Who’s ready for the fall hiking season to begin?
We thought so. So are we. In fact, we can’t recall ever being so ready to get into the mountains and escape. To escape to a mountain top, to escape into an old growth forest, to spend our time between escapes along a calming mountain stream.
Those are some of the key ingredients to what we look for in a mountain escape, and they are the key ingredients in our first GetHiking! Weekend Basecamp Trip of the fall — of 2020, actually: a three-day, two-night escape to the oldest portion of the Pisgah National Forest, the Curtis Creek area near Old Fort. The land along Curtis Creek was the first to become part of the Pisgah National Forest, in 1918. It’s an exceptionally rugged area: If you’ve ever wondered on the drive to Asheville why there’s no road over the mountains between Marion and Asheville — a distance of nearly 40 miles — there’s good reason: the Blue Ridge mountains here are especially rugged. From the base in Marion to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the East Coast, the mountains gain a mile in elevation (exactly, from 1,404 feet in Marion to 6,684 feet atop Mount Mitchell). A good reason to explore the area is that it was too inaccessible to be logged or developed.
Our Sept. 11-13 visit is a great way to kick off the fall hiking season, for several reasons:
- First, it’s relatively close to the state’s three main population centers: about a 2-hour drive from Charlotte, 2 1/2 from the Triad, 3 from the Triangle. You’ll spend less time driving, more time exploring.
- Second, the planned hikes are challenging, but not overly so for legs that have been confined to the Piedmont. Saturday’s all-day hike will be up to the 5,408-foot summit of Graybeard Mountain; on Sunday, we will hike from the campsite for a couple of miles into old growth forest.
- Third, it’s a basecamp trip. We check in at the Curtis Creek Campground Friday afternoon, we check out Sunday afternoon. Curtis Creek is a small campground along a gravel road that, for reasons we haven’t been able to figure out, tends to get overlooked. Mellow, relaxing, off the beaten path.
It’s a good reintroduction to mountain hiking, too, because the group size is capped at 10. An intimate gathering, which makes it easy to connect with your fellow hikers.
In the spiritual sense. Such a small group at a small campground makes it easy for us to make sure you can keep your physical distance from your fellow hikers while enjoying their company. How often do you get within six feet of a fellow hiker, anyway?
We are especially excited about the coming fall because we know you’re excited about it, too. Friday, we posted a backpacking trip to the Shining Rock Wilderness that sold out in less than three hours, a record for us.
Our Curtis Creek trip is just the start. We’ll be announcing more weekend hiking getaways over the next three weeks. As our Shining Rock trip shows, we expect pent-up demand will make these hiking weekends fill quickly, especially since they will all be capped at 10 hikers or fewer.
We don’t have our schedule in stone, so if there are places you’re especially interested in hiking, drop us a line at email@example.com and clue us in. We’re focusing on trails that are either loops or interesting out-and-backs (we’re trying to avoid shuttles).
Fall is nearing. Maybe it hasn’t been the best year so far. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a memorable escape or two before it’s over.
For more information on our GetHiking! Curtis Creek Basecamp Weekend and to sign up to join us, visit our Explore With Us! page here.
Sign up for our weekly GetHiking! enewsletter. Every Thursday we send out our GetHiking! enewsletter, which includes news of the hiking world, tips, resources, gear recommendations, media suggestions and coming hikes and trips. And, so you don’t miss out on trips that fill shortly after they’re posted, we’ll give you a head’s up in Thursday’s enewsletter about trips that we will be posting Friday. If you aren’t already a GetHiking! enewsletter subscriber, you can become one by going here.