Our upcoming adventures: Triangle Volksmarch, South Fork Trail, Paddling Goose Creek
Saturday, one way we plan to celebrate National Trails Day (see below) is with a 2.5-mile hike on the South Fork Trail in McAdenville. The trail is part of the Carolina Thread Trail, the ambitious goal of which is to link 15 counties in the Charlotte area with trail; thus, it will be a good opportunity to learn more about the Thread.
It will also be a great opportunity to learn about this trail, which is on a 95-acre nature preserve operated by the Catawba Lands Conservancy that has a number of unique plants including big leaf magnolias and silverbells
Learn more about the South Fork Trail here, sign up for the hike here. Learn more about the Carolina Thread Trail, here.
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And now, for something a little different.
Typically, our hikes are somewhat loose affairs. We hike at our own speed, there is minimal direction (too minimal, occasionally) — we simply go out and enjoy.
A somewhat different tact is taken by our European counterparts, especially those in Germany, where the sport of volksmarching is practiced with vigor. Just the name — people marching! — suggests a degree of … organization.
Saturday, as part of National Trails Day (see below), we’re going to try our hand at volksmarching, American style. N.C. State Parks, Public Lands Every Day and Great Outdoor Provision have teamed to sponsor Volksmarch Triangle, a 5.6-mile march hike that will start at the N.C. Museum of Art, pass through the Prairie Ridge EcoStation and Schenck Forest, and wind up in Umstead State Park. Along the way we’ll learn a thing or two and collect stamps (another aspect of the volksmarch).
We will meet at Umstead at 2 p.m. and shuttle to the start, at the Museum of Art. Plus, after the hike, there’s an after party at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village, where perhaps you can hoist a stein and let down your lederhosen as we celebrate both National Trails Day and National Land Trust Day.
For more information and to sign up, visit our GetHiking! Triangle Meetup page.
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One of our favorite paddles, this trip will start with an out-and-back up the increasingly intimate waters of Upper Goose Creek, the jumbled swampscape closing in until the creek is impenetrable. At that point we’ll return to the confluence of creeks near the the Dinah’s Landing put-in and paddle the more open waters of Flatty Creek.
Total distance: about 6 miles. The water is largely protected; a good paddle for beginners, a rewarding paddle for all. This trip is Saturday, June 13, at 10 a.m. If you don’t have a kayak, a limited number of demos may be available; inquire at 252.321.1308.
For more information and to sign up, visit our GetExploring! Greenville Meetup page.
Saturday: National Trails Day
Every year on the first Saturday in June, we take a minute to celebrate our trails — more than 200,000 of them nationwide, according the sponsoring American Hiking Society. The celebration occurs in various ways, including hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations and stewardship projects.
In North Carolina, the AHS has 31 events officially registered. Some examples:
- South Mountains State Park Hike, Bike and Ride, South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Your choice of hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding on the 18,000-acre parks’ vast trail network, much of which is multiuse. Loop routes range from 3 to 18 miles; visit backcountry check-in stations, get your card punched, win stuff. More info here.
- Doughton Park hikes, Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Laurel Springs. Various hikes on the park’s 30-mile network. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. More info here.
- Plant and Tree ID Hike at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, East Lake. Talk about a place where there’s a lot to learn, the refuge is brimming with a tangle of flora that local plant expert and refuge volunteer Bob Glennon hopes to help you unravel. 9-11 a.m. More info here.
- Walk in the Park at Cedarock Park in Burlington, 9-11:30 a.m. Take a 2.5-mile walk with a naturalist at this Piedmont park between the Triad and Triangle. More info here.
- Wintergreen Falls Hike at DuPont State Forest, 9 a.m.-noon. Three-mile hike to one of the many stellar waterfalls at DuPont, located between Brevard and Hendersonville. More info here.
Again, that’s just a sampling of the National Trails Day events across the state. For a complete rundown from the American Hiking Society, go here.
Coming up: Evening hikes
Some folks aren’t crazy about hiking in the summer; if you’re doing it in the midday heat, that’s understandable.
Last year, we thought we’d do an evening hike once a month over the summer. When 30 people showed up for our first hike, we thought maybe you didn’t mind the heat so much after all. We ended up doing evening hikes nearly every week, and hope to do as many this summer.
Keep an eye on the GetHiking! site for evening hikes. And if you’re interested in leading a hike in the evening, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even 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 NCHikes.com, as well as recommendations for five hikes suitable for the month in question.
Sunny skies, temperatures near 90, a cool lake — what could be better?
How about a bunch of standup paddleboards to borrow and some helpful folks to get you up and about?
That was the scene Sunday afternoon at ECU’s North Campus Recreation Center, where 26 of you turned out for our SUP Clinic. After a limited amount of instruction — “limited” because learning to SUP is pretty darn easy — our Explorers spent a couple hours paddling about and embracing yet another outdoor pursuit.
“The majority of the paddlers had little to no previous SUP experience,” reports our Sean Hildebrandt, “but everyone seemed to love the experience. We paddled for about two hours and then, exhausted (and some of us a little drenched) and grinning from ear to ear, we headed back to reality to dream of our next SUP adventures.”
A big thanks to Anthony and Ashley from ECU’s Adventure Programs for helping make our clinic a big success.
Gear We Like: The PhD run sock
You love your Smartwool PhD hiking socks, but come summer, they can wear warm. What to do, what to do … .
You needn’t abandon your PhDs, you simply need to switch sports, say our Greenville-based Mountains-to-Sea Trail thru-hikers in training Andrew and Lindsey. Because runners’ feet are more inclined to sweat even in cool weather, SmartWool offers a line of PhD running socks featuring mesh ventilation zones that provide temperature and moisture regulation.
“We like this sock for warm weather because of its increased breathability over the PhD outdoor,” says Andrew. That’s especially important if, like Andrew and Lindsey, you can’t afford — for training purposes or for your sanity — to take the summer off from hiking. Comes in a variety of styles, including low-cut and crew.
And if you think sweaty feet is simply a matter of comfort, consider: wet feet squishing to and fro in your shoes is a great way to develop blisters fast.
Tip of the Week: Webs of despair
Ever notice that on a summer hike, your more experienced hiking friends insist that you lead? Are they finally recognizing your competence on the trail?
No. In fact, they’re using you as something of a feather duster.
When it comes to summer hiking, it’s not the heat or the humidity. It’s those prolific spiders and their trail-crossing webs! Pity the poor, sweaty soul faced with sweeping, so to speak, the trail: It’s not just that you’re collecting webs that may have accumulated over several days, it’s that once you’re sweatiness has collected them, they can be near-impossible to shed.
A couple thoughts on the matter.
First, what a great time to experiment with hiking poles, if you don’t already use them. Especially in tight passages through trees, form an “X” with the poles in front of you and collect most of the accumulating weaveage.
If you remain averse to poles, fetch a long stick or tree branch from near the trailhead; brandish it much like a drum major keeping the tooting troops in line, with a series of back-and-forth waves. You may not catch everything, you will will catch a lot.
Plus, it adds an upper-body workout to your hike.
Resource of the Week: Hot weather hiking tips from Trails.com
Summer really can be a good time to hike, despite the spider webs (see above), despite the sweaty feet (see above that).
It’s just a matter of being prepared.
The folks at Trails.com have assembled some thoughts on the topic, which they’ve assembled into a Six Step Program for the addicted year-round hiker.
Want to keep hiking through the summer? Head here, to Trails.com before you head out.