Take the Backpacking North Carolina Challenge

Sometimes all you need is a little extra incentive to get you out the door and into the wild.

Like an MSR Pocket Rocket Stove. Or a Thermarest Scout Lite Sleeping Pad. Or a set of great birding guides.

Those are some of the incentives we’re offering as part of the Backpacking North Carolina Challenge 2011, which kicks off this evening at 7:30 at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. store in Raleigh’s Cameron Village.

Background: Last month, UNC Press published my book, “Backpacking North Carolina,” which, says the cover, is “the definitive guide” to “43 can’t-miss trips from mountains to sea.”  The book is geared toward beginner and intermediate backpackers — though I’ve heard from a number of seasoned vets who’ve added it to their libraries — and provides detailed information on 43 trips, yes, statewide. Most (33) are in the mountains, but there are eight trips in the Piedmont and two at the coast. (Go here for a rundown of trips in the book.) Maps, elevation profiles, a 500-word essay on the experience, trailhead directions, where to find water and campsites, what maps to take — just about everything I could think of that might be helpful in planning and executing a backpack trip.

The Challenge: Between now and October, do two trips in the book and become a member of the “Ridgeline” club, entitling you to a free water bottle and T-shirt courtesy Challenge sponsor, the Great Outdoor Provision Co. Elevate yourself to “Prospector” status by doing four trips, and GOPC will award you a free MSR Pocket Rocket stove. Do six trips from the book in the coming five-plus months and you will become a full-fledged “Mule,” earning both the MSR Pocket Rocket and a Thermarest Scout Lite Sleeping Pad.

We’ll be using Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s Facebook page for scorekeeping: Simply post photos from your trip (and a word or two about the experience) to receive credit. Prizes will be awarded at Great Outdoor Provision’s October Mountains-to-Sea Trail event, date tba.

Interested but don’t have equipment? Great Outdoor Provision is working with a couple of gear makers to provide some of the basic (and most expensive) gear for rental. Interested but don’t know anyone to go with? I may lead a trip or two over the next few months. We’ll share details on all this soon.
Got questions? Then come to tonight’s kickoff at Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s Cameron Village store in Raleigh. I’ll do a slideshow, cook a little something over the camp stove, and entertain questions — which, more often than not, are better answered by knowledgeable members of the audience.

See you tonight at 7:30.

This blog is being simulposted on our sister site, NCHikes.com.

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