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

GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes

Bluff Ridge Trail
Bluff Ridge Trail

Our GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes series gets underway this month with our first hike on Saturday, February 21, at Doughton Park.
If you’re unfamiliar with GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes, it’s a new program in 2015: each month, we’ll hike one of the classic hikes that helps define hiking in North Carolina. Are they they best hikes in the state? Such a subjective assessment. Rather, they’re the hikes that reflect the best of our state’s hiking, from the waterfalls of Panthertown Valley to the rugged terrain of Linville Gorge to the sweeping views from Shining Rock, the Appalachian Trail and any number of other high country hikes.
This is a fee program: Each hike is $25, and it costs $50 to join. Your joining fee includes your first two hikes, plus a monthly emagazine with everything you need to know about the hike (including maps, elevation profiles, distances, trail highlights, local camping and lodging and more), a GetHiking! T-shirt, a swag bag for every hike, a 10 percent discount on hiking gear here at Great Outdoor Provision and more.
Each hike will include a long and a short option. (For Doughton Park, for instance, there will be a 17.2-mile loop hike starting from the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, climbing to the ridge and the rolling meadows along the Bluff Mountain Trail, then descending a mellow ridge back to the trailhead; the short version will be 6 miles along the ridge, on the Bluff Mountain Trail.) Each hike will be capped at 20 hikers. If the wait list exceeds 10, we will add a second hike on the same weekend.
Registration for the program is open and sign-ups for the Doughton Hike begin today. Learn more about the program here, or email for more information.

Night Hike for Newbies

Princeton Tec Byte
Princeton Tec Byte

Night hikes have been a staple of our GetHiking! Triangle group since the beginning. Umstead State Park, Eno River State Park, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake — all great places to hike in the dark. They’re great in the light of day as well, of course, but there’s something about venturing out at night that’s a little different, a little extra special.
It can also be a little intimidating for a first-timer, especially among hikers used to navigating under the beam of a headlamp. You tend to be timid the first time, the worry of holding others up intensified. That’s why Anne has scheduled our first GetHiking! at Night for Newbies, on the MST Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The hike is a loop that Anne plans to hike twice for a total distance of about 3.5 miles. Only up for one lap? Stop at 1.75.
We have a limited number of loaner headlamps available, if you’re interested but are torchless. Read more about the hike and sign up here.

GetExploring! to explore Medoc Mountain

GH.MedocMountain2Road trip!
Saturday, we’ll head up to Medoc Mountain State Park to explore this park where piedmont meets coastal plain. Medoc Mountain is where you start to see some elevation (it’s namesake peak is 320 feet!), where you’ll encounter the hardwood forests typical of the Piedmont, and where, if you’re quiet, you’ll see opossums and gray foxes, and river otter, muskrat and beaver near the creeks. As we hike along Little Fishing Creek you
Mudpuppy may be lucky and spy the rare Carolina mudpuppy, a large aquatic salamander found only in the Neuse and Tar river systems.
We’re planning to hike about six miles of the 10 miles of trail in the park. Estimated hike time, 3-4 hours.
The hike begins at 10 a.m. Carpooling is encouraged. Check out our Meetup site for more details and to sign up.

Recent Adventures: Medoc Mountain, the MST in Greensboro

GetHiking! Triangle on the summit of 320-foot Medoc Mountain!
GetHiking! Triangle on the summit of 320-foot Medoc Mountain!

For most of the 26 hikers on Saturday’s GetHiking! Triangle visit to Medoc Mountain State Park, the hike was a nice introduction to a park that definitely needs introducing. Despite a “mountain” (320-foot Medoc), despite a lovely stream (Little Fishing Creek), despite bluffs and human history that includes the first vineyard in “The New World,” the park’s blue highways location between Louisburg and Roanoke Rapids keeps it off the radar for many explorers.
We’re guessing that hike leader Anne’s introduction is the catalyst the 26 on this hike needs to make Medoc Mountain a regular stop on their hiking circuit.
Meanwhile, our GetHiking! Triad group under the direction of new hike leader Otis helped us kick off the year with a series of midweek hikes exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Watershed Lakes. Hikes in the series ranged from 4 to 7 miles, covering the statewide MST as it passes through northern Greensboro.
We look forward to more hikes — midweek and otherwise — from Otis.

Tip of the Week: Frozen tundra

This time of year, when the ground gets wet and the temperature says on the cool side (mid-40s and below), the ground tends, at  to stay wet. Even if it’s been several days since the last rain, the ground, especially in shaded spots, will take a while to dry out. That can lead to mushy conditions.
Sinking into the soft slop is one thing. When it stays even colder (mid-30s and below), that slop will freeze. Now, instead of sinking, you’re stepping on a hard, crusty structure of ex-slop. What had been a messy annoyance now becomes an ankle-twisting threat.
To avoid the latter, keep an eye out in low-lying sections of trail in particular for threatening terrain and don’t be timid about side-stepping it.

Resource of the Week: Your local bookstore

IMG_6659-1A lot of what drives us to the trail is our sense of adventure. At the trailhead, or on a map or in a guidebook long before you even reach the trailhead, you wonder, “Where will this take me? What will it be like?”
Thus, it’s not surprising that if you love a good adventure you love a good adventure on the page as well. And nowhere will you find a better selection of literary adventure escapes than in the “Travel Essays & Adventure” section of Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh. From Mark Adams’ “Turn Right at Machu Pichu” to “Buried in the Sky” by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan, you’ll find five, four-foot-wide shelves of adventure (with very few duplicate copies).
A recent exploratory trek to Quail Ridge turned up Noah Adams’ “Far Appalachia: Following the New River North.” It’s a collection of essays by the NPR correspondent that reflect the people and places along the New, from its origin atop Snake Mountain in North Carolina until it merges with the Gauley in West Virginia to form the Kanawha River. It’s an area I’ve explored, but one I haven’t known very well, until now.
If you don’t live in the Triangle, odds are there’s a good local bookstore near you with a similarly broad collection of literary adventure.

Gear I Like: A good multitool

CRKT Zilla Tool Jr.
CRKT Zilla Tool Jr.

We have some fellas in the GetBackpacking! program who believe a good knife is determined by how big it is. Granted, for certain jobs — bushwhacking dense overgrowth, fending off a grizzly — bigger is better. But for most of our basic trail needs — working a knot out of a bootlace, ripping through a power bar wrapper — the small blade of a multitool works just dandy. And depending upon the multitool you get, you’ll get a multitude of additional tools as well: scissors, pliers, toothpick, tweezers, can opener, gizmo perfect for getting dirt out from under your nails.
The multitool options are seemingly endless, which makes shopping for one pretty fun. Think beforehand about what you might need in a multitool, then maintain an open mind as you shop and discover options you hadn’t considered (corkscrew?).
My personal favorite: the Leatherman Micra. Not so much for any particular feature, but because I got it for $5 at the State Surplus Warehouse in Raleigh. They had, literally, hundreds — confiscated from folks trying to board planes at RDU.