Taking a break after hiking to Mount Craig.

When you’re hiking, every day’s a holiday

People sometimes shy away from hiking thinking it’s all work and no play. To those we have two words:

Holiday Hiker.

Holiday Hiker is both a series of hikes we’re doing in December and an overriding philosophy here at GetHiking!

Last week we told you about our Holiday Hiker series, so we won’t dwell. (But if you missed it, we’ve launched a series of short — 4 miles, give or take — hikes geared to keep you moving through the oft-stressful holiday season. Learn more about that series here.)

After we posted that blog, it occurred to us that the Holiday Hiker concept — mixing sanity-saving excursions with fun — is really what we do year-round: we give you a hiking holiday from the everyday.

This past year, for instance, GetHiking! Triangle Hike Leader Anne Triebert led a series of five Classic Escape weekend trips, to Doughton Park, Linville Gorge, Mount Mitchell, New River and Stone Mountain. There was great hiking — about 5 or 6 miles a day over classic North Carolina terrain. And then there was what made the weekends truly memorable: the camaraderie around the campfire.

Think about it: When was the last time you sat back free of distractions and talked (and not about work)? Hikers returned to the campground around 4 in the afternoon, pulled up a camp chair, grabbed a beverage and kibitzed. The fire would get started around 6, dinner would follow — often a pot luck affair beginning with Bob’s five-bean salad and ending with Rose’s dutch oven dump cake. The affair would continue into the night — how late, no one is quite sure because who minds a watch at times like these?

Ask the participants and I’m sure they would agree: these hikes were indeed holidays from the routine, the stress, the demands of the everyday.

To be sure, not all of our outings are this laid back. Yet they are holidays just the same.

Just ask the sturdy souls on our Linville Gorge GetBackpacking! trip in August. Linville Gorge is home to some of the most rugged terrain along the East Coast. The gorge is as deep as 1,300 feet in spots; the Linville River running through it drops 2,000 vertical feet in its 13-mile run through the gorge. There is no easy in Linville, only less difficult. The hiking — most of the trip was in designated wilderness — posed ongoing challenges, both physical (“How am I getting over that?”) and mental (What happened to the trail?) Challenges though they were, they differed from the vexing challenges of daily survival: of balancing the checkbook or meeting a deadline. A holiday from the mundane.

Our lead-from-behind philosophy accommodates the aerobic hiker and nature lover alike. If your aim is to get your heart rate up, we’ll describe the route (or, on longer and more involved hikes, provide a map) and send you off down the trail. Get confused? Stay put and we’ll catch up with the back of the pack, which is where our hike leaders hang out.

It’s an approach that’s worked well during GetHiking!’s four and a half years. And an approach that will continue to work for us — and you — in 2018. As we plot the year ahead, Anne plans to keep the Classic Escape mojo moving forward with trips to the Black Mountains, to Mount Rogers in Virginia, to Grandfather Mountain and again to Linville. Hike leader Scott Hicks is looking to explore the Virginia highlands, with a weekend trip to Peaks of Otter in Virginia (with side trips to a nearby alpaca farm and the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford), and with a series of backpack trips exploring the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. And that’s just a sampling of what 2018 holds in store.

We’ll be unveiling many of our 2018 programs throughout December. While we have some ideas of what we’d like to do, we’re also interested in where you’d like to hike, what you’d like to see and do. Share your thoughts, by emailing joe@getgoingnc.com.

In the meantime, we hope to see you on a Holiday Hike.

Happy Trails,

Joe

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