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: Hike, camp, backpack



GetExploring! at Umstead

Rain can foil some adventures (see below). Some, however, it has the ability to enhance.
As the wet weather lingers, and appears to linger into Saturday, we’re planning a hike on trail that, we think, falls into the category of Better When Wet. Or at least, Not Half Bad in the Rain.
The Company Mill Trail at Umstead State Park in Raleigh is a six-mile lollipop loop. The “stick” portion of the lollipop crosses three mild ridges on its descent to Crabtree Creek, where as recently as the 1930s, a mill once operated. Today at the mill site, the breached mill dam funnels water through a narrow sluice that, during and after a good rain, looks more like a Class III mountain run than a placid Piedmont creek. The loop portion of the hike climbs from the creek into a mature Piedmont hardwood forest. A consistent up-and-down, but nothing too taxing.
Another advantage of wet conditions: You’ll have the most popular trail in the park pretty much to yourself.
For more information on the hike and to sign up, visit our GetExploring! Greenville Meetup page. And for tips on gearing up against wet weather, check out “Gear Up for Walking in the Rain” at

Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake
MST Day-Hike sections R, S, T in Durham County
GetHiking! Triangle, Triad


When: Sunday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m.
Distance: 9.7 miles (with a 4-mile option)
Type of hike: Shuttle (point-to-point)
Difficulty: Moderate, due to length; a relatively flat hike overall.

One of our favorite hikes during our favorite season. Much of the  Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake can be characterized by trail rising and falling as it follows the contour of Falls Lake’s south shore. This 10-mile stretch at the western end is different. Hiking east from Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve you immediately notice the difference as the trail has minimal contact with water, climbing a bluff (you can glimpse the Eno River below), then dropping into a rich bottomland forest. At the four-mile mark, the trail crosses Red Mill Road and enters an area of farm fields divided by forest. Falls Lake makes its first appearances, and there are signs of an agrarian past that disappeared when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought land in the late 1960s and 70s to make way for Falls Lake. We encounter rail lines present and past, we spend time in more bottomland forest, we submerge further into (but still above) patches of swamp. A good hike in any season, it’s especially rewarding as fall color begins to unfold.
Hike leader: Joe
More info and to sign up, go here.

GetHiking! at Umstead, then Climb at TRC
Umstead State Park, Raleigh/Triangle Rock Club, North Raleigh
GetHiking! Triangle

GH.TRC2_When: Sunday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Type of hike: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate

This proved a popular duathlon last year so we thought we’d try it again. We start with a late afternoon 4.5-mile lap on an abbreviated stretch of the Sycamore Trail at Umstead, then head down the road 10 minutes for some indoor climbing on the 30-foot walls at the Triangle Rock Club’s North Raleigh gym. If you’re not a climber, perfect: there will be plenty of qualified belayers on hand to offer advice and to keep your back should their advice not work. Admission and harness rentals are free for this event. Plus, since the climbing portion of the event is after hours, we’ll have the gym to ourselves.
Hike leader: Joe M.
More info here.


GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking

SouthMountains2We still have four spots left in the October session of our four-week Intro to Backpacking course, which begins Sunday. The course consists of three training sessions focusing on a vital skill each week. Week One: Gear and packing; Week Two: Setting up (and breaking down) camp; Week Three: 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.
Each session is limited to 12 participants; a final fall session is scheduled for November. This is a fee course: $75 for the session; Great Outdoor Provision Co. offers incentives, including a $35 gift card.

Learn more about the program here.


FamiluyCampingIntro to Family Camping
We’ve postponed the start of our new Intro to Family Camping program, which means there’s still time for your brood to get on board. The program is aimed at parents who grew up deprived, in non-camping families. If you didn’t grow up camping, it can be intimidating taking yourself into the woods to live, let along taking the kids. Our clinic aims to take the fear out of the fun. It includes two training sessions: at the first, you’ll get a basic introduction to camping, touching on gear (and gear you may already have around the house that can substitute) and logistics. The second session will get more specific, with hands-on camp set-up, logistics and what you and the kids can do for entertainment on a camping trip. Then, you’ll get a chance to put those skills to work with a weekend overnight family camping trip to Medoc Mountain State Park.

Cost of the clinic is $95 per family, and is limited to the first 10 families to sign up. Included in the fee are dinner and breakfast on the graduation trip, plus incentives from Great Outdoor Provision Co.

We’ll have an information session on the program Wednesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Great Outdoor Provision store in Raleigh’s Cameron Village.

Learn more about the program and sign up for the information session by going here.

Gear of the week: Mountain Hardwear Convertible Pants

We’re getting into zip-off season, that time when the hike in the sunny part of the day screams Shorts!, while a little latter, with the sun making its early exit, that scream turns into a shiver. L-l-long pants, please. Convertibles are the obvious option. My current favorite in the convertible category is the Mountain Hardwear Castil Convertible Pants. The pants are durable, their nylon ripstop fabric taking the brunt of thorny vines so my legs don’t have to, they’re lightweight and the legs zip on and off quickly, with color-coded zippers to keep you from pondering the right/left conundrum while your fellow hikers are ready to move in. Also to my liking: they’re a bargain, at $65 retail.

Tip of the week: Extra socks

I’m a fan of hiking in the rain (which explains why I’m weathering the current wetness better than most). I’m also a fan of staying dry. Paradox? Actually, pair of socks. That’s one of the keys to staying dry on a wet trail — by packing an extra pair of socks. Even with the most watertight hiking shoes or boots, a little dampness is likely to seep into your socks, and wet socks, as we all know, lead to all sorts of problems. Should that happen, find a dry place to pull over and put on your spare dry socks. Your feet are instantly happier, your body will be soon to follow.

Resource of the Week: Waterproof yourself

Extra socks are a good start. But to really make yourself bulletproof from the elements you need to do more. Not a lot, but enough that when you’re out in the rain, the rain doesn’t invite itself in to you. Find more tips on getting geared up for wet weather at

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