Imagine, if you will, a first weekend of November that begins bright and sunny with a temperature in the 30s, a temperature not likely to get out of the 50s during the afternoon peak. And a weekend that, throughout much of the state, will be festooned with the best fall color of the year. Imagine, if you will, this weekend … .
It seemed like a good idea when it first occurred to us. Based on how this past weekend went, turns out it was.
This weekend we held our first GetBackpacking! Weekend Quick Escape. The premise: fall is perhaps the best time of year to be in the backcountry. It’s also the time when us working stiffs discover we’ve plowed through our PTO (or what we referred to as “vacation” in simpler times). The challenge: cram as much adventure into the time between when the 5 o’clock whistle blows on Friday and it’s time to pick out our wardrobe for Monday.
The trail was wilder than I remembered. Simply finding the trailhead at the overgrown intersection of trails atop the Naked Ground meadow was a challenge, keeping it was even more so less than 100 yards in. The 10 of us slowly plowed through a welter of every type of Southern Appalachian understory — from rhododendron and mountain laurel to blueberries and huckleberries, unable to even see the trail beneath our feet at times. Our only guide: the firm ground beneath. About a mile in, the real fun began.
A big thanks to all of you who responded to our June survey about how we can help you become a better hiker/backpacker. Your response was helpful because until now, we’ve relied primarily on anecdotal information — chatting with you on hikes and trips — to create our programs. This survey helped us see where we were making good guesses, and where we weren’t.
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.