With the highest mountains east of the Black Hills, 5 national forests covering nearly 3 million acres, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 34 state parks and 4 state recreation areas, and numerous additional lands held by various land conservancies, North Carolina is a top destination for hiking and backpacking. Explore your options at NCHikes.com.
GetHiking! with NCHikes and Great Outdoor Provision Co.
A little self promotion, if you’l forgive me. Saturday marks the first hike in our new GetHiking! Triangle program (a program we hope to spread ). Working with our sponsor, Great Outdoor Provision Co., our goal is two-fold. One, to get aspiring hikers out the door and into the woods. If you’ve taken a hike or two in your life and liked it but, for whatever reason, haven’t hiked more, GetHiking! Triangle is for you. We aim to take the mystery out of hiking and to expose you to some of the great trails in the Triangle and beyond. Our second goal is to take more experienced hikers who find themselves hiking the same trails week after week and expose them to the vast network of trails in the Triangle, the Piedmont and statewide.
Our first hike is Saturday, Sept. 14, at Umstead State Park. We’ll be doing the popular Company Mill Trail in a baby bear/mama bear/papa bear approach. Newcomers have the option of an out-and-back down to Crabtree Creek (2 miles), more experienced hikers can do a 4.5-mile truncated version of the trail, while folks up for a good workout can do the entire 6-mile lollipop loop. And the weather for our first hike could not be better, with WRAL calling it “A spectacular day with lots of sunshine, very comfortable temperatures and low humidity.”
You can keep tabs on our weekly hikes and other activities by joining our GetHikingTriangle! Meetup group. And if you don’t have plans for this Thursday night, we’ll be kicking off the program at Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s Cameron Village store at 6:30 p.m. We’ll talk about where we’ll be hiking this fall (with slideshow), we’ll have refreshments (including a local craft beer tasting) and everyone gets a free pair of SmartWool hiking socks! Find more info here.
November: it’s a roll-of-the-dice time of year to be on the trail — and that’s what makes the month so appealing. You could be on a trail high in the Appalachians and it could be 65 degrees under a brilliant sky — or it could snow. You could be hiking a state park in the Piedmont and be in shorts and shirtsleeve — or you could be breaking out your fleece for the first time this season. And at the coast, well, the bugs should be at bay, leaving just about any hike wide open. (Although the coastal hike we’ve chosen for this month is based less on the absence of bugs than people.) Take advantage of November’s Novemberness and hike! Read on ...
An epic fall? Take the Ultimate Hike
Saturday, I will stand in front of about 50 people at Umstead State Park and tell them that their lives are about to change in ways they can’t imagine.
Those 50 folks will be about to take their first steps on an epic adventure called the Ultimate Hike. You could be one of them.
Ultimate Hike is the chief fundraiser for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. CureSearch is a nonprofit that traces its roots back to 1987. Though its name has changed over the years, its mission has not. The nonprofit funds research efforts to fight children’s cancer. If there’s a more noble effort to support, I’m pressed to think of it. The primary way these newbie hikers lives will change is through the stories they’ll hear of children and families touched by childhood cancer, the No. 1 cause of death by disease among kids. The very children and families they’ll be raising money to help. More about that shortly.
The lives of these 50 hikers will change in another big way. That’s especially true for the roughly 50 percent who come into the program having little if any experience on the trail. For many of the others, it’s likely been 10 or 20 or 30 years since they last hiked. Yet here they are, bodacious in the assumption that in just 12 weeks they’ll be able to hike 28.3 miles in the mountains. But before they can hike 28.3 miles, they’ll have to start with the 4.5 miles planned for that morning. For some, that 4.5 miles will be more challenging than the 28.3.
Which is just fine, because I have a plan to whip them into shape.
Since Ultimate Hike came to the Triangle three years ago I have been the local hiking coach. My job is make sure each one of these 50 hikers is ready come Hike Day, which this year is Nov. 9. Read more here ...
Where to hike in 7 N.C. cities
The dog days of summer have passed; now, the temperature is having trouble getting much past 80 during the day and is slipping below 60 at night. The air is dry, the sky clear, the bugs are being kept at bay.
It’s fall hiking season.
But where to hike?
If you live in one of seven major North Carolina cities, NCHikes.com and sister site GetGoingNC have solved your dilemma. Actually, NcHikes, GetGoingNC and Great Outdoor Provision Co. have joined forces to solve your dilemma.
In September, we launched a joint effort intended to help you find places to get out and play in all sorts of ways. Because it’s the start of the fall hiking season, we starting with hiking. GetGoingNC has identified five great hikes in or near each of Great Outdoor Provision Co’s seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. We’ve written up descriptions of each location and provided all the information you need — location, directions, route details and more — to plan and execute your hike. Read on ...
The following post originally appeared on our sister site on March 6. I was reminded of it by the prospect of a cooler, albeit wet, weekend ahead suitable for a nice hike. It is rerun here, in its entirety.
I awoke to gray skies, a steady rain and temperatures in the upper 50s.
