We launched our GetBackpacking! program in 2014; since then, we've graduated more than 150 new backpackers. We plan to offer three sessions this fall, two in the Triangle, one in the Triad. Here's how the program works
* Gear Get-together. We meet at Great Outdoor Provision Co. for a quick get-to-know-you session (we'll get to know one another really well in the coming weeks), then spend about an hour learning about the basic gear: backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and pads, cook stoves.
* Three training hikes. At the first hike, we'll go over how to pack a backpack, then hike in full pack for 2 miles. Second training hike: We'll hike 2 miles, stop and set up camp, then break camp and hike 2 more miles. Third training hike: We'll hike about 3 miles, stop and prepare a meal, then hike another 3 miles. Training locations vary (see below).
* 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. Cost of the 4-week program is $165. Upon signing up, you will be invoiced. WhenIn addition to instruction and the guided graduation hike, you'll receive:
• $35 gift card from Great Outdoor Provision Co. (effectively reducing the fee to $130.
• 10 percent discount on backpacking/hiking gear for the duration of the session.
* Info packet, including gear lists, tips sheets, and 10 great places to backpacking in North Carolina once you've graduated.
• Weekly enewsletter outlining that week's session and including backpack tips.
• Loaner gear. We have a limited number of backpacks and tents available on a first requested, first awarded basis, at no extra charge.
Dates for the September session:
• Gear Get-together: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Cameron Village, Raleigh
• Training 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, 9 a.m., Umstead State Park, Raleigh
• Training 2: Sunday, Sept. 17, 9 a.m., Eno River State Park, Durham
• Training 3: Sunday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m., Falls Lake, Raleigh
• Trip planning: Wednesday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Raleigh
• Graduation trip: Friday afternoon thru Sunday, Oct. 6-8, South Mountains State Park.
NOTE: The first 12 people to sign up and pay will be guaranteed a spot in this program. Shortly after signing up, you will be sent an invoice through PayPal (if you prefer to pay by check, let me know and we can make that happen).
ANOTHER NOTE: Minimum age for the program is 13, ages 13 through 17 must be in the program with an adult (we define adult generously as anyone 18 or older).
YET ANOTHER NOTE: If you'd like to take the program with a friend, a spouse, your youngster, it's best if they sign up individually. However, if they'd rather not do the Meetup thing, let me know and we can sign them up without becoming entangled in The System.