On Monday evening, our GetHiking! Triangle group celebrated the start of Daylight Saving Time with an after-work hike at Eno River State Park. We had some new people on the hike, and it was clear that they were a bit tentative.
But, a mile down the trail, I noticed the steady buzz of happy hiker chatter. Our more experienced hikers had adopted the newcomers and were making them feel at home. When we finished our four miles and returned to the trailhead, it was near dark and the temperature was rapidly dropping, yet no one was in a hurry to leave. The conversation continued another 10 minutes or so until we had trouble seeing one another. I knew the newcomers would be back.
Since the launch of GetGoingNC a decade ago, our goal has been to get more people moving, primarily through hiking.
Our overriding goal has been to make hiking attractive to people who
- have little outdoors experience and may be intimidated by the very thought of heading into the woods;
- are worried that they’ll get lost in the wild; and
- don’t want to hike alone, but don’t want to head out with strangers with no guarantee that they won’t be left behind.
We address all three concerns by offering beginner-friendly options and by making sure there’s always a hike leader at the back of the pack — even if there’s only one person “leading” the hike. (Yes, leading from the rear sounds odd, but it works.)
In addition, on this site and in our weekly enewsletter, we provide guidance in the form of tips, recommended resources, gear suggestions and more. We realized these tips, resources, and recommendations — gear and otherwise — were scattered over a decade’s worth of blog posts (1,600!) and the enewsletter. We decided it would be good and helpful to collect this information into a concise guide.
So we have compiled all those beginner-friendly tips in one handy resource, the just-released “Let’s GetHiking! A Comprehensive Guide for the Aspiring Hiker.”
We’ve kept it short — 55 pages covering 18 topics ranging from “Am I Too Old?” to “10 Essentials for Your Pack” — so you can spend less time reading and more time hiking already. The topics address what we’ve found to be the main concerns newcomers face when they show up for their first hike with us. Of course, we’re always glad to answer questions on the hike, but we know that it can be reassuring to show up for that inaugural run with a sense of what to expect.
For those of you who are already experienced hikers, we’ve got books for you as well (see below). Also, you may have friends who are hiking-curious, but perhaps you don’t want to strain your friendship by taking them on their first outing (Remember when you started and learned that hiking miles were longer than sidewalk miles? And you might’ve wanted to whine a little?) Remain on speaking terms; give them a copy of “Let’s GetHiking!”
And then follow up by pointing them toward the Hiking for Beginners hikes (link below). Or just forward this enewsletter to them.
We look forward to hiking with you all soon!
For the beginner
“Let’s GetHiking!: A Quick and Comprehensive Guide for the Aspiring Hiker,” 2019. Interested in becoming a hiker (or even just taking a hike) but aren’t sure where to start? “Let’s GetHiking!” succinctly answers the basic questions any first timer has — from what to wear and what to take to, “Is it OK to go alone my first time?” (short answer: no). We make quick work of your queries because we know you aren’t here to read, you’re here to hike! Learn more and purchase a copy here.
For the experienced hiker
“Backpacking North Carolina,” 2011, UNC Press. A collection of 43 of GetBackpacking!’s favorite backpack trips in North Carolina. Includes maps, navigation information (including water sources and camping spots), and trip highlights. Learn more and purchase a copy here.
“100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina,” 2007, Mountaineers Press. GetHiking! regulars will recognize some of the hikes in this collection, but we’re pretty sure they’ll find some they don’t recognize. Great hikes at the coast, in the Piedmont, and in the mountains. Learn more and purchase a copy here.
“Adventure Carolinas.” 2014, UNC Press. Expand your horizons with this examination of some of the other outdoor adventures to be had in the Carolinas: rock climbing, mountain biking, flatwater paddling, whitewater paddling, scuba diving, downhill and cross-country skiing, and more. Learn more and purchase a copy here.
Hiking for beginners
We still have a few spots open in our spring Intro to Hiking series, which includes eight 2- to 4-mile hikes on Sunday afternoons from March 17 through May 5 at different locations around the Triangle. Learn more and sign up here.