Perfect day for an off-trail hike.
Alas, only nine other folks shared my feelings for Rod Broadbelt’s annual Wilderness Hike at Umstead State Park. The hike, 98 percent of which is advertised as being off-trail, has in the past attracted more than three times as many hikers. Through the Raleigh Recreational Hikers Meetup alone, at least 25 people were signed up. Yet the prospect of 10 miles in the rain off-trail apparently dampened the spirits of the masses. The weather only made me that much more excited. There’s something more intimate about the forest when it’s dripping wet, especially in winter. The season’s drab brown leaf-littered floor takes on a coppery glow, gray tree trunks take on a metallic sheen and the close, wet air adds an intimacy, a coziness if you will that makes hiking the woods a more personal affair. Read on ...
For the traditional shuttle you need two cars; you can’t do a point-to-point solo. If there are just two of you, you both have to drive. That’s not only a waste of gas, it eliminates catch-up time on the drive (not that you won’t be talking on the trail). Setting up a shuttle also eats into valuable hiking time. And what if something happens to the shuttle car or driver? In November, four of us were hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail west of Mount Pisgah. As the trail crossed the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of our party suddenly decided he was through. He flagged a passing car and before we knew it he disappeared down the road — to his/our shuttle car at trails’ end. Now what? Read on ...
The next time I go backpacking alone in a swamp for the first time, I think I’ll go with someone. By day, a swamp isn’t much different than the rest of the outdoors, albeit a little wetter. But as the light begins its hasty retreat for the day (a retreat made all the hastier by the dense swamp vegetation: the dense canopy of a hardwood forest with its share of impressive beech trees, a dense understory chocked with bays) it’s amazing how much more amplified and primordial a swamp sounds. Ducks taking flight could be pterodactyls, squirrels crashing about in the brush take on the aural heft of eastern cougars, mischievous raccoons might as well be black bears (which do, occasionally, enter the park) lurking in the dark. Light (or the lack there of) and sound do wonders for time travel. Read on ...
Looking for a good 80-or-so-mile backpack trip through an urban wilderness? It could happen before long on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail through the Triangle. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a work-in-progress path across North Carolina. Starting atop Clingman’s Dome on the North Carolina/Tennessee border and ending about 1,000 miles later at Jockey’s Ridge on the coast, the trail, about half of which is done, would provide an opportunity to walk the length of the state. A key component of that goal: places to camp along the way. Read on ...
January 27, 2011 - A 20-mile walk in the woods with Rod Read on ...
February 17, 2011 - Take the back door into Middle Prong Read on ...
March 19, 2011 - The ... interesting life of a guidebook writer. Read on ..
May 9, 2011 - North Carolina State Parks gets an app. Read on ...
June 22, 2011 - Dig this: 300 continuous miles of MST. Read on ...
July 21, 2011 - In the woods a bridge is born. Read on ...
July 14, 2011 - 'Stories in Stone' a worthwhile wait. Read on ...
Coach's Corner: Long hike, achy feet
I coach Raleigh's Ultimate Hikers. Given a whistle and sweat shirt, I feel compelled to pontificate.
Nearing the end of Saturday’s 15.5 mile training hike at Falls Lake, I don’t think anyone among the 14 of us wasn’t buoyed by the prospect of getting off their feet. Sore feet goes with the territory of long days on the trail: with 19 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints and 107 ligaments per foot, there’s a lot that can go wrong down there.
Some of us, unfortunately, are more susceptible to sore feet than others. As we discussed previously, the right boots/hiking shoes and socks can help. One other thing that can help on the trail, especially if you’re susceptible to foot aches: Take periodic breaks, take your shoes and socks off, elevate your dogs and give ‘em a rest. This will be especially important to remember on The Big Day. If you suffer from foot woes, don’t hesitate to take a load off at the three rest stops and give your feet a break. The 10 or 15 minutes you invest here you’ll more than make up for on the trail with fresher feet.
At hike’s end, liberate your feet ASAP from the restrictive confines of your shoes and socks and elevate them. (Ever notice all the cars on the highway with feet sticking out the passenger window? Hikers.) The sooner you commence the recovery process the better. This is why on the evening of Oct. 27 — the day of our 28.3-mile Ultimate Hike — you’ll see me padding around the Holiday Inn Express in Lavonia, Ga., wearing a pair of bright orange, bouncy, airy Crocs.
More on the topic here.
Looking for a good granola recipe to fuel your next trip? Grace Duling won my tastebuds with this concoction she’s been refining for three years:
3 cups whole rolled oats
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup coconut (shredded)
1/2 - 1/3 cup each of almonds, cashews, walnuts
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sofghum
Mix together; spread in Texas sheet pan.
Drizzle 1/4 cup 100 percent real maple syrup over top.
Sprinkle cinnamon over top.
Bake in oven @ 280 degrees for 30 minutes.
Take from oven and let sit. Add dried fruit if you like.
Lift from pan in chunks.