Wednesday Wisdom? That may be a stretch (though it is alliterative). Every Wednesday we share our thoughts in rotating subject areas: gear, social media, hiking/backpacking/camping resources, and tips from the field. These items are culled from our weekly GetHiking! enewsletter, which also includes news and information on hikes and backpack trips in our GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! universes. Subscribe to our weekly enewsletter here.
Wisdom? That may be a stretch (though it is alliterative). Every Wednesday we share our thoughts in rotating subject areas: gear, social media, hiking/backpacking/camping resources, and tips from the field. These items are culled from our weekly GetHiking! enewsletter, which also includes news and information on hikes and backpack trips in our GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! universes. Subscribe to our weekly enewsletter here.
If you’ve been hiking in the last couple days, you’ve likely walked out the front door on hike morning and had your first Aha! moment of the season.
Aha! as in, “Aha, I need to grab another layer or two!”
As Aha! moments go, it’s one of our favorites. We love hiking late-fall-into-winter: the air is typically dry, the diminished foliage lets you see deeper into the woods, the increasingly angled winter sunlight seems to lite the forest from the ground up.
If you’re a hiker, a backpacker, a camper, you’re more prepared than you might realize. You’ve got a wealth of equipment designed to help you weather what Flo may have to offer. Consider:
=&0=&. A Pocket Rocket, a JetBoil, a Windburner—any number of camp stoves can help you get through a few days without power in culinary style and on the cheap. About all you need them to do is boil water, which some stoves can do in a little more than two minutes. Instant mashed potatoes ($1 a pack) or Knorr’s rice or pasta dishes (also $1) make for a cheap and filling meal, comfort food at a time when you could really use it.
=&1=&. You return from a trip with a near-empty fuel canister—too much left to throw out, not enough to take on another trip. So you toss it in your gear box. If you’re like us, you’ve likely got a half dozen or more taking up space. Now’s the time to use ’em up.
=&2=&. Even a casual hiker has at least one headlamp and a good-size LED lantern. These modern lamps can cast enough light for you to assess damage in the middle of the night (most are water tight as well). And you can dial back the lumens—and extend the battery life—to cast a calming, reassuring glow in your darkened surroundings.
=&3=&. Should have started here. That two-minute boil is vital when it comes to that first cup of coffee in the morning. You can just mix in a packet of instant, or if you have the MSR Windboiler with the French press attachment, you can make the real thing.
=&4=&. Rain jacket and rain pants: If it rains as much and as long as predicted, you’ll need to get out to maintain your sanity. They may not keep you totally dry, but they should keep you from getting drenched.
=&5=&. Camp towels made of chamois or another quick-drying material don’t dry out completely, but they will dry out a lot more than your cotton bath towels. Keep ’em handy when you come in from the rain.
=&6=&. Dry bags once were restricted to the domain of paddlers, but the advent of lighter waterproof fabrics has made them practical for day hikers, and odds are you have one. Even if you won’t be out long, protect your wallet, cellphone, and other valuables in a dry bag.
=&7=&. If worse comes to worst and you’re forced to leave your home, or at least abandon your second-floor bedroom—take your personal sleep system with you. Today’s sleeping bags—both down and synthetic—are plush as a comforter, and the newer, light-weight inflatable sleeping pads offer two to three inches of comfy cushion.
=&8=&. If you subscribe to the “cotton kills” school of outdoor fashion—and you should—you already have a wardrobe made for wet weather. At a time when your dryer may be rendered useless for days, synthetic, quick-dry clothes are de rigueur.
=&9=&. A sturdy pack with good suspension is nice on the trail, but is a downright necessity when you need to walk a half-mile to the store for a bag of ice and other necessities.
=&10=&. Be the fan of the neighborhood with your camp saw. You won’t replace the local tree service with its cranes and chain saws, but when it comes to clearing limbs off a car or clearing a path to the street, a well-maintained folding camp saw comes in handy in a pinch.
Preparing for a hurricane is like preparing for a backpack trip. In both cases, you need to meet your basic needs—food, shelter—for a period of time. And in both cases, how you emerge at the end of your adventure will be determined by how prepared you are going in.
It’s the last weekend of summer (the season officially cedes to fall next Wednesday). Give it a fitting sendoff in Wilmington by tubing 900 (or maybe 1,000) feet through downtown; by celebrating the Catawba River at Lake James State Park; or by checking out the last in cool outdoor gear in Asheville.
So here’s a thing that’s happening around the country and comes to Wilmington Sunday: Slide the City. Basically, it’s a 900-foot (or 1,000-foot, depending upon who’s doing the promoting) Slip ’N Slide-type thing that runs through the streets of town. Pay $10, get an inner tube, carom down a watery plastic run. Pay more, get more rides. Starts at the Red Cross Street and runs from North 3rd Street to North Water Street.
Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 20, noon-6 p.m., $10 for one ride, multiride and all-day passes available. More info here.
Sunday forecast: High of 87 and sunny.
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Looking ahead: Maze Craze 5K, a 5K run through a maze blazed in a field of sorghum, Saturday, Sept. 26. More info here.
One of the many great things about Lake James State Park is that it’s somewhat conveniently located to most of the state, situated as it is just off I-40 between Morganton and Marion.
That’s especially good this weekend as Lake James celebrates the 12th Annual Catawba RiverFest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy live music, food, educational exhibits, a live raptor release at about 10:30 a.m., nature hikes and paddling.
Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lake James State Park, Nebo. Free. More information here.
Saturday forecast: High of 90 and sunny.
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Looking ahead: Campout for Take A Child Outside Week, Chimney Rock State Park, Saturday, Sept. 26. More info here.
We keep an eye out for these, for the opportunity to go out and try the latest equipment and see if it really is the equipment that’s holding us back. Alas … .
Sunday, Highland Brewing Co. is the site of Diamond Brand Outdoors demo day: come try out ENO Hammocks, tents, backpacks, outdoor footwear and more. Live bands, food trucks, outdoor gear from variety of vendors for purchase. And did we mention its at Highland Brewing?
Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 20, 2-6 p.m., Highland Brewing, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville. More info here.
Sunday forecast: Sunny, 90.
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Looking ahead: Family Hiking Day Celebration, Sept. 26, Fontana Village Resort in Graham County. Guided hikes, nature activities and crafts, educational presentations. Free. More info: 828.498.2211.
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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.
Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.
North Carolina Coast Host