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

Our upcoming adventures

GetHiking! Charlotte’s Best-Kept Hiking Secret
GetHiking! Charlotte
When: Saturday, Feb. 6, 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.

GetExploring! Greenville

As we take a break from leading our own adventures, we refer you to some top opportunities at our regional state parks this weekend. Attend the event, then stick around (or arrive early) and explore the park. Click on the link to discover what those value-added adventures might be.

Winter Waterfowl Hike, Saturday, 9 a.m., Pettigrew State Park, Columbia. An introduction to the many birds that winter at Lake Phelps, one of several popular spots for wintering waterfowl along our northeast coast. More info here.
Nature’s Notebook Hike, Saturday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods State Natural Area, Southern Pines. A monthly gathering involving a hike and journaling to capture the season. More info here.
Siskins & Sapsuckers: Birdy Visitors from the North, Sunday, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods State Natural Area, Southern Pines. A different kind of avian visitor spends the season at Weymouth Woods. Come see who. More info here.
Wetlands Animals, Sunday, 1 p.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. “Merchants Millpond is a wetland full of amazing and interesting animals.  Join a park ranger to find out more about the fascination wildlife we have here at the park.” More info here.

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



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: Patagonia Piolet Jacket
This week’s gear pick was made for the outdoor enthusiast who does it all. Want to go on a bike ride in the rain? Great, the Patagonia Piolet Jacket has a helmet-compatible, two-way-adjustable hood that comes complete with a laminated visor for optimal visibility in bad conditions. Want to rock climb or zip line? No worries, the Piolet has a modified Y-joint sleeve that allows the wearer to lift his or her arms without the jacket hiking up. But that’s not all – the harness-and-pack-compatible pocket placement don’t render your pockets inaccessible like most jackets when you slip into a harness or backpack. Need to hike the entire Appalachian Trail to deliver a precious diamond to a secret location in Maine? This jacket has you covered with its internal zippered security pocket. To make this jacket even more of a sweet deal, it’s completely waterproof and breathable. Incredible.

Tip: How to choose the right hiking shoe
Your friends have hiking boots, so you’ve decided to take the plunge. Before you buy the first pair you see, however, consider what type of hiking you are doing most, and which option best fits your needs.

Hiking shoe Lighter than boots, but also offers less support. Consider a shoe if you are:

  • Sticking to shorter hikes and well-made trails
  • Not carrying a lot of weight
  • Someone who has already built up considerable strength in your feet, ankles, calves, and legs, and don’t need to count on the shoe to provide a lot of support. In this case you could carry some weight, and be going on longer and more rugged trails and still be fine with a shoe as opposed to a boot.

Hiking boot More supportive and protective than hiking shoes, but will be heavier as well. Consider boots if you are:

  • Planning to go on longer hikes in rough terrain
  • Carrying a moderately heavy load
  • A beginner or less frequent hiker who needs more support to help out lesser-developed muscles, or someone who is prone to injured knees or ankles.

Backpacking boot Higher on the leg than hiking boots, and also thicker and tougher. They weigh the most of the options. Consider a backpacking boot if you are:

  • Going on long, multi-day hikes
  • Carrying heavy loads

Resource: More on boot buying
Check out this advice from for a helpful guide on choosing the  hiking boot best for you.

— Gear, Tips and Resources by Intern Emily Reeves