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

GetExploring! Let’s GO Williamston
GetExploring! Greenville
When: Thursday, May 26, 3-7 p.m.
Where: Town of Williamston
Ever drive through Williamston and wonder what outdoor opportunities lurk nearby? Wonder no more, not after attending this festival showcase groups in the area that focus on outdoor recreation and environmental education, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Commission, N.C. Forest Service, Sierra Club and more.
Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here

Falls Dam tailrace

GetExploring! Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake
GetExploring! Greenville
When: Saturday, May 28, 1 p.m.
Where: Wake Forest (Raleigh area)
Our second MST hike celebrating Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month will be on the Falls Lake stretch of the trail. This trail follows the shore of the lake through the Falls Lake Recreation Area. We are going to meet at the parking lot for the Falls Lake Tailrace Fishing Area that is just below the dam. We will be doing an out and back hike. From the tailrace area we will hike about 3.5 miles to Raven Ridge Road. The hike will be about 7 miles round trip. Make sure to bring comfortable hiking shoes, bug spray and sunscreen. We plan on the hike taking between 3 to 4 hours. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks
Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here

Home at Penderlea
Home at Penderlea

GetHiking! Mountains-to-Sea Trail Coastal Crescent route: BW Wells & Penderlea Homestead Community
When: Saturdays, May 14, 21 and 28; June 3. The third hike in this series is this Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m.
Where: Coastal Crescent route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail through both the BW Wells Savannah Preserve and the Penderlea Homestead.

Pitcher plant
Pitcher plant

We’re celebrating Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month with a series of Saturday hikes celebrating the statewide trail’s new path from Raleigh to the coast, the Coastal Crescent route.

Though the MST is flat through the preserve it’s slow-going for most hikers, thanks to the pace-slowing ecological diversity of this 117-acre wet pine savannah. In excess of 245 native grasses, shrubs, trees and wildflowers share this property, with more species added regularly. You’ll find your coastal favorites — longleaf pine, sweet bay and loblolly bay — and the exotic, including two species of pitcher plant. Noted North Carolina naturalist Richard LeBlond will help us make sense of it all, as will Jesica Blake,  Director of Stewardship for the NC Coastal Land Trust, which has preserved the property.

We’ll spend an hour and a half or so at BW Wells, have lunch, then head to a nearby historical stop on the MST’s Coastal Crescent route, the Penderlea Homestead Museum. There, Director Ann Cottle will give us a tour of this, the first of 152 homestead projects in the U.S. created under FDR’s New Deal program. 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


GBP.PrepInLotGetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking
GetHiking! Triangle
When: Four-week session starts
Now matriculating: our May class Wednesday, June 8, 6 p.m..
Where: Umstead State Park, Raleigh

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.
This is a fee course: $85 for the session; Great Outdoor Provision Co. offers incentives, including a $35 gift card. Because of the longer daylight ours of summer, the training sessions for this class will meet Wednesdays at 6 p.m., on June 8, 15 and 22, with the graduation trip June 24-26.

Learn more about the program here.

Gear, Tips, Resources

Gear: Luci EMRG inflatable solar light

GH.Gear.524You should always carry a light on a hike, regardless of whether you plan to finish well before dark. While there are several small and relatively inexpensive options, none offer the ingenuity of the Luci, solar-powered inflatable lanterns that flatten to pancake size when not in use. Now the Luci line is even better, coming in the juice-glass-size Luci EMRG version. The EMRG is 10.2 cm in diameter and compresses to 3.2 cm in height, so you can easily slip it into your pocket. Then, in an emergency, pop it out and get 25 lumens of brightness. Also makes for nice mood lighting in your tent. Maybe put on a little Barry White, chill some Boone’s Farm … how come no one makes a blacklight tent?
$9.95, at Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Tip: Creek crossings

GH.Tips.524All this rain tells us it’s a good time to trot out one of our favorite evergreen tips, on creek crossings … .
A few quick thoughts on making safe passage.

  • On a well-established trail (in a state park, for instance), there’s typically a well-established crossing comprised of rocks in the river. Take a moment to scout; the crossing should be obvious.
  • If you aren’t using trekking poles, check out the river bank for poles used (and left) by previous hikers (often you’ll find two or three of suitable height and heft). This “third leg” makes a huge difference with balance.
  • Do not assume the crossing rocks are stable. If you’re with a group, let the more experienced hikers go first and watch for wobbly rocks.
  • If you simply don’t see yourself crossing without slipping, and if the water isn’t deep (over your knee) or moving too swiftly (your call), bite the bullet and wade across. Take off your boots, tie them together, loop them around your neck, then cross in your socks (protects your feet from the river bottom and insulates them, somewhat, from the cold), then switch to your spare socks (you did pack spare socks, right?) after crossing.
Teklanika River crossing

Of course, if the creek is in flood stage, there’s no shame in retreat. If you think there is, check out our Resource (also a throwback).

Resource: Cautionary tales

We love a good adventure on our hikes — a good, safe adventure. One everyone is all but assured to return from. And while talking safety and safety precautions is good, sometimes a good cautionary tale is what truly does the trick. In that spirit, and in keeping with our Tip of the Week theme, we offer an entertaining — and hopefully attention-getting — bit of reading that appeared in Outside online in December 2013. “The Chris McCandless Obsession Problem
is about the lengths some people go to visit the last stop on “Alexander Supertramp’s” adventure — including a harrowing crossing of the Teklanika River. A good, and hopefully instructive, read.