting your hiking legs back for the fall season that’s just ahead.

Ridgeline Trail, Crowders Mountain

Ridgeline Trail, Crowders Mountain

GetHiking! Prep for fall: Crowders 6, 8, 10, or 12 Miles
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, August 27 and again on Sunday, August 28, 8 a.m.
Where: Crowders Mountain State Park, Boulders Access, 108 Vandyke Road, Kings Mountain

We’ll hike two hours north on the Ridgeline Trail, then turn and hike back, for a total of roughly four hours. Your pace determines the distance covered. If you hike at a 3 mph pace, you’ll do 12 miles, hike a 2 mph pace and you’ll do 8. The trail is over rolling terrain.

Hike leader: Lisa
More info here

Bluff Mountain Trail, Doughton Park

Bluff Mountain Trail, Doughton Park

GetHiking! Prep for Fall: Doughton Park
GetHiking! Triad
When: Wednesday, August 17, 6 p.m.
Where: Old Battleground Road, Greensboro

Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Park Escarpment is especially beautiful in late summer when the thistle is blooming and butterflies abound. This hike begins on the Cedar Ridge Trail, which gets much of the climbing out of the way in the first  4.5 miles. Then it’s on to The Bluff Ridge Trail for 7.5 miles of outstanding views, followed by a 5-mile descent back to the trailhead via the Flat Rock Trail.

Hike leader: Jean Hylton
More info here

Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake

Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake

GetHiking! Prep for Fall:  10 Miles on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Sunday, August 28, 9 a.m.
Where: Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Rollingview Access at Falls Lake

This is a great first long hike of the season, covering 10.6 miles of rolling terrain along the south shore of Falls Lake. After setting a shuttle, we will hike west on the MST from NC 50, sometimes within view of the lake, sometimes not. At the 7-mile mark, we have a brief encounter with NC 98, then resume our trek into some of the Triangle’s quietest natural areas. Depending upon your pace, expect this hike to take 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

Hike leader: Joe Miller
More info here

Lake Brandt

Lake Brandt

GetHiking! on the Palmetto Trail at Lake Brandt
GetHiking! Triad
When: Wednesday, August 24, 6 p.m.
Where: Old Battleground Road, Greensboro

Wind down the day with this 3.2-mile out-and-back on the Palmetto Trail along the banks of Lake Brandt. An easy hike, well-suited to beginners.

Hike leader: Jean Hylton
More info here

GetExploring! Greenway Bike and Brew Weekend
GetExploring! Greenville
When: Thursday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m.
Where: Five Points, Fifth & Evans streets, Greenville

The plan: Meet at the Five Points parking lot, ride to the greenway at town Common, continue through the ECU campus, head back to Five Points. Then head to Winslow’s for a pint.

Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here

 

Mount Rogers

Mount Rogers

GetHiking! Southeast’s Classic Hikes: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (Virginia) Weekend
GetHiking!
When: Friday, Sept. 23 – Sunday, Sept. 25
Where: Beartree Campground, Mount Rogers

Partial as we are to North Carolina’s mountains, you can’t have a Southeast Classic Hike Series without including the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area of southwest Virginia. Basecamp for the weekend is the Beartree Group Camp on the north flank of the Mount Rogers massif in the George Washington National Forest.

Saturday, we will hike on the Appalachian Trail from Elk Garden north (east) past Mount Rogers to Rhododendron Gap. From there, we head south and pick up equestrian/hiking trail to return to Elk Garden. This hike will be in the 15-mile range; a shorter option of around 10 miles will also be available.  The terrain is some of the most exposed in the southeast, with open meadows and rock outcrops dominating. It’s a slice of the western U.S. in Appalachia.

Sunday, we will break camp and drive to Scales for about 5 miles of hiking in similar terrain.

This hike is part of our 2016 GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes series, sequel to 2015’s inaugural GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes series

Hike leaders: Joe Miller, Anne Triebert
More info here

Max Patch on the AT

Max Patch on the AT

GetHiking! Southeast’s Classic Hikes: Appalachian Trail at Hot Springs Weekend
GetHiking!
When: Friday, Nov. 11 – Monday, Nov. 14
Where: Laughing Heart Lodge (basecamp), Hot Springs, NC

Love to hike, but not camp? You’ll be cheered to hear that our last weekend hike of the 2016 Southeast’s Classic Hikes series will be based out of the Laughing Heart Lodge in Hot Springs. We’ve blocked out the lodge for Veterans Day Weekend, for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. First, about Laughing Heart …

You will need to make your own reservations. The main lodge has 7 guest rooms, all with private baths. There’s a cabin with kitchen, and, for the budget minded, there is a hostel with rates starting at $20 per night. Learn more about Laughing Heart, which is on the Appalachian Trail, and make reservations starting here. Mention you are with GetHiking! when making your reservation. Laughing Heat can accommodate about 30 people.

