What’s happening?

Here’s what’s coming up in the GetHiking! and GetBackpacking! universe.

Gragg Prong, Wilson Creek area

Aug. 2 – 4 GetBackpacking! Wild, Wonderful Wilson Creek

To a lot of us, the joy of backpacking is escaping the masses, of hiking in just far enough to earn a little solitude, setting up camp, then exploring. The more exploring we can do without 30 pounds on our back, the better. That’s the goal behind our Wonderful Wilson Creek trip in August. On Day 1 we hike in less than a mile and a half, set up camp, then explore some of the best summer swimming holes in the Southeast. On Day 2, we play in the water a bit more before breaking camp and relocating to a spot, that’s again only about a mile and a half hike, for one of the best sunsets — and sunrises — around. On Day 3, we hike out in full pack, then drop those packs for a last hike of less than two miles to one of the most rugged falls in an area rife with ‘em. Trip is limited to 12 people.

Fee: $105

More info and sign up here.

outdoor skills

GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods.

Love the trail but uncertain about your wayfinding skills? This three-hour session goes over basic map and compass skills, then hits the trail to offer key tips on how to follow and stay on the trail, how to find it again if you stray, and how to explore off trail. We’ll start with a 30-minute map-and-compass introduction, then use that map and compass — and some Daniel Boone skills — to find our way in the woods. We’ll also do some off-trail exploring, with the goal of purposefully venturing off trail, then figuring out how to rejoin the trail. Our goal is to make you confident hiking alone or taking a novice friend on the trail — and a little bit off! Course is limited to 7 adult participants.

Fee: $45 (kids 17 and under accompanied by an adult are free).

Two sessions this month:

  • Triangle: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 5:30 p..m., Umstead State Park, Raleigh. Sign up here.
  • Triad: Sunday, Aug. 11, 2 p.m., Haw River State Park/Iron Ore Belt Access, Gresdsnboro. 

More info and sign up here.

Crossing Kimsey Creek, Standing Indian

Aug. 15-18 GetHiking! Classic Weekend at Standing Indian Recreation Area

We’ve done this trip three times, and the comment is always, “It’s a long drive out here (it’s about a 5-hour drive from the Triangle), sure wish we had another day to hike. Well, this year, we do. We’ll head up Thursday and establish camp at the Standing Indian Recreation Area Group Campground, then, on Friday hike up to Standing Indian Mountain and on Saturday hike to Albert Mountain, both about 11-mile hikes. Both hikes involve hiking up the face of this horseshoe-shaped basin, then spending a little time on the Appalachian Trail before heading back down. Sunday, after a pancake breakfast, we to short hikes to Big Laurel Falls and Mooney Falls before heading home.

Fee: $115 (includes coffee/tea all three mornings, pancake breakfast Sunday morning, trail snacks and swag).

More info and sign up here.

Shortoff Mountain, Linville Gorge

Aug. 23-25 GetBackpacking! Linville Gorge: Advanced Skills

Linville Gorge has been called one of the wildest spots in the eastern U.S. During its 12-mile run, the west rim rises, abruptly, 1,300 feet above the Linville River below. Trails that lead into the gorge from the west have horizon lines, that point at which, upon approach, the trail seems to wander off into space (in reality, it plunges down the side of the mountain). Because of its steep and rugged nature, there was minimal logging in the gorge, leaving virgin stands of towering timber. 11,651 acres of the gorge are designated wilderness, easily making the first induction after passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. When one of these behemoth trees goes down there’s no effort to remove it from the trail, making for some of the most rugged — and impressive — scenery around. Our trip aims to expose you to this scenery on a modest budget of pain.

What do we mean by “Advanced Skills.” It’s a designation we give to trips that require you have at least a beginner level of backpacking experience and an eagerness to expand those skills. On this trip, we will deal with two water crossings (of the Linville River), and navigating a wilderness area. You should also be in good condition for this trip and you’ll be required to have basic backpacking equipment (a complete list of required gear will be provided after signing up). We offer guidance and support on this trip.

Fee: $105

Learn more and sign up here.

A GetBackpacking! class commences graduation at South Mountains State Park.

September GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking

We launched our GetBackpacking! program in 2014; since then, we’ve graduated more than 225 new backpackers. Here’s the plan for our fall session:

* Gear Get-together. We meet at Great Outdoor Provision Co. for a quick get-to-know-you session, then spend about an hour learning about the basic gear: backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and pads, cook stoves. We will also do a pack loading demonstration, working on fit and what goes where. 2 hours.

* Training Day. In full gear, we will meet at Morrow Mountain State Park for a day-long training session that will go over: Evaluating a campsite, setting up camp, breaking camp, meal preparation (including the various food and cooking options on the trail). Expect to hike about 5 miles in full pack, during which we will work on hiking technique (including the use of trekking poles), ensuring a good pack fit, adjusting your pack during the hike to make sure it continues to fit, and more. We will spend 5 to 6 hours on this session.

* Graduation hike. Three-day, two-night trip to South Mountains State Park (http://ncparks.gov/south-mountains-state-park), a great place for your first trip.

Fee: $155. Includes instruction; 20 percent discount on one piece of hiking/backpacking gear at Great Outdoor Provision Co.; info packet, including gear lists, tips sheets, and 10 great places to backpack in North Carolina once you’ve graduated; eguide outlining the program and covering what you’ll learn; loaner gear, including a limited number of backpacks and tents available on a first-requested, first-awarded basis, at no extra charge.


• Gear Get-together: Tuesday, Sept. 10 in Charlotte; Wednesday, Sept. 11 in Greensboro; Thursday, Sept. 12, Chapel Hill (choose the session closest to you).

• Training Day: Saturday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle.

• Graduation trip: Friday afternoon thru Sunday, Oct. 4-6, South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs.

Learn more and sign up here.

Explore the outdoors, discover yourself.