We launched our GetBackpacking! program in 2014; since then, we've graduated more than 200 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, 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. We will meet at Morrow Mountain State Park for a 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 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. Cost of the program is $155. Upon signing up, you will be invoiced. In addition to instruction and the guided graduation hike, you'll receive:
• 10 percent discount on backpacking/hiking gear at Great Outdoor Provision Co. 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.
• eguide outlining the program and covering what you'll learn.
• Loaner gear. We have a limited number of backpacks and tents available on a first requested, first awarded basis, at no extra charge.'
* Sign up for this class and get 25 percent off our GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods Class offered Sunday, May 6 at Morrow Mountain, at 9 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. For a description of that class and to sigh up, go here: https://www.meetup.com/GetHiking-Charlotte
• Gear Get-together: Thursday, Sept. 6, 6-8 p.m., Great Outdoor Provision Co., Cameron Village Shopping Center, Raleigh.
• Training Day: Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Morrow Mountain State Park
• Graduation trip: Friday afternoon thru Sunday, Sept. 28-30, South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs.
NOTE: 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.