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

Here’s what we have planned for this week in the Get! universe.

GH.MST23Saturday: 10-miles on the MST at Falls Lake

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Mother Nature has had her fun with us and will start giving us a preview of spring soon. Hopefully, this Saturday.
That’s when our GetHiking! group will hike a 10-mile stretch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Falls Lake, a stretch selected specifically because it provides good opportunities for catching early signs of spring: meadows conducive to spring wildflower blooms, swamps and wetlands offering the aural delight of the spring peeper, bluffs where the clear canopy still lets you check out the Eno River below.
The hike is the hands-on portion of Tuesday’s night’s Wild Ideas for Getting Outside, sponsored by the Triangle Land Conservancy in Research Triangle Park. Come and hear about all the great exploring opportunities in the region, hang out for an Outdoors Expo featuring at least 20 outdoors groups, eat free food, drink free beer.  That’s Tuesday night; on Saturday, Wild Ideas Goes Outside with a series of outdoor events — including our Mountains-to-Sea Trail hike. Learn more about our hike here, learn more about other WIGO activities here.

Also on Saturday: 7.2 miles at Umstead State Park

GEG.Umstead1Our GetExploring! Greenville group returns to the Triangle this week, on Saturday, to Umstead State Park in Raleigh.
Umstead is a 5,700-acre forest in the midst of Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Chapel Hill, and is one of the most visited parks in the N.C. State Parks system, last year drawing 1.3 million visitors.
Our hike will be on the 7.2-mile Sycamore Trail, which probes deep into the park and manages to shed the masses. This lollipop loop involves a two-mile out, which connects to a three-mile loop, a good deal of which spends time along Sycamore Creek, which, after a rain (or during one), is transformed into a mountain creek. With a day or two of warm weather this week, the snow that made this past Saturday’s hike at nearby Eno River State Park a Shackletonesque affair should be gone.
For more information on the hike and to sign up, visit our GetExploring! Greenville Meetup site.

Meanwhile, in the Charlotte area …

View from the Pinnacle (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)
View from the Pinnacle (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

Our next adventure, nature willing,in the Charlotte area is March 28 (the South Fork Trail in Lincolnton). We might have another hike scheduled before then, but to sate your hiking appetite in the meantime, here are several State Park programs in the region that should keep your hiking feet happy.

  • Pinnacle Sunset Hike, Friday, 5:30 p.m., Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain. The Friends of Crowders Mountain hosts a four-mile hike to the Pinnacle to catch sunset over Charlotte and to the west.
  • Jump, Hop, Leap, Saturday, 2 p.m., South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs. Can you jump as far, proportionally, as a bullfrog? Probably not, since a bullfrog can jump 10 times its body length! This and other facts about frogs, our first responders of spring.
  • Little Bit of Everything, Saturday, 2 p.m., Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap. Here’s the plan: Show up, learn about the park, then take a hike, preferably on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, which gives great exposure to Stone Mountain.

GetExploring! the arctic Eno

GEG.EnoWinter1Some hike leaders might look out the window and say, “Eh, it’s not perfect out. Let’s reschedule.”
Not our GetExploring! Greenville’s Colton Johnson and Joe Cullipher. Instead, they looked out the window and saw the opportunity for adventure. True adventure.
While hike leaders in the Triangle were canceling outings right and left, Colton and Joe decided to press on with Saturday’s planned hike at Eno River State Park in Durham. This despite the fact that the park had received 7 inches of snow just a few days before. Freezing temperatures since meant very little had disappeared.
The result?
The pictures speak for themselves. A rare opportunity to enjoy hiking in the snow in the Piedmont, and to do so under sunny skies. The crew hiked the park’s Buckquarter Creek and Holden Mill trails, which link to form a figure-8. It was a mix of hiking along the rocky Eno and along ridgelines, all coated in white.
GEG.EnoWinter2“The trails were a little slick in some places but,” reports Joe. “I think our two participants enjoyed the hike thoroughly.”

The adventure of life itself

Life, frankly, has been adventure enough for most of us over the last couple weeks. Snow, ice, biting cold. Bored kids looking to you for entertainment. A couple days, kinda fun. Two weeks? Not so much.
It’s now March, though. Spring is just 18 days away, and Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday at 2 a.m.! And, the temperature is forecast to hit the mid 70s today!
Here’s to hoping our adventures have turned from scrounging for bread and milk to search for spring wildflowers.

Missing loaner poles

111239The good folks at Leki who loaned us the poles we loan you, are interested in providing us with newer, more advanced poles. Before they do that, however, they’d like the old poles back. It seems we’re short a set or three. Completely understandable, especially considering some hikers finish long before the hike leader and are reluctant to leave the poles unattended.
If you find yourself in possession of a pair of loaner poles, drop Joe a line at and we will figure out the best way to get them back to Leki (probably by dropping them off at your local Great Outdoor Provision Co.).

Tip of the Week: Trail cues

GH.TipLogI love this picture taken over the weekend because it illustrates how we fail to pick up on trail clues, subtle and otherwise. See the downed log about 20 yards up the way? Sometimes a downed log is just that, especially immediately after a storm. But whenever you see a log crossing the trail it’s a good idea to see if it’s actually a barrier. In this case, the log has been placed intentionally to block the way: see the log, look to your left, see the hairpin turn and the trail continuing downhill.
In this case, however, telltale footprints show a whole lot of hikers have blithely walked over the log and continued straight. (And, up close, you notice the return prints of the hikers who at some point determined their mistake and sheepishly retreated.)
See a log across the trail? Check to see if it’s trying to tell you something.

Resource of the week: Closings and delays

In the wake of a storm, most people turn to the web sites of local media to learn about closings and delays. I turn to the home page of North Carolina State Parks. Over the past two weeks, has done a great job of keeping its fan base up-to-date on park closings — and re-openings. An advisory on the home page alerted folks to the fact that some parks have been affected by recent weather, then directed visitors to check specific park sites for details. The park sites have done a good job of explaining what is and isn’t open, then following up as closed trails and sections re-open. They’ve also been good about noting that even if a park is open, trails may remain treacherous: come and explore if you wish, but be advised of the increased risk.

Gear I Like: hiking shorts

Happy-Hike-Shorts-280x280No particular kind, really. Just been thinking a lot about hiking shorts, and being able to wear them again.