The times they are a changin’. And that change is affecting when we get out and play. Two factors in particular affect the when-we-play factor in North Carolina:
- North Carolina ranks 9th nationally in number of telecommuting jobs, a position bolstered largely by the state’s high-tech industry, which is more likely to let employees work from home. (Jobs that are most likely to support telecommuting — software programming, information security, data analyst, technical writer — are common here, especially in the Triangle.) Further, the trend is growing: the number of regular telecommuting employees nationwide has increased by 115 percent since 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Between 2000 and 2010, the Raleigh-Cary area had the fastest growing retiree population in the country; the state’s Division of Aging and Adult Services says the senior population in Wake County alone will increase by 163 percent over the next two decades.
Telecommuters with more flexible work schedules and retirees whose time is likewise more malleable means that these two sizable demographics aren’t relegated to just getting out on weekends. Add in a sizable service industry with varied working hours that can leave time off during the day, and we’ve got a seemingly sizable number of candidates for midweek escapes.
Based on your input and these evolving social trends, we’re starting to play with the idea of offering more midweek hikes and trips. During the summer, we’ve offered our midweek Evening Wanders, 3- to 5-mile hikes that take advantage of extended evening daylight, and they’ve been well attended. Now, as the sun sets earlier and earlier, we’re wondering if y’all might be interested in midweek hikes during the day. Maybe even a midweek trip to the mountains, which in the fall would offer relief from the leaf-peeping masses.
We’ve already got one midweek escape planned, our Midweek Assault on Mount Mitchell scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22 thru Thursday, Oct. 24. On that trip, we’ll basecamp out of the Black Mountain Campground, do the 5.5-mile, 3,700-vertical-foot climb up to Mount Mitchell on Day One, then drive up to Mount Mitchell State Park on Day Two and explore the rocky spine of the Black Mountain Crest. We’ll likely have one of the state’s most popular fall destinations to ourselves.
We offer this escape on a hunch. But we’d rather see what works for you. Are you up for taking two or three hours midweek for a 5-mile hike? What about a day trip, say, to the Uwharries, or Stone Mountain, or Doughton Park? And how about the idea of a midweek camping trip? What works for you?
We’d like your input. We’ve put together a short, six-question survey to gauge your interest (keep in mind that to participate, you needn’t be retired, or telecommute or be in the service industry; practitioners of the hooky arts are just as welcome).
As added incentive to take the poll, leave your email address and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free Osprey day pack, courtesy Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Take the survey, let us know what you think. We’ll share the results in two weeks.
Take our survey
Take our survey — it’ll only cost you 3 minutes tops — to help us better meet your hiking needs. The survey closes Oct. 4. Take the survey and leave your email address, and we’ll enter you in a drawing for a free Osprey day pack, courtesy our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co. We’ll report results of the survey on Oct. 9.
Take the survey here.