Category Archives: Backpacking

GetBackpacking! Your intro to backcountry camping

In late July, an essay appeared in Colorado’s High Country Times bemoaning the death of backpacking. The article relied on the author’s “anecdotal evidence” and the fact that sales of “heavy” boots and massive packs are down. Heavy boots, as in the kind no one buys anymore because lightweight boots easily handle the lighter loads of today’s backpacker. Massive packs, as in the kind no one uses because we no longer cook with cast-iron skillets and enamel coffee pots. (Titanium pots and plastic French-press mugs rule!)
Backpacking, like baseball, claimed the writer, isn’t attracting younger participants because they find it boring.
Stephen Meyers, the outdoors writer for the Fort Collins Coloradoan was skeptical. A week later, he responded with a piece titled “Backpacking may be changing, but it isn’t dying.” His article relied on facts.
Like the fact the average pack size is down because we no longer carry 50 or 60 pounds into the woods (it’s more like 30).
Or the fact the 2012 Leisure Trends report counted more than 1 million backpackers between the ages of 18 and 24, comparable to the number of mountain bikers and whitewater kayakers in that age group combined.
Or the fact that the American Camper Report for 2011 reported that of the 42.5 million Americans who went camping in 2011, 10 percent were backpackers. That’s about 4.3 million people.
Unlike the High Country essayist, my anecdotal evidence suggests a keen interest in backpacking. Since launching the GetHiking! program nearly a year ago, I’ve had a steady number of hikers ask, “What about backpacking? I’d like to give that a try.”
What about backpacking? you ask. read more

90 Second Escape: Mount Rogers

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb. read more

It’s Summer!

Summer, it officially begins bright and early (6:51 a.m.) Saturday morning.
To ensure that you’re prepared we’ve assembled a list of resources to help you figure out how to best capitalize on the solstice with the mostest.

Paddling

Rent a boat: Don’t have a canoe or kayak (or stand-up paddleboard)? No problem. We’ve found 52 places across North Carolina where you can rent a canoe, kayak or SUP — and for as little as a couple bucks an hour. A paddle is within reach! Info here. read more

Hiking Wilson Creek generates a bigger buzz than usual

Huntfish Falls has a generous swimming hole at its base.

Once a week, and sometimes twice, I lead a hike through GetHiking! Triangle. I enjoy every hike, often for different reasons. Sometimes it’s for the views, sometimes for a particularly scenic stretch, sometimes for a seasonal treat, such as wildflowers. Always, I look forward to hiking with friends, including ones I’ve yet to meet.
I’m a little more excited than usual, though, about this Saturday’s hike in the Wilson Creek area at the base of the Blue Ridge escarpment below Grandfather Mountain. It’s a deceptive area: it doesn’t have elevation in mountain numbers; rather, what it does have, it has in concentration. Steep climbs, steep descents, lots of rock, lots of water. It’s exhilarating, occasionally exasperating (the trails aren’t always well marked or easy to follow). The topography is extreme.
As I was planning this trip — about eight miles on the North Harper Creek and Harper Creek trails — I came across a trip report from 2011 on our sister site, nchikes.com. It comes from husband-and-wife explorers Juli and Keith Spring, who hiked a nearby section of Wilson Creek as part of the “Backpacking North Carolina Challenge.” The report is short, but gives a good feel for the Wilson Creek experience. It starts below, and makes for a nice, quick escape on a Tuesday.
Enjoy! read more

90 Second Escape: Mount Rogers

Monday — never an easy time for the outdoors enthusiast. After a weekend of adventure, returning to the humdrum work-a-day world can make one melancholy. To help ease the transition, every Monday we feature a 90 Second Escape — essentially, a 90-second video or slide show of a place you’d probably rather be: a trail, a park, a greenway, a lake … anywhere as long as it’s not under a fluorescent bulb. read more