The following items are gleaned 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

American Tobacco Trail

Our upcoming adventures

Hike, Saturday, May 2, American Tobacco Trail. Looking to get in some miles without the hills? Saturday morning, we’ll tackle the southernmost 12 miles of the 20-mile American Tobacco Trail running through the heart of the Triangle. After setting a shuttle, we’ll start from New Hill in western Wake County, hike north through Chatham County and conclude at C.M. Herndon Park just inside Durham.
The Chatham County section in particular includes scenic stretches. Because the trail follows an abandoned rail line, it’s a relatively flat hike — certainly the flattest 12 miles you’ll find in these parts.
For more information, check our GetHiking! Triangle Meetup page, here.

Neusiok Trail

Hike, Saturday, May 2, Neusiok Trail. The 20-mile Neusiok Trail runs through the eastern Croatan National Forest, near Havelock. It’s an intriguing run of trail, starting on the south bank of the Neuse River and winding its way south, to Oyster Bank. About three quarters of the hike, from NC 306 south, runs through a tight coastal forest dominated by pines and a snug understory. The frequent stretches of boardwalk are testament to the often marshy conditions.
But west and north of NC 306, the trail exhibits remarkable diversity. There are stretches like you’ll find to the south, but also areas that will remind you of a mountain hike: it’s rolly, not hilly, with gems of holly and galax tucked here and there. Also tucked here and there are remnants of a once popular local industry: moonshine stills.
It’s this 5.6 miles between the northern trailhead in the Pine Cliff Recreation Area and NC 306 that we will hike on Saturday.
See the GetExploring! Greenville Meetup site for more details and to sign up.


Hike. Naturalist Weekend, May 9, 10. Low Bridge Preserve. More details are available on our piggyback hikes scheduled for May 9 and 10 as part of The LandTrust For Central North Carolina’s 3rd Annual Naturalist Weekend. There will be two hikes both days, starting at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. All hikes will be lead by John Gerwin, ornithologist at the N.C. Museum of Natural Science; Sunday’s hikes will also feature Zach Orr, a rattlesnake expert who will discuss the snakes found in the Uwharries.
The hikes will be held on the LandTrust’s 1,300-acre Low Water Bridge Preserve near Troy along the Uwharrie River. The hikes are free, but you must preregister with Crystal at the LandTrust, either by phone, at 336.633.0143, or by emailing her at
Learn more about the event here.

Our recent adventures

Smokies1The Smokies: Cataloochee and Mt. Sterling. Sunday, the second hike in our GetHiking! North Carolina’s Classic Hikes series took us to the Mt. Sterling/Cataloochee area of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As our 22 hikers discovered, this is definitely an area that belongs on your list of North Carolina must-hikes.
As is the case with most of our Classic Hikes, there was a short version and a long version. The short hikers put in at the northern trailhead for Little Cataloochee Trail and hiked into the Cataloochee Valley. Though only a little over six miles, this is a challenging hike, climbing to Little Cataloochee — with rest stops at the church (and a visit inside to ring the bell), the cemetery and a log cabin — before the long and enchanting climb to Noland Gap. From there, it was a long, and occasionally wet, descent into Cataloochee Valley.
The long hikers made the arduous, 2,000-vertical foot, 2.5-mile climb up to Mt. Sterling, topped by a boreal forest, then retreated to catch the rolling Long Bunk Trail down to Little Cataloochee.
It was a mystical day in the mountains, with clouds moving in and out, and a periodic but light rain. Wildflowers were in abundance.
Our next Classic Hike will be on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, from Graveyard Fields to the Middle Prong Wilderness. See the GetHiking! Meetup site for details and to sign up.

GEG.Dismal1Paddling the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail. When it was dubbed the “Great Dismal Swamp,” the moniker was intended as a compliment — along the lines of George Washington deeming it a “glorious paradise.”
So when you’re in paradise does a little rain matter?
Not to our GetExploring! Greenville explorers, who weathered some wet from above to ply the wet below with their paddles on Saturday. We share some scenes from a glorious Dismal day.

Tip of the Week: Your keys — clip ‘em in

Most daypacks have an ingenious innovation that we sometimes fail to use (or at least I sometimes fail to use): a plastic clip on a chord sewn into the pack.It’s there for you to clip your car keys into so you and said keys don’t become separated during frequent openings and closings of your pack. Clip in and your keys aren’t likely to part ways with your pack. Again, ingenious; all you have to do is use it.
In a related note, check out later this week for the latest installment of “My Keys, MIA — again.”

Resource of the Week: TrailJournals: reports from the front

Kansas on Clingman's Dome
Kansas on Clingman’s Dome

Can’t shuck it all and hit the trail for five months? Then do the next best thing and read about those who can. is the repository for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and a host of other long trails to keep journals of their adventures. The entries are short, usually include photos, and are real-time accounts of life lived on the trail. Those of us in the GetHiking! community are tuning into the near-daily accounts of Kansas, one of our own who is currently about 200 miles into her thru-hike of the AT.
Great reading. Especially if you’re chained to a cubicle.

Gear We Like: Festive, attention-getting keychains

GH.KeychainShould you neglect to heed my advice to clip your keys into your pack (see above) and find yourself retracing your three-hour hike in search of your allowed-to-roam-free keys, it helps to have a bright, festive keychain to grab your attention as you walk mile after mile scouring the trail for your errant keys. A great place to find a bright, festive, attention-grabbing keychain?
Innovative artists and craftspeople have poured their creative energy into devising keychains that scream, “Hey, you! I’m not another gray rock but rather a cute neon yellow and green penguin that you can’t possibly overlookamid the earth tones of the trail.”
Start your keychain search here.