We love spring. It’s a time of rebirth, of action after a winter, for many, of inactivity. Warming temperatures and a natural world come back to life put us in a mind to do the same.
One way to make that happen? Become a hiker.
OK, maybe you have hiked. Maybe a friend convinced you to go for a short hike last year. Maybe you even did a New Year’s Day hike. We’re not talking about sampling the product. We’re talking about becoming an avid, hiking-boot-owning, guide-book-wielding, join-the-American-Hiking-Society hiker. A bonafide hiker.read more
We’re ready for spring, so we can get outside even more often. We bet you’re ready, too.
What say we get together and do a little exploring? Here are some of the adventures we have planned for spring.
Winter Wild Off-Trail Adventures
This series of off-trail adventures started in winter but it’s trickling over into spring — in part, because weather caused a postponement or two. It’s also because we’ve had such a blast on these hikes — a portion of which are on official trail, most of which aren’t — that we decided to extend the program through March. Still to come:read more
You know, Seasonal Affective Disorder—a depression that can set in when the days are short and the sun sets too early in the day. Once this mood-altering disorder takes hold, it can be hard to shake; it’s best to fight it off before it has a chance to make itself at home, leaving you hibernating uncomfortably.
One way to combat SAD, according to the Mayo Clinic, is to go outside and move—the more regularly, the better. Even when it’s cold, a brisk walk in outdoor light can help. Another way to lift your mood is to be with other people; socializing with a dose of laughter helps you connect with others. And regular hiking can reduce levels of stress, which can contribute to SAD symptoms.
Frankly, all of us could stand to reduce stress levels. So, even if SAD doesn’t get you down, brisk movement and being with others is a great way to keep stress at bay by releasing endorphins and elevating your mood.
As always, we are here to help.
We have several winter programs designed to get you out and moving with a group of supportive fellow hikers. For new hikers who need an especially nurturing environment, we have our Beginning Hiker Series. For more established hikers who want to stay in the habit of hiking during winter, we have our Experienced Hiker series. Both of these programs meet every Sunday afternoon for eight weeks.
For a fresh change of scenery, which can shake things up in a good way, we have a monthly Piedmont Explorer series, which will take you along trails that you may be familiar with and haven’t explored, or perhaps didn’t even know existed.
In addition, we post regular hikes thought our seven GetHiking! chapters.
Meanwhile, here at GetGoingNC HQ, we’re sprucing up some programs for sunnier days ahead. Look for more information in the coming weeks.
We want to hike with you in 2018. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hiking since the days of leather boots and lederhosen. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a hiking trail from a paper trail. We want to hike with you, and odds are we have a program that will meet your needs as you enter the new year.
Today, we start with three hiking programs to start off the new year. Next week, we’ll tell you about our backpacking programs and weekend camping escapes.
If you’re looking for a way to be more active in 2018, hiking is an excellent way to do it. Think about your past New Year’s resolutions for exercise: most probably involved a gym and a determination to work out at least three times a week. Think about how long that effort lasted (did it make it through January?)
One problem with gym resolutions is the “work” part of the word “workout.” It just plain feels like work, something you may not be all that inclined to do.
Hiking is different. We like to focus on play. Heading up a steep hill or tackling a long trail may work up a sweat and make your muscles ache; you may be a little stiff the next day. But rare is the hiker who describes hiking to a mountaintop view or descending to a waterfall overlook as “work.”
Hiking is less about work and more about developing an active lifestyle that you can continue late into life. It’s good exercise and great stress relief. It’s movement that begets movement: you hike three miles in the Piedmont, and before long you want to hike 6 miles in the mountains. And, as a bonus, with your amped-up energy, you’ll find yourself doing those everyday goals you vowed to do — take the stairs, park at the far corner of the lot.
Ready to work play into your fitness routine? Here’s how our Beginner program works: We’ll meet Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. for eight weeks beginning Jan. 7 to hike 2-4 miles at different locations around the Triangle. Especially important to beginners: a key feature of the GetHiking! program: our hikes are led from the rear, so you’ll never be left behind. It’s as beginner-friendly a way to get into hiking as you’ll find. Learn more and sign up here.
These hikes are designed for hikers who need incentive to keep hiking through the winter. Our Experienced Hiker program keeps hikers on the trail during the sometimes challenging months of January and February. By the time spring rolls around, you’ll be in shape to tackle those mountain hikes you love so much.
How our Experienced Hiker program works: We’ll meet Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. for eight weeks beginning Jan. 7. We’ll hike at various locations around the Triangle, on trails you may not know. We’ll start with a 4.2-miler to shake out the holiday cobwebs and end with a 9.7-mile hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail guaranteed to have you in mid-season form; most of the hikes in between are around 6 miles. Learn more and sign up here.
Designed for hikers with a bit of experience, this series will explore options beyond the Triangle that can be done comfortably in a day. Each of the six monthly hikes, on trails that are 5-6 miles long, are in areas within an hour and a half drive of the Triangle, including Medoc Mountain State Park, Raven Rock State Park, and Little River Regional Park. Explore these diverse Piedmont trails and expand your hiking resume.
Sample a triathlon in Cary or sample hiking on Grandfather Mountain. Or, at the coast you can workout for a cookout. Good options all for the last weekend before Labor Day weekend.
Always a smart move, scheduling a cookout with a workout, which is the gist of Saturday’s Rise and Grind Workout and Cookout Saturday morning at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington.
Sponsored by Cape Fear Boxing, a local non-profit that offers fitness and other programs for at-risk youth and troubled teens, there will be a pair of workouts in the morning followed by a cookout. Live music and a raffle, too. Sounds like a good way to celebrate the last weekend before Labor Day, viewed by many as the official end of summer.
Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 23, with workouts at 9 and 10:30 a.m., cookout to follow. $15. More info here or by contacting Rasheed Diaab at 910.200.0870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you run down your to-do list for the summer, there’s a glaring omission: you didn’t do your first triathlon.
Sunday, you can cross try-a-tri off your list with the ingenious Plunge Pedal & Plod at the Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary. This 17-year-old event is made for the person, adult or kid, who wants to sample a triathlon without investing a lot of time and energy. Try it and like it? Let that chapter of your life begin. Not so much fun? At least you tried.
The PP&P comes in four sizes, ranging from 50-yard pool swim, 4K bike ride and 1.6K run, to an 400 meter swim, 12K bike ride and 3K run. This is a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event.
Logistics: Sunday, Aug. 24, 7 a.m. (course closes at 10 a.m.). $70, non-USA Triathlon members must buy a one day membership ($10 for 17 and under, $18 otherwise). More info here.
The Chargers and ReChargers Hiking Club of Boone is conducting hikes for various ability levels. A newcomer to hiking? Check out the Easy 2.0-mile roundtrip from the Profile Trail trailhead: a lovely wander through a mature hardwood forest. Up for a little more? The Moderate 3.5-mile round trip tops out at Foscoe View and gains a total of 500 vertical feet. If you’re willing to venture into Strenuous territory there’s the 5.5-mile trip to Shanty Springs (1,600 feet), while the Very Strenuous hike gains a total of 2,046 feet over seven miles as it tops out at Calloway Peak.
Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 23, four hikes, all starting at 8:30 a.m. The hikes are free, but preregistration is required, by Friday, by calling the park office at 828.963.9522. Learn more about the park here.