Fall rolls around and, dang!, you realize you’ve all but shot your vacation. And here it is, the best time to be backpacking. What is a backpacker to do? Take a Weekend Quick Escape, with GetBackpacking!
This fall, we’re introducing a new series of quick trips aimed at folks who’ve burned through their vacation time, but are soooo eager to get out and enjoy fall backpacking. Here’s the deal:
* We leave at 5 p.m. Friday, so you shouldn’t have to take time off from work.
* We drive to a trailhead that’s no more than two and a half hours away.
* We hike to a campsite that’s not too far in: from a half mile to less than 3. * We’ll be to camp no later than 8 p.m.
* We set up camp (yes, in the dark; it’s a good skill to have).
* Saturday, we have the entire day to do hike. We’ll hike in day packs, returning to our basecamp at day’s end. Our hikes will be from 10 to 15 miles.
* Sunday, we may do one more short hike before heading home. You’ll be home mid- to late afternoon.
It’s the perfect option for backpackers who thought they didn’t have time to plan a fall backpack trip, let alone take one.
Our November trip: Doughton Park. Here’s how the weekend will unfold:
Friday: We’ll leave the Triangle at 5 p.m., carpooling from I-40 and NC 86 in Chapel Hill. We’ll arrive at the trailhead to the primitive camping area at Longbottom Road at the base of Doughton Park around 7:30 p.m. and hike in the half mile or so on an old roadbed and set up camp.
Saturday: In day packs, we’ll do a 15.5-mile loop, heading out (and up) on the Grassy Gap Fire Road 3.5 miles to the ridge. There we’ll pick up the Bluff Mountain Trail (aka Mountains-to-Sea Trail) for a hike that climbs 2.5 miles to Bluff Mountain, then spends 4 miles mostly in mountaintop meadows with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ll take a short detour to the Wildcat Rocks overlook to check out the Caudill Cabin way below, then continue on to the Brinegar Cabin, before returning to camp via the Cedar Ridge Trail. One of North Carolina’s most classic hikes.
Sunday: Hike up Basin Creek Trail to the Caudill Cabin (3.3 miles), return to camp (3.3 miles), break camp, and be on the road by 2 p.m.
Includes: The trip itself, camping/permit, eguide for the trip detailing all hikes (including a custom map and elevation profile), tips on what to bring and how to dress, information on the terrain we’ll be exploring. We’ll also have a Trip Planning meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Chapel Hill to over the hike and give tips on how to be ready for a quick Friday escape, hiking and setting up camp at night, unique challenges this trip may present, and more.
Hike is limited to 12 participants.