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Our upcoming adventures …



We had great intentions for the weekend past. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans, and the three hikes we had on the books — under a full moon Friday evening on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, at Crowders Mountain State Park, and a GetHiking! the Southeast’s Classic Hike on the Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest — were all scratched.

The Crowders Mountain hike has been rescheduled (see below) for Saturday, Feb. 13. We’ll have another night hike on the books soon, and the Neusiok Classic Hike will be rescheduled in the next few days.

GetHiking! Charlotte’s Best-Kept Hiking Secret
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, Feb. 13, 8 a.m.

The McDowell Nature Preserve occupies more than 1,100 acres on the banks of Lake Wylie. The preserve has 7 miles of hiking trail, a little under 5 1/2 of which will be our objective Saturday morning. Expect to spend 3 to 4 hours, with breaks, exploring this moderately challenging terrain. Not up for 5.5 miles? There’s a 2.3-mile option.

Hike leader: David Brantley
More info and to sign up, at the GetHiking! Charlotte Meetup site.



GetHiking! Medoc Mountain State Park
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.

Medoc Mountain State Park, with 10 miles of trail on 2,300 acres, is less than an hour and a half from the Triangle, yet remains unknown to most Triangle hikers. If you fall into this category, make plans to familiarize yourself with the park on Saturday’s hike. We’ll hike 6 to 8 miles over gently rolling terrain (save the assault on 325-foot Medoc Mountain). Shorter options possible.

Hike leader: Anne Triebert
More info and to sign up, at the GetHiking! Triangle Meetup site.

GetHiking! Double Loop at Crowders Mountain
GetHiking! Charlotte


When: Saturday, Feb. 13, 8 a.m. (rescheduled from Jan. 30)

Hike leader David Brantley lives a stone’s throw from North Carolina’s Crowders Mountain State Park and he’s eager to share some of his favorite hikes at the park west of Charlotte. On Saturday, he’ll do a double loop from the Visitor Center, first to Crowders Mountain and back, then to Kings Pinnacle and back.
Crowders Mountain The first loop is about 5.2 miles, the second around 3.

Hike leader: David Brantley
More info and to sign up, on the GetHiking! Charlotte Meetup site.

GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes: Uwharrie Trail
GetHiking! Charlotte, Triad, Triangle
When: Saturday, Feb. 20, 8:30 a.m.


Our second hike in our GetHiking! The Southeast’s Classic Hikes series is to the Uwharrie National Forest of central North Carolina for a day on the Uwharrie Trail. Blazed in the 1970s by local Boy Scouts, the trail once extended 50 miles, serving as the north/south spine of the Uwharrie National Forest. By the early 1990s, the trail had diminished to just over 20 miles, but recent efforts by local volunteers have gotten the trail back to about 40 miles. We will again have a long and short version of this hike.
Both hikes will start on Section 3 of the trail, on Pisgah Covered Bridge Road (find a map to the trailhead here), which includes a climb up King Mountain, at 1,103 feet the highest point on the Uwharrie Trail. We continue on to Section 4, which climbs Little Long Mountain (pictured) for the only 360-degree view of the Uwharries. The shorter hike ends at the end of Section 4, at the Jumping Off Rock Trailhead, for a total distance of 6.3 miles. As the climbs up King and Little Long mountains suggest, this stretch is more taxing than the mileage might suggest, making it a good early season challenge.
The longer hike will continue another 11.5 miles (17.8 miles total), through the rolling hills of the Uwharries. There’s more climbing, making this option an especially good training hike for spring and summer trips in the mountains.
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.

Gear of the week: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite

The Western Mountaineering Alpinlite sleeping bag is wider (64 inches/39 inches, shoulder/foot girth) than your typical, constricting mummy bag, yet warm enough to handle a typical winter night in the Southern Appalachians (thanks in part to a 3-dimensional full down collar). Despite its features, it weighs a modest 1 pound 15 ounces! This bag is filled with goose down, 5 inches of which will be between you and the ground (we still recommend a sleeping pad), and can withstand temperatures down to 20 degrees. Besides, who doesn’t love a product made in the good ol’ US of A?

Tip of the Week:  Happy feet make a happy hiker!

It’s always a good idea to bring an extra pair of socks on a hike when conditions look messy — and even when they don’t. But did you know it’s also a good idea to wear a different pair of shoes to the trail? Drive to the trailhead in something comfortable, your feet will thank you when the hike is over and you get to slip back into your favorite bunny slippers! If the weather is warm, removing boots during a break to let your feet cool works wonders with rejuvenation. Another option is soaking feet in a stream or river for a few minutes to reduce swelling that might occur. In colder weather, elevating your feet during breaks is a simple way to alleviate pain in your feet.

Resource of the week: Selecting a sleeping bag

Maybe the Western Mountaineering Alpinlite (see Gear of the Week) isn’t what you need, but you are in the market for a good sleeping bag. Check out this Sleeping Bag Buying Guide from to learn more about which bag is best for your adventures!