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

This week’s adventures: Evenings on the MST, days on the Uwharrie Trail, SUP

MST.Evening2Last summer, the plan was to throttle back, respect the heat and humidity, and offer the occasional evening hike. Turned out you didn’t mind the heat, the humidity and the occasional spider web so much, so we ended up offering evening hikes on a weekly basis for most of the summer.
Thus, we’re back, with two evening hikes this week, both on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake in celebration of Mountains-to-Sea Trail Month. The hikes:

  • Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., 4 miles, Santee Road to Rollingview Recreation Area of Falls Lake (Baptist Road). Details and sign-up, here.
  • Thursday, 6:30 p.m., 5.8 miles, from Bayleaf Church Road to Possum Track and back. Details and sign-up, here.

Both hikes are on rolling terrain typical of Falls Lake. Bring headlamps for both.

UwharrieLittleLongWe’ve got a two-prong adventure on tap this week: We’re piggybacking on The LandTrust for Central North Carolina’s Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike 2015. The event consists of two parts:

  • Thru Hike, Thursday, May 28-Sunday, May 31. A four-day, three-night, 40-mile backpack trip of the Uwharrie Trail, starting from the southern trailhead of NC 24/27 and ending off Tot Hill Road on the north end of the Birkhead Wilderness.
  • Day Hike, Saturday, May 30, from the Jumpin’ Off Rock trailhead north. About 10 miles.

If you’re interested in either the four-day backpack trip or Saturday’s day hike, you must register through The LandTrust for Central North Carolina by emailing Alicia Vasto at

Stand_Up_Paddle_Banner_1322_493_90Stand-up paddleboarding is an adventure sport enigma. At first glance it looks like a challenge: you have to somehow get upright on the board, then you have to remain upright while attempting to paddle. If you don’t have an acute sense of balance, you’re sunk, the uninitiated often assume.
In reality, stand-up paddleboarding is ridiculously easy. The boards, especially the beginner models are surprisingly buoyant and stable: getting up, using basic technique, is surprisingly easy, staying up and propelling yourself forward even more so.
Of course, it helps when you’re on calm, protected water and have a patient instructor to help you get started — both of which will be the case this Sunday when we hold our first Intro to SUP clinic. The clinic starts at 2 p.m. at the North Recreation Complex in Greenville, and lasts about two hours. It’s free, and all the gear you’ll need is provided. Still, to make sure there’s a board waiting with your name on it, it’s a good idea to sign up ASAP, which you can do at our GetExploring! Greenville Meetup site

Our recent adventures: Celebrating the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

MST.Grandfather.GroupEno River: Sunday was a remarkable day to be on the trail. For one, it was Memorial Day weekend, yet it wasn’t hot and humid, but rather warm (low 80s) and dry. Under very clear skies.
Ideal for a 10-mile hike in the Piedmont, especially on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Eno River in Orange and Durham counties. We had 14 hikers, some new to the group, some coming from as far as Kinston and Virginia. Perhaps the only regret of the day was that we didn’t bring our swim suits and floating mattresses so we could join in the cool fun on the Eno Quarry.
Check out photos from the hike here.

MST.BRP.ViewAlong the Blue Ridge: Two picture-perfect days for exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge escarpment, two great hikes.
On Saturday, eight hikers did an out-and-back on the MST from the Rough Ridge access along the southeast flank of Grandfather Mountain south to Beacon Heights and back. As this group shot (above) from Rough Ridge shows, it was indeed an ideal day to be on the trail. If you missed it, Jim Plant did a great job of capturing the day; check out his photo on the GetHiking! Triad Meetup site.
Sunday, six hikers filled up on breakfast at the Park Vista Inn & Restaurant before heading south on the MST to Jeffress Park. Along the way: great views and glimpses of the late spring wildflower show (see photos below). Again, if you weren’t there, hike leader Dave takes you there with his talented lens. For more of his work, head here.

Gear We Like: The Cotton T-shirt

A cotton t-shirt? you may be saying with brow furrowed. Didn’t you once warn us that “cotton kills”?
Indeed, that’s the general wisdom when it comes to hiking apparel: cotton absorbs your sweat and keeps it close to your body, the sweat cools —boom! — you’re in danger of hypothermia. Yet the same principal that makes cotton your enemy in cold and cool weather can be your salvation in the approaching steamy days of summer. A lightweight cotton t-shirt with a spritz of sweat can act as a form of aromatic air conditioning.
Caveats: Avoid this strategy in the high country, where a storm can move through in an instant and drop temperatures significantly; wet cotton is heavy, stick to a lightweight variety; do not attempt on long hikes, where chaffing can become an issue. And I suppose it should be noted that this approach may be more suitable to males than females.
Happy hot hiking!

Tip of the Week: Mad money

Well, not exactly “mad” money, but it’s based on the same concept: You go on a date, things don’t go as planned, you end up taking a cab home, lucky for you, you had a $20 stashed in your purse. Know what I mean, guys?
Today’s mad money-type tip comes from Shawn Downs with our GetHiking! Charlotte crew: “In my backpack, I carry an old prescription bottle. In that bottle, I have some emergency cash for those “just in case” moments where there is a fee to enter, a parking fee, or other incidentals.”
Shawn suggests carrying low denomination bills to avoid problems with making change. The prescription bottle is genius because it’s sturdy, weather resistant and should your pack fall into the wrong hands, a bottle with a prescription label for mange isn’t something likely to be messed with. Thanks, Shawn.
Got a tip you’d like to share? Pass it along …

Resource of the Week: Families on Foot

Families-on-Foot-300x298Some of you found GetHiking! because it’s a beginner-friendly program: We mix in shorter hikes, we’re patient, we vow never to leave a hiker behind.
That’s the philosophy behind Families on Foot, a program by the American Hiking Society aimed at families interested in hitting the trail, as well as at beginners. The site includes tips for hiking with kids, planning a hike, hiking etiquette and more.
Check out Families on Foot, here.