Exploration Alison

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I'm a solo travel enthusiast who began traveling in my thirties. Now, not quite still in my thirties, my goal is to encourage other women to get out and explore. For the more adventurous, I'm also a backpacking and hiking guide helping adults learn to explore our backyard of NC, TN and VA. Although not quite there yet, my next goals are mountain biking and rock climbing.

I didn't see pictures of people that looked like me when I started traveling and backpacking. All I saw were beautiful twenty-somethings in exotic locations. There were no pictures of women in their thirties or forties, overweight but active, out there traveling. After a few trips, I realized the reality is that more actual travelers looked like me than the models. You can stay in hotels or go on tours solo, you're not destined to stay in hostels and journey on foot if you don't want to.

Life is full of adventure. No one "missed their opportunity". It's always a good time to start.

Location Durham, NC
Country United States of America
Member Since OCTOBER 25, 2019
Social Audience 100
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Tips for a Successful Trip

So if you’re comfortable in a 20-degree sleeping bag in temperatures 20 to 30 degrees, then you’ll want a 10-degree bag if you’re heading into 10 to 20-degree overnights. While I normally carry my filter in the brain of my pack, in cold weather it goes in a Ziploc bag inside the pack for more insulation while I’m hiking. Honestly, you can bring it into the sleeping bag as long as it’s sealed and there’s no risk of getting water in the bag with you. Set up the tent, blow up the sleeping pad, blow up pillow, unpack the sleeping bag, pull out food and cooking, place water in a specific location, put clothing in its place in the tent, et cetera.

Welcome to the Mountains

From downtown, it’s about 20 minutes to the Blue Ridge Parkway, thirty to Boone, and forty to Blowing Rock, making West Jefferson a great jumping-off point to explore the area. Things to Do in West Jefferson Explore downtown West Jefferson, but keep in mind several stores are closed Sundays and Mondays. There are several parks and outdoor adventures in West Jefferson and Nearby Located in West Jefferson, Mount Jefferson State Park is less than 15 minutes from downtown. The Summit trail is doable for most hikers, but you’ll want good hiking boots as the trail can be narrow in places, is a climb up to the summit so even with switch-backs you’re going up the entire time, and it’s rocky in places.

What to Wear Backpacking in Every Season

You put on a short-sleeve synthetic shirt, then a heavy, long-sleeve wool shirt and a down jacket, you’re comfortable eating breakfast. Unless you’re hiking in 20 degree weather, you probably won’t need anything under your hiking pants. For instance, if it’s 30 degrees, I may put on a 150 weight, short sleeve, wool base layer and then top with a 250 weight, long sleeve, wool shirt as my mid-layer. Although stylish, if you use a long sleeve base layer and then put a short-sleeve layer on top, you may be in a position later where you want to wear only a short-sleeve shirt.

Gifts for Backpackers

Excited to find just the right item, you start searching “gifts for backpackers”, but all you find are suggestions on the greatest winter jackets and tents. You know better than to get your special outdoors person a tent, jacket, rain gear, or even socks without a direct link to the specific item. A lot of research went into finding the right sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, and rain jacket. They’re used to corral food for bear hangs, keep those essentials nice and dry (like your sleeping bag), and keep wet things from contaminating the rest of the gear.

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