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Backpacking: Hiking with sleepovers

So, you’ve been enjoying your walks in the woods and maybe you’re wondering what it might be like to stay a bit longer—overnight, even. We can help you. Ever since I wrote Backpacking North Carolina in 2011, I’ve been on a mission to dispel the myths of backpacking. Like the idea that you have to sleep on the cold, hard ground, eat beans out of a can, and hike 20…

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GetBackpacking! Up your game

As a backpacker, you already know the joy of heading into the woods with everything you need strapped snugly to your back. You love setting up your home-away-from-home, unfurling your sleeping bag and snugging in under the stars. You know also that the journey from the trailhead to the sleeping bag is not without challenges—maybe the trail is a bit more rugged than anticipated or there are water crossing; the…

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Trekking poles: Jennifer Pharr Davis uses them (so should you!)

“I couldn’t go back to the trail without my stick! The constant ups and downs with 30 pounds on my back were very hard on my knees, and without a stick they would be unbearable. My hiking stick had become an extension of my hand — I was lost without it.” That’s 33-year-old Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, who has hiked more than 13,000 miles on six continents, including a…

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This weekend: Get wet, go high 

Another hot, summery weekend is on tap, which means you have two choices for outdoor fun: get wet or go high. Coast Not that you need a reason to visit the Great Dismal Swamp, but if you did … Saturday, join a ranger on an intimate Summer Paddle of the Dismal Swamp Canal at Dismal Swamp State Park north of Elizabeth City. Everything you need — boat, paddle, PFD, basic…

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10 Especially Appropriate Independence Day Hikes  

As you contemplate your plans to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, contemplate this: what would be the most appropriate way to celebrate your independence, that sense of truly expressing your freedom? With a hike, of course. In honor of Independence Day, we’ve come up with 11 hikes that capture — in name at least — the spirit of the day. Find one near you and enjoy. (For additional information, check the…

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This weekend: Celebrate your Outdoor Independence 

    Coast Since this is a special weekend, extending to Wednesday for many of you, we’re throwing the 4th into the mix — and one of the best displays of brightness lighting up the sky that you’re likely to see: the Cosmos & Cocoa display on Bald Head Island. Take advantage of Bald Head Island’s removed location and minimal nighttime light pollution to catch the night sky ablaze. “Use…

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Four ways to celebrate the Roan Highlands

I ran into an old camping acquaintance Sunday in the Wilson Creek area Sunday and we spent a few minutes updating one another on our travels. Among her recent exploits: a February visit to Roan Mountain. Roan Mountain in February? I thought. Risky business being above 6,000 feet in the dead of winter. A better time, I thought, would be … right now. Massive Roan Mountain straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee…

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This weekend: a 2X Tri, Wilderness Survival and the Friendly Side of Mitchell 

Carolina Beach Double Sprint Triathlon: the triathlon so nice they let you do it twice. Plus, surviving the wilds of South Mountains and experiencing Mount Mitchell’s gentler side. Coast Loaded with energy? Say, twice the energy you typically have? Then perhaps you’re up for Saturday’s Carolina Beach Douple Sprint Triathlon in Carolina Beach. Swim 375 meters in the Atlantic, run 1.5 miles, bike 20K. Then, instead of collapsing and kicking…

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Five trails that appeal to your need for speed

It started as a mellow saunter, progressed to an up-tempo hike, then, on a modest downhill, evolved into a trot. It was one of my first hikes at the Triangle Land Conservancy’s new Brumley Forest property near Hillsborough, and the absence of rocks and tree roots coupled with the gentle flow reminded me of my bygone days of being able to run a 10-minute mile on trail. For the most part, I…

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This weekend: Fun with Dad 

Show dad how much he means to you by taking him into the great outdoors. Coast So many mysteries contained in Merchants Millpond, the nearly 200-year-old, 760-acre water assemblage that spreads throughout the State Park bearing its name. Is it a pond or a swamp (sure seems like the latter)? What are those weird, prehistoric fish you occasionally see near the surface? Are there alligators? These questions and more answered…

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