Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

Backpacking the AT: Make a video dream come true

You watch a video of a spellbinding adventure. You think, “Man, I would love to do that … .” 

And it doesn’t happen.

It doesn’t happen for any number of reasons. More often than not, though, it falls victim to overthinking the logistics: What kind of preparation do I need? How will I get there? How will I know what to do when I do get there? Before you know it, you’re mentally exhausted and have moved on to the next video. read more

From 0 to section hiker in a year: one backpacker’s story

An aspiring backpacker, or even one just getting into the backcountry, would find a lot to like about Henry Perangelo. He pays attention to, but isn’t obsessed with weight: “I can’t seem to get my pack much below 32, 33 pounds.” Same with gear: he appreciates a thing that does its job, but can’t remember the names of most of his gear (asked about his shoes, he replies, “They’re red and gray; I think they start with an M … .”). And when it comes to food, Henry is pretty much a freeze-dried, eat-from-the-bag kind of guy (“The one that starts with an M, I like their spaghetti and meatballs. Which tastes a lot like their lasagna”). read more

5 of our favorite Whoa! Moments

On Saturday’s final hike of our 2018-2019 Winter Wild hike series, we decided to add an extra mile or so. It was a mile of trail I hadn’t hiked.

As we made our way up the north bank of New Hope Creek, I could hear the gradient increasing upstream, the sound of water cascading over rock a bit more intense than we’re used to hearing in the Piedmont. As the noise grew, some mild scrambling was required; we shinnied up a rock outcrop overlooking the creek and emerged on a slab 30 feet above the water. read more

Spring opens a world of backpack opportunities

Spring is one of our four favorite seasons to backpack because:

  • Temperatures are moving up — no worrying about whether your 20-degree bag will cut it on a 19-degree night
  • Daylight is increasing — no 14-hour nights in your sleeping bag
  • The world is coming to life — no explanation needed

Thus, it’s no surprise that spring is one of our busiest times on the trail. Here’s what we’ve got going on into June. For more information and to sign up, see the links below.

Learn to backpack

We have two options for folks who aren’t backpackers — but want to be. read more

Post Hurricane Florence: What’s open, what’s not?

A moody Graybeard Mountain.

We’re all wondering the same thing: are my favorite places to explore open post Hurricane Florence?

Here’s a look at what I’ve found for our upcoming GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! adventures. Hopefully, my sleuthing can help you in figuring out your own upcoming adventure plans.

=&0=&

When: This weekend

What we learned: I wasn’t worried about the trail being flooded: it begins above 6,000 feet and stays high for much of its 13.7-mile run. Still, my first check was with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website, whose Trail Updates page is a complete rundown of current closings, reroutings and other issues that may affect your hike. The North Carolina section (updates are broken down by state) listed no specific advisory for this stretch, though it did advise caution in general for downed trees and hanging limbs as a result of the storm. Of greater concern were the roads getting to the trailhead: Florence dropped some wet on the mountains, and landslides had been reported. But not on the roads we take, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Travel Information page and its interactive map.

Status: It’s a go

=&1=&

When: This weekend

What we learned: Virginia closed all of its State Parks in preparation for Florence, but all have now reopened, including Grayson Highlands. A look at the Grayson Highlands State Park page shows that only one park facility is closed, and it isn’t our group campsite. As for the Mount Rogers end of the trip, the USDA Forest Service site for both George Washington and Jefferson National Forests reported that all recreation areas were closed. That, though, from a post dated Sept. 12, before the storm. A call to the “customer service desk” for both forests indicated it might be faster to leave a message than to wait for a representative. It was also unclear whether the Virginia Creeper Trail, also part of the trip, was open.

Status: On hold, likely to postpone

=&2=&

When: Weekend of Sept. 28-30

What we learned: Curtis Creek is in the Pisgah National Forest. (In fact, it was the first tract of land in the Pisgah, back in 1913). It’s in a particularly narrow valley that descends from the Black Mountains to the Piedmont, and thus seems especially vulnerable to flooding. And while it, along with the rest of the Pisgah, was closed prior to Florence, it has reopened. Graybeard Mountain is rather unique in that it is part of the Montreat Conference Center’s 2,500-acre Montreat Wilderness. It remains open to hiking as well, according to the website.

Status: It’s a go.

=&3=&