Some rue the passing of summer, some despair over the approach of winter.
Others — hikers — revel in the fact it’s October.
With cooling temperatures, generally sunny skies, dry air and the natural world in transition, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be on the trail. Early in the month, the change begins on mountain peaks above 5,000 feet. As the days progress, the palette of autumn slowly descends — 4,000, 3,000, 2,000 feet. Finally, it reaches the Piedmont. And by the beginning of November it’s at the coast.read more
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
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.
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
For nearly four years, we’ve been telling you about how you can be more active. Now, we’re going to take you out and show you.
In September, we’ll launch our GetHiking! program in partnership with Great Outdoor Provision Co. Throughout the fall, GetHiking! will conduct weekly hikes, most in the Triangle, some to North Carolina’s more distant hiking treasures. Our goal is two-fold. One, to take those of you who have only dreamed of hiking — or perhaps dabbled in it — and give you the tools and experience to become bonafide hikers. And if you already like to get out on the trail, we hope to expand your hiking horizons by exposing you to places you may not know about. And, there’s the chance to win free hiking gear! Beginner or intermediate, GetHiking! is for you.read more