Category Archives: Hiking

GetHiking! 50+ 10 tips for older hikers

I’ve been leading hikes and backpack trips for more than a decade, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that most of my hikers were older than I’d expected. We’d have a few people in their 20s, then a big gap, then a whole lot of people in their 50s. And 60s. And 70s. It eventually dawned on me why: people in their 20s have fewer commitments and more time to play. Same with people who are done raising kids and are reaching retirement age.  read more

GetOut! Check out spring now (and a month ago)

One of the reasons we like to do a GetBackpacking! trip to the Shining Rock area in April is because we get to revisit spring. Traditionally, we begin at the Shining Rock Creek/Big East Fork Trailhead off US 276, at an elevation of about 3,100 feet. Here, spring is well underway, with mid-spring wildflowers in bloom, the trees essentially leafed out. But as we climb, as we gain more than 2,400 vertical feet on a 4.3-mile climb up to Shining Rock Gap, time begins to reverse itself. Trees just beginning to sprout leaves, wildflowers of the early season sort. By the time we reach the top, the trees are winter-bare, first-responder bluets dominate the wildflower scene. A visit to Shining Rock is like going back in time. read more

GetOut! Spring blossoms on Earth Day weekend

The Spring wildflower bloom has been going on for about a month and a half now. It kicked off with the maroon and yellow fingerling petals of the trout lily, the delicate white (and sometimes pink or purple) blossom of the spring beauty. Those have pretty much passed, and now we’re on to the bluets, ladyslippers, Dutchman’s breeches and more. The point? The show won’t last much longer, which is why today we’re recommending wildflower hikes for the coming weekend. read more

This summer, hike the mountains of the MST

Back in January I got to thinking about where I haven’t been in too long and thus, where I would love to explore this summer. 

I didn’t have to think long: the mountain portion of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Now, I hike the MST nearly every day, since I can pick it up a couple blocks from my front door in Hillsborough. And while I never tire of this stretch, nor of the other 120 miles I hike with some frequency through the Triangle, there’s something about the MST’s nearly 350-mile run through the mountains that’s especially enchanting — and diverse, capturing both the rugged beauty of the Southern Appalachians and its moments of intimate calm. Here’s a look at three favorite sections, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. read more