The following is a post, tweaked and updated, that originally ran a year ago, on the Great Outdoor Provision Co. blog. It heralds the start of our fourth season of GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking clinics.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve watched a remarkable thing happen to about 80 people.
They’ve became backpackers.
On the way to their initial goal of extending their day on the trail into night, they found much more. They dispelled irrational fears. They learned to be be self-reliant. They escaped the electronic world and they discovered that carrying your world on your back is not a burden but a blessing.
In 2013, we launched the GetHiking! program, initially in the Triangle, later in Charlotte and the Triad. The goal: to introduce more people hiking by: a) assuring newcomers they wouldn’t get left behind; and, b) showing folks great trails locally and throughout North Carolina.
I had a hunch there were a lot of hikers-in-waiting out there and I was correct: today, the three hiking groups and a corporate wellness affiliate have about 3,000 members.