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

highres_439030555GetHiking! Upper Thunder Hole / China Creek Trail
GetHiking! Triad
When: Saturday, May 7, 2 p.m.
Where: Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, Blowing Rock.
A chance to hike a long established route you may not be familiar with, through one of the last old growth forests below Grandfather Mountain. About 6 miles.
Hike leader: Jean Hylton
More info here

GetHiking! Sneaker Friendly Beginner’s Hike
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.
Where: Crowders Mountain State Park, Boulders Access
A longish hike, but flat. Especially good for beginners looking to up their mileage.
Hike leader: Lisa
More info here

Bentonville Battlefield
Bentonville Battlefield
Pitcher plant at BW Wells

GetHiking! Mountains-to-Sea Trail Coastal Crescent route
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Saturdays, May 14, 21 and 28; June 3
Where: Coastal Crescent route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
You’ve probably hiked the MST in the mountains; more likely you’ve hiked it in the Piedmont. But the coast? Until last year, the route of the 1,150-mile statewide trail from Smithfield to the coast had been stalled, in part because of the lack of public land along the originally intended route, along the Neuse River. In 2015, however, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and N.C. State Parks announced a new route taking advantage of an arc of public lands and conservation areas swinging through the coastal plain on a more southerly route. The new route was deemed the Coastal Crescent, and it’s the subject of four hikes celebrating Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month, in May.
Each hike has been posted on the GetHiking! Triangle Meetup page. You’ll be able to learn details about each hike soon, on the Great Outdoor Provision Co. web site.
Hike leader: Joe Miller
More info here

GetExploring! Jane’s Ride: Greenville’s Past, Present and Future in City Space
GetExploring! Greenville
When: Saturday, May 7, 2 p.m.
Where: Greenville

An urban exploration on two wheels led by Greenville’s Historical Preservation Commission and Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission. Numerous stops along the way to appreciate the past and present and contemplate the future of Greenville.

Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here.


SouthMountains2GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Four-week session starts Sunday, May 15, 9 a.m.
Where: Umstead State Park, Raleigh
Note: Three spots remain.
The 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.
This is a fee course: $85 for the session; Great Outdoor Provision Co. offers incentives, including a $35 gift card.
Learn more about the program here.


GetHiking! Finding Your Way
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Sunday, May 22, 1 p.m.
Where: Umstead State Park, Raleigh

Love the trail but uncertain about your wayfinding skills? This three-hour session goes over basic map and compass skills, then hits the trail to offer key tips on how to follow and stay on the trail, how to find it again if you stray, and how to explore off trail. We’ll start with a 30-minute map-and-compass introduction, then use that map and compass — and some Daniel Boone skills — to find our way in the woods. We’ll also do some off-trail exploring, with the goal of purposefully venturing off the trail, then rejoining it again. Our goal is to make you confident hiking alone or taking a novice friend on the trail. Course fee of $35 includes a compass.

Hike leader: Joe Miller
More info here

Gear, Tips, Resources

Gear: Velcro bike pant clip

GH.Gear.502Back in the day, we called them “bike clips,” bendy, C-shaped pieces of metal that fit over the pant leg of your chinos to keep them from getting caught in the chain of your Schwinn Varsity. Today, that bit of technology has evolved into a reflective Velcro strap that serves a similar purpose — and has applications for hiking. As we enter tick season, more of us become concerned about the little arachnids hitching a ride, then bumming a blood meal and perhaps leaving a sickly calling card. Long pants are a good start; nixing access with one of these $4 straps wrapped around your pant ankle is added insurance. Available at local bike shops.

Tip: Can’t see? Don’t step

IMG_0769A couple weeks back I was headed down a remote forest road at Bladen Lakes State Forest. Suddenly and surprisingly, the road disappeared beneath a stream, a dark stream, I later learned, draining the tannic waters of nearby Jones Lake. I peered into the dark water and couldn’t see a thing (save a lovely reflection of the sunlit canopy). The stream was maybe 15 feet wide; it looked like it couldn’t be much more than a foot deep (it wasn’t, a ranger later told me), but the troubling part was I had no idea what lie in its depths. Broken glass? Leeches? A type of localized piranha? Uncertain and miles from help, I turned back.
Perhaps had the stakes been higher — had I known there was a 30-foot waterfall up ahead, or a Pelican’s stand — I might have continued on. But minus temptation, I’d adhered to one of my guiding principals for exploring: If you’re not sure what’s there, don’t step in it.

Resource: Great Outdoor Provision Co. web site
A plug this week for our sponsor, Great Outdoor Provision Co., and their new web site. For several years, Great Outdoor has been working to build a site to serve as a resource for local explorers, suggesting great places to hike, paddle, backpack, camp and fish, plus valuable how-to advice and thoughts on gear. The new web site makes it significantly easier to find what you need. It also makes it easier to stumble into stuff you didn’t know you needed. Great for helpful information, great for workday virtual exploring.