Backpacking the AT: Make a video dream come true

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.

Well not this time.

Watch this video: it’s of our latest GetBackpacking! trip on the Appalachian Trail between Carvers Gap and US 19E. It’s a 14-mile stretch that winds through a ribbon of Appalachian paradise straddling the North Carolina/Tennessee line. It starts with two balds and views you don’t think could possibly be surpassed — until you come upon Little Hump and Hump mountains two-thirds of the way in. To the west, you can see seven ridges fade into Tennessee. To the east is a view of Grandfather Mountain that looks like a chunk of the Alps has been deposited among our Appalachians. Separating the views on this hike is passage through some of the healthiest, most diverse and lush Southern Appalachian forest you can imagine. 

It’s the best weekend backpack trip in the region, and you could do it end of September — even if you’ve never backpacked. Here’s the plan.

First, enroll in our GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking class that begins next week. You’re commitment is as such:

  • July 9, 10 or 11 (depending upon where you live): a two-hour evening Gear Get-together in which we go over all the gear required for backpacking. We go over a variety of options with the budget-conscious first-timer in mind. In fact, you don’t even need to buy some of the bigger-ticket items; we have loaner backpacks, tents and cooking gear you can use. 
  • July 13: A five-hour training session at Morrow Mountain State Park. We go over everything, from how to properly load your pack, to dialing in the fit, to hiking up to 4 miles in full pack, to scouting camp, setting up camp, breaking camp, to cooking meals … everything you need to know to be a backpacker.
  • July 26-28: Three-day, two-night graduation trip to South Mountains State Park. By the time you emerge around noon on Sunday the 28th, you’ll be a confident, competent backpacker.

You’ll also be ready for our next visit to Carvers Gap, on Sept. 27-29, where you’ll be the first to see fall color begin unfolding throughout the Southeast.

As further enticement, sign up by July 8 for Intro to Backpacking and you’ll not only get 15 percent off that class, you’ll get 15 percent off the AT trip as well. And you’ll also have the rest of fall before you to enjoy as a bonafide backpacker. You get a discount on the class and the trip, you keep the cost low, too, with loaner gear, plus a 20 percent discount on one backpacking item from Great Outdoor Provision Co. 

Best of all? For once, instead of just mooning over a video, you’ll be living it.

Live the video!

It’s never been easier to live an adventure video! Whether you’re an experienced backpacker and would like to join us at Carvers Gap Sept. 27-29, or a novice who needs to learn the basics first, here’s how to make this adventure happen.

  • Experienced backpacker? Learn more about our Sept. 27-29 trip on the AT at Carvers Gap here.
  • Need to learn the basics? Learn more about our Intro to Backpacking! class and sign up here.

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