Our upcoming adventures
GetBackpacking! Conditioning Hike at Hanging Rock State Park
GetHiking! Triangle, Triad, Charlotte
When: Saturday, March 19, 9:30 a.m.
Who doesn’t like to throw 35 pounds on their back and hike 8 miles in challenging terrain?
OK, not everyone. But if you do, then check out Saturday’s GetBackpacking! Conditioning Hike at Hanging Rock. GetBackpacking! leader Alan Slay leads a conditioning hike that starts at the Visitor Center, heads down to Window Falls, returns to the Visitor Center, heads up to Hanging Rock, returns to the Visitor Center, then does a victory lap around Moore’s Knob. Roughly 2,000 feet of climbing.
Hike leader: Alan Slay
More info here
GetHiking! Let’s Take a Riverwalk
When: Sunday, March 20, 9 a.m.
Looking for a way to ease into the spring hiking life? This 6.7-mile out-and-back along the Catawba River should be good for shaking the cobwebs of a comatose offseason. Part of the Carolina Thread Trail, some of this hike is paved; as hike leader David Brantley notes, “This is an easy hike accessible for everyone — all skill levels can enjoy it.”
Hike leader: David Brantley
More info here
GetHiking! Grandfather Mountain: Profile Trail to Swinging Bridge
When: Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m.
This 9-mile hike has a little of everything. It starts peacefully enough, along a mountain creek through mature hardwoods. Then it climbs and climbs, switchbacking its way to the ridge, a rough-and-tumble spine of ancient rock. In some spots, you’ll need to climb ladders. In some, you cling to cable to work your way across a steeply sloped rock slab. And there’s the scrambling. No wonder hike leader Jean Hylton advises you should expect a pace of 40- to 50-minute miles. This hike is weather dependent (you don’t want to be atop Grandfather Mountain when dark clouds begin gathering to the west.
Hike leader: Jean Hylton
More info here
In Greenville …
GetExploring! Hike at Umstead State Park
When: Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m.
Where: Umstead State Park, Raleigh
Spring is just beginning to pop through at Umstead State Park in Raleigh, and the Company Mill Trail is a great place to witness it’s arrival. Expect to see spring beauties popping through in the floodplain along Crabtree Creek, expect bluets on the rockier stretches, look for trout lilies throughout. The hike includes a fair amount of up-and-down.
Hike leaders: Andrew and Lindsey
More info here
On the horizon
There’s more on our calendar; for details, go here.
- Cycling the Roanoke Canal Trail, Roanoke Rapids, Saturday, March 26
- Paddle at Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville, Saturday, April 2
- Hike at Medoc Mountain State Park, Hollister, Saturday, April 9
- Paddle at Goose Creek State Park, Washington, Saturday, April 23
Find your way in the woods like the pros.
GetHiking! Finding Your Way
When: Saturday, March 26, 1 p.m.
Where: Umstead State Park, Harrison Avenue entrance
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: Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp
Life is full of ironies. For instance, with the advent of Daylight Saving Time, you might think that with that extra hour of evening daylight you would have less need for a headlamp.
In fact, while we do have more daylight to play with at day’s end, in reality we have about 30 minutes less than we think we have. So when we head out for an afterwork run or hike and figure we have a good two hours, we are surprised when darkness descends after an hour and a half. Time to throw the Black Diamond Cosmo into your pack. With 160 lumens of light, you’ll have no problem seeing your way back to the trailhead. Not sure 160 lumens is enough? Then Black Diamond’s Spot (portrayed), with 200 lumens, should do the trick.
Great pricing, too. The Cosmo is just $29.95, the Spot $39.95.
Tip of the week: Tick, tick, tick
As the weather warms, it’s time for our annual tick advisory. If you’re attentive, the little parasites shouldn’t pose a threat. A few quick thoughts:
- Hitchin’ a ride: Ticks typically climb aboard low, then work their way up your body (they seem particularly attracted to your mid-section). They’re especially problematic on tight trails where you brush against flora, but they can catch a ride even on open trails.
- Precaution: The best defense is to cover your body, especially your legs. Wear long pants, tuck ‘em into your boots. You can also spray your clothing with an aerosol spray containing Permethrin. Skin sprays that work for mosquitoes and other pests are not so effective against ticks.
- Despite the best defense … These pernicious parasites have a way of attaching to your body and working themselves just about anywhere. Immediately after a hike, check your body for ticks. They’re pretty easy to remove when they first attach; use a pair of tweezers and try to remove the entire tick, including all eight legs. When you get home, have a loved one or someone you’re very open with examine you thoroughly; these little rascals can get into the darndest places.
- Watch for a bulls-eye: If, within a few days, a bullseye develops where a tick had attached, see your doctor.
Ticks happen. Quick removal should prevent tick-related illnesses from happening. Be vigilant
Resource: Hiking for Her
Here are some tips for hiking geared specifically for women. Women hikers do have different needs than men, so it’s important to recognize those and be prepared. Check ‘em out here.