Outdoor escapes in 2017 — Linville Gorge

Three Great Opportunities for Backpackers

Just in time for autumn’s splendor, we’ve got three great ideas for both active and aspiring backpackers.

Fall in North Carolina is the time to go backpacking. Daytime highs gradually dip and overnight lows are perfect for snugging into a down bag and getting a long night’s rest. From Shining Rock to the Smokies, the AT to the MST, the woods beckon for an extended stay. The glorious yellows, reds and oranges of leaves changing color is but one sign of the natural world slowing down for winter; you can experience also the stillness and the dwindling yet increasingly brilliant sunlight knifing through the woods.

You backpackers know what I’m talking about; you non-backpackers might be wishing you did. And you can.

If you’re not a backpacker today, you can be one by the time fall kicks in. We have two GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking classes scheduled for fall. The first starts this Sunday and the second on Oct. 15. Both consist of three training sessions, each focused on a  specific skill, each including increasingly longer hikes in full pack. We start with gear and packing a pack, move on to setting up and breaking down camp, then get out our spork and camp stove with a session on trail food.

We end with a trip, a two-night, three-day visit to South Mountains State Park. Here, you’ll put your newfound skills to the test, and experience autumn like you’ve not experienced it before.

Ready to start? Check it out here:

If you’re already a backpacker, we’re thinking of you as well. While this is the time to be out and about savoring the trail, it’s also the time to be planning ahead — for that epic hike that’s been on your mind. The 77-mile Foothills Trail. The 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The Long Trail. The John Muir. The AT.

This fall, in conjunction with our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co., we’re holding a series of Pints & Paths sessions on Tuesday nights (to keep your weekends free for backpacking!). From 5:30 to 6:30 we’ll enjoy a local craft beer, then settle in and listen to folks who’ve been there talk about their experiences on America’s premier trails. You’ll have first-hand access to hikers who have done the planning, worked out the the logistics, hiked the trail. Stay tuned for more details.

Finally, for active backpackers itching to get out on the trail, our friends at the LandTrust for Central North Carolina are planning a four-day, 40-mile Uwharrie Trail Thru-Hike. There are 13 slots left for this 70-person event. For more details, check out the Uwharrie Trail Thru-Hike.

Happy trails!


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