So being a naive newbie to organizing Meetup Groups, my first attempt was too broad so I renamed my first group as "Carolina Advanced Backpacking Adventures" & created this second group "Carolina Educational Backpacking Adventures" so as to better meet the needs of the members & reach my original goals for starting a group. Please consider this thoughtfully & choose the appropriate group.
My motivation was to target a niche group that I don't think is currently being served by other Meetups. There is a myriad of outdoors Meetup groups in NC who are offering a lot of excellent opportunities for beginner, novice, & intermediate backpackers. I'm not setting up the educational group just to offer shorter trips for those that want to continue at that level. I want to work with people who aspire to do more advanced longer treks. The educational group is to help people make the big jump from intermediate to advanced......again......not just to offer shorter hikes because people don't want to do advanced level.
I know this is getting repetitive but I'm spending a lot of time trying to make this clear & declining folks who are trying to join but don't fit the goal of the group......
This group will not be for first time backpackers. There are plenty of Meetup groups already offering these trips regularly. This educational/developmental group will be focused on backpackers at the intermediate level who aspire to learn & challenge themselves to do more ambitious treks such as section hikes, thru hikes, & treks out west. My hope is that motivated hikers will gain the experience & confidence to join my Carolina Advanced Backpacking Adventures group.
FYI - what I chose to establish as the benchmark of "advanced" for the advanced group (Carolina Advanced Backpacking Adventures) was this:
"It won't be uncommon to have days with 20+ mi & 5,000'+ of gain"
If you're still interested in this Meetup group, here is more background information to provide context for the types of experiences I intend to offer........
I'm a high school chemistry teacher. I didn’t experience backpacking until 2009 so I was a very late starter. You could say that I caught the “bug”. By 2015, I was completing 15 treks a year. Some of my trekking is by bike so my passion can be generalized as self-powered, self-contained adventure travel. As a teacher, I have 12 weeks off a year and I try to make good use of that time. We launched an outdoor education program in 2009. The popularity of that program led some students & I to start an Outdoors Club in the fall of 2012. To my continued astonishment & delight, that has led to the successful completion of 28 trips involving 535 student participants & 90 chaperones. It has been a joy to share the serene beauty of the wilderness with young adults who have grown up in the digital age. Many are sleeping outside for the first time and have never been away from their electronics (TV, computer, phone) for any length of time. We have trips in May, November, & February so many are getting their first experience in some challenging conditions. I admire their courage to push their boundaries. After strapping a backpack on for the first time in June 2009, my backpacking has evolved into three types of trips:
1. School trips – large groups (our record is 44) 2. Small groups – I invite experienced club members & alumni to join me for more challenging treks 3. Solo
I enjoy all three. All share some core rewards but also offer some unique rewards. As my treks became more ambitious, I have found myself traveling further from NC. In the summer of 2017, I bikepacked from Carolina Beach NC to Astoria OR. In Dec. 2017, I took a large group to Chile to backpack the Patagonia region. I just completed a thru hike of the PCT in September 2018. My motto is “make it memorable”. This year has been memorable for me & I’m thankful that I can have these experiences & sometimes share them with others.
This group requires that you provide your own gear & assume liability for the risks inherent to wilderness trekking. I will provide detailed itineraries & hopefully we will all share advice earned from our respective experiences.