The following items are from our GetHiking! enewsletters for Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle, and our GetExploring! Greenville enewsletter. All enewsletters are delivered, upon request, to subscribers’ email boxes on Mondays. If you’d like to sign up for this free service, email

This month’s adventures


John Rock
John Rock

As we prepare for fall, we’re ramping up our offerings in August. Here’s what’s on tap so far. Be sure to check the Meetup site for your area for the latest. Our weekly report returns in September.

  • Early morning hike, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Wednesday, August 5, 7:30 a.m. GetHiking! Triangle. An early 4-miler on the scenic trails at NCMA, before the temps hit the 90s. More info here.
  • Cedar Ridge/Bluff Mountain, Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Saturday, August 8, 9 a.m. GetHiking! Charlotte, Triad, Triangle. This hike starts at the Longbottom Road access at the base of the Blue Ridge escarpment, climbs Cedar Ridge Trail for 4.5 miles, then meanders through meadows over to Bluff Mountain. Returns on the same route. 16 miles. More info by clicking on the appropriate Meetup, above.
  • Early morning hike, Sycamore Trail, Umstead State Park, Raleigh, 7:15 a.m., Wednesday, August 12, GetHiking! Triangle. This beat-the-heat hike will cover about 4 miles and end around 9 a.m.. Explores the heart of the park. More into here.
  • North Mills River/DuPont State Recreational Forest hikes and camping weekend, Saturday, Sunday, August 15-16, North Mills River Recreation Area, Pisgah National Forest. GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes. We’re staying in the group campground at North Mills River and using it as base camp to launch four hikes. Saturday, we’ll have hikes at John Rock (6 miles), Trace Ridge (10 miles) and Bear Branch (2 miles), and Sunday we’ll hike 3-4 miles at DuPont State Forest, checking out several waterfalls: Hooker, Triple, High and Grassy Creek (optional). This is part of the GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes fee program. More info here.
  • Great views, backpacking from the Shining Rock area
    Great views, backpacking from the Shining Rock area

    GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking Program, informational meeting, Monday, Aug. 17, 7 p.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Raleigh. Our GetBackpacking! program for newcomers revs up this fall with three four-week sessions, in September, October and November. Each clinic includes three training sessions/hikes: Session 1 focuses on packing a pack, followed by a 2-mile hike in full gear; Session 2: 4-mile hike, at the midpoint of which we set up, then break down, camp; Session 3: 6-mile hike, during which we stop and cook a meal. Week 4 is a three-day (leave after work Friday, return Sunday), two-night graduation trip to South Mountains State Park. Fee for this program is $75, which includes a $35 gift card to Great Outdoor Provision Co. Note: if there’s sufficient interest, this program may be offered in Charlotte. More info here.

  • GetBackpacking! on the Appalachian Trail, Saturday-Sunday, September 4-6, 14-mile stretch of the AT from Carver’s Gap to US 19E. We’ll leave Friday morning, hike in about 6 miles Friday afternoon and establish base camp. On Saturday, we’ll do a day hike on the Overmountain Victory Trail, then hike out Sunday. This is perhaps the most visually stunning 14 miles of trail in North Carolina (OK, some of it bleeds into Tennessee). You must have some backpacking experience to do this trip. More info here.
  • Canal at Lake Phelps
    Canal at Lake Phelps

    Paddle at Pettigrew, Saturday, August 8, Pettigrew State Park, Columbia. Lake Phelps at Pettigrew State Park is the second largest natural lake in North Carolina. Despite its 16,600 acres, the dense vegetation surrounding the lake kept it a secret from the European invasion for about 300 years. Once they tripped over it, though, they started building a series of canals to irrigate farmland being developed nearby. It’s both the lake and these connecting canals that will be the focus of our adventure. More info here.

More hikes: State Parks, Carolina Mountain Club

One of the many things we love about living in North Carolina is that you can always find a hike. As we scale back for the summer, here are two sources where you’ll always be able to find some action.

  • NCParks.Gov North Carolina’s 34(ish) State Parks hold educational events on a regular basis. Some are more active than others, but odds are that every weekend you can find a great hike at a State Park near you. This weekend, for instance, you’ll find ranger-led hikes at Mount Jefferson, Pettigrew, Raven Rock, South Mountains, Weymouth Woods and more state parks. Commence a search here.
  • Carolina Mountain Club The venerable (92 years old) and CMC holds hikes on Wednesdays and usually has three weekend hikes: half-day hikes on Sunday, full-day hikes on Saturday and Sunday. This Sunday, for instance, they have two full-day hikes, to Mount Mitchell and Alaska Falls. Check out their hike schedule here.

You can also find a weekly hike recommendation every Monday at, as well as recommendations for five hikes suitable for the month in question.

Wanted: Hike leaders

brb-21A reminder …
Here’s the deal: We want you to lead hikes. As we start to plan for the fall we’re looking for folks eager to lead hikes short and long. Not a fast hiker? Perfect! Our hikes are lead from the rear, assuring that no hiker is left behind. As long as you know the trail and can explain the route — especially any quirks — to the faster hikers, that’s all we ask.
Well, that’s not all — if you’re interested, we’ll send you our hike leader guidelines, which are simple and few and not at all restrictive. Select your own hikes or we’ll help you figure one (or more) out.
Interested? Contact me at

Tip of the Week: Pack with purpose

Even if you’re just packing the 10 Essentials in your daypack, it pays to have them organized. Organization cuts down on frustration: fumbling through your pack in the rapidly emerging dark for your headlamp, trying to remember where on Earth you stuck your knife, because it’s lunchtime and you’ve just got to cut off some salami and cheese, now! In an emergency, a well-organized pack can be crucial: a storm suddenly unleashes its wrath and there you are pawing through your pack for your rain gear. D’oh! Too late — you’re soaked.
The packing system that works best is the one that works best for you. A knife or multi-tool travels best in a zippered hip-belt pocket, for quick access. Ditto a compass. Those rain clothes work well packed in an-easy-to-retrieve dry bag (see below) at the bottom of your pack, lunch in a dry bag atop that. Figure out how often you might need something and pack it accordingly.

Resource of the Week: The aforementioned 10 Essentials

TipsIf you’re new to hiking — and even if you’ve been around the forested block but could use a reminder, the 10 Essentials are the 10 most important things you should keep in your pack.
What are they? you ask. Find out here.

Gear of the week: Sea-to-Summit Dry Bags

For the next few weeks, our gear recommendations will come from Lindsey and Andrew in Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s store in Greenville. Their suggestions result from planning for their upcoming through-hike of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, scheduled for this fall. This week: Sea-to-Summit Dry Bags.

Gear.big-river-dry-bagWe’ve talked about these before, but I can’t sing their praise enough!  These are like the multi-tool in my gear kit.  They are perfect for separating items out in packs, hanging food in a bear bag, and (of course) keeping gear dry while paddling. We’ll be relying on the 60L size while we’re on the paddle portion of our trip.  All of our gear will go into the large dry bags before being strapped into our canoe. Sizes and prices on these vary. Details here.