When you show up at the trailhead for one of our GetHiking! hikes or GetBackpacking! trips or classes, how do you know you can trust your leader? Here’s one instance that makes a case for our team.
Last fall we led a three-day backpack trip into Linville Gorge Wilderness. Perhaps the most challenging trip we offer, it includes two significant river crossings and some rigorous, riotous rock scrambling in the unmarked gorge. We’d vetted all of the backpackers and knew they were up to the task.read more
“You’re hiking where? I’ve never heard of that trail.”
It’s one of our favorite things to hear, because it means we’re meeting one of our key goals: leading you into the unknown. Sure, we hike a lot of trails more than once, and for good reason: they’re worth it. Our Charlotte group goes to South Mountains State Park regularly, our Charlottesville crew loves the Jones Run/Doyles River Circuit in the Shenandoah National Park. And with 120 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail running through the Triangle, I’ve lead a goodly number of hikes on the statewide path along the Eno River and the south shore of Falls Lake.read more
Are you backpacker material? You might be closer than you think. Traits you’ve cultivated under fluorescent lighting might translate nicely to the natural world. And if they don’t, don’t despair (just keep reading). Take a look:
You think on your feet. Your biggest survival skill is your ability to think on the trail, to pay attention and use your head. So in the office, let’s say it’s time to move a project forward; you might work a pro/con list on a path or two, then send the project on its way. On the trail, when you reach a fork, you look in each direction, checking first for a blaze that translates to :”Go this way!” (easier, really, than in the office, yes?). If there’s no blaze, you might need to travel on a ways to see if it is a spur or the real path forward. “Reading” the trail—like reading options in the office—gets easier with experience.read more
Before every backpack trip, we hold a trip planning meeting. We call it a “trip planning” meeting; in truth, the trips are pretty much already planned. It’s more of a “trip explanation” meeting. We go over basic logistics: carpooling, the route, the campsites, where we’ll find water, the weather forecast, any special precautions to take — for instance, if it’s an exposed route, bring extra sunscreen; if there are multiple water crossings, bring water shoes; if there are bears, bring a bear canister.read more