Now, the hiking:

Saturday, we will have two hikes. The longer hike, 14 miles, will begin at Max Patch and head north on the AT to Garenflo Gap. The shorter hike will begin at Lemon Gap and head north on the AT to Garenflo Gap. The Max Patch hike starts atop an impressive bald, meanders downhill and along creeks for 5 miles before a climb up Walter Mountain and a longer climb up Bluff Mountain, from there it’s a 4-mile descent to Garenflo Gap. The shorter hike follows the same path from Lemon Gap to Garenflo Gap.

Sunday, we also have two hikes. The longer, 13 miles, heads north on the AT from Hot Springs up Lovers Leap Ridge (great views of the French Broad River and Hot Springs below), to Rich Mountain, then returns on the Roundtop Ridge Trail. The shorter hike, 6 miles, follows the same AT route up Lovers Leap Ridge and ends at Tanyard Gap, on US 25.

Monday, we will catch a shuttle up to Garenflo Gap on the AT and continue heading north for 7 miles back to the Laughing Heart Lodge.

This hike is part of our 2016 GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes series, sequel to 2015’s inaugural GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes series.

Hike leaders: Joe Miller, Anne Triebert
More info here

Backpacking

GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking (Triad)
GetHiking! Triad
When: Four-week session starts Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m..
Where: Training is at three locations, tbd, in the Triad

Our Intro to Backpacking course consists of three training sessions focusing on a key skill each week. Week 1: Gear and packing; Week 2: Setting up (and breaking down) camp; Week 3: Rustlin’ up a meal. Each session includes a training hike of increasing length: 2, 4.5 and 6 miles. Then, in Week Four, we take a two-night graduation trip to South Mountains State Park.

Learn more about this fee program here.

Gear, Tips, Resources

GH.Gear.823Gear: Nemo Tensor Sleeping Pad

How much is a good night’s sleep worth to you on the trail?
A whole lot more than $119.95, we reckon.
That’s what it will cost you to sleep like a hibernating bear with the Nemo Tensor Sleeping Pad. It’s lightweight (505 grams for the large size), doesn’t sound like you’re sleeping on a bag of potato chips when you change position in the middle of the night, and when packed down, assumes a modest profile in your pack. It got five out of five stars for comfort, stability and packed size in a review by besthiking.net, and was deemed “the most comfortable camp mattress I ever slept on” in a review by altitude-blog.com. Comes in mummy and rectangular sizes.
An investment a backpacker won’t lose sleep over.

Photo courtesy SectionHiker.com

Photo courtesy SectionHiker.com

Tip: The Five-Minute Tweak

We’ve offered this tip before, but it’s worth repeating, especially as fall looms and our hikes get longer.
On a short hike, you can get away with equipment that doesn’t quite fit. But when you’re hiking a couple hours or longer, ill-fitting equipment starts to rub you the wrong way, resulting in blisters, chaffing and general crabbiness. One way you can nip these problems in the bud is with the five-minute tweak.
When you start down the trail, everything may feel just right: your shoes/boots are snug (but not tight), your pack properly weighted on your hips and shoulders.
Within the first five minutes, though, that can all change.
Thus, five minutes after hitting the trail, take time to assess how your clothes are fitting. Odds are good that your boots will loosen. Take a minute to re-lace and get them snug again. Same with your pack; it may have felt great standing at the trailhead, but moving down the trail if you feel some wiggle take a minute to adjust your hip belt, your shoulder straps, your sternum strap, your load levelers (if your pack has ‘em).
A little attention early on can prevent a lot of annoyance later on.

Resource: Fall Color in NC

GH.ResourceMaybe we’re a tad premature (by a little more than a month, at our highest elevations), but if you’re like us and you enjoyed that breath of fall-like air Monday, you’re starting to think about fall hiking. And when we think of fall hiking, our thoughts naturally turn to fall color.
What are the prospects for fall color this year in the North Carolina mountains? RomanticAsheville.com shares its forecast for your favorite mountain destinations. Then, stay tuned to RomanticAsheville.com for weekly updates on color throughout the fall.