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Ignite Outdoors Explore Hiking

Dates:

June 12-15, 2019

June 19-22, 2019

July 10-13, 2019

July 27-27, 2019

July 31-August 3, 2019

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FAQ About Hiking Trips

We want everyone to get out and experience the outdoors regardless of whether you grew up playing outside or have never been hiking or sleeping in a tent. “Explore” trips like our hiking and climbing trips, have you camp in what is usually called “front country” or “developed” campsites.  This means you set up a home base camp in a well-maintained state park campground, spend each day adventuring in different and exciting locations and then return to the same camp each night. This kind of camping allows you to explore some of East Tennessee’s most beautiful wilderness and still enjoy the comforts of toilets, hot/cold showers, and freedom from carrying your camp everywhere you go.

We are happy to teach you everything you need to know!  On this trip, you get to sleep in our high-quality name brand tents at a reserved campsite in Big South Fork National Recreation Area.  This campsite is your home for all 3 nights of the trip. In addition to the tents, we provide you with all the camping gear you need including sleeping bags, sleeping pads, rain jackets/pants, camp stoves, and just about anything else you can think of, so don’t worry about buying gear (unless you want to)!

Depends… We provide all the tents due to space restrictions of the campground. If you want to use your own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain gear, etc, you can. We do have good gear, so do feel free to use our stuff from Mountain Hardware, Kelty, Sierra Designs, etc. Upon check in to the trip, we check over your gear just to make sure it’s a good fit for this trip. If you have questions about our gear or buying, please email us at utop@utk.edu.

You could hike anywhere from 5 to 10+ miles per day depending on factors like weather, trail conditions, and group interest.  It’s not uncommon for us to split up into groups in the afternoon for those who want to do a little extra hiking and those who want to relax at camp. The Big South Fork is along a gorge. The top is flat-ish while the bottom is full of boulders, rocks, and unique stone formations to hike amongst.

Our hiking speed is called “the conversational pace”. You and your new friends can easily chat as you hike. Hiking too fast means we won’t be able to talk. We generally hike together but with multiple leaders, we can sometimes break into
smaller groups if we want or need to. You won’t be rushed or hold anyone back.

If you have hiking boots or shoes made for hiking, definitely use those.  If not, no need to go buy something. Most athletic shoes have enough support and cushion. Shoes for casual wear usually do not have enough support or cushioning.
It’s recommended that in addition to the hiking shoes, you also bring a pair of comfortable open toed shoes with a heel strap, (ex: Teva sandals, Chacos, Crocs, etc.).  We’ve found that many participants enjoy wearing shoes like this around camp at the end of the day, as well as for some portions of the trail where stream crossings are frequent. And yes, you must wear shoes/boots – no bare feet. Why no bare feet? Most likely your feet are tough but if you hurt your feet, it impacts everyone else.
Email us at utop@utk.edu if you are unsure.

Most likely yes! The trip is kind of like life, most days life is good but some days, not so much. You might be rained on or become dirty, but when the 4 days end, you’ll be super glad for experiencing all of it with your new friends.  You’ll depart looking forward to the fall season. After 15 years of offering overnight trips, we have yet to have someone who didn’t enjoy the experience.

Tasty food!  We can easily accommodate most food restrictions and ensure you do not go hungry. Nowadays food restrictions are common so our menu can account for most things. If you have a particular diet, just email us at utop@utk.edu and we’ll figure it out.

Even though we’re camping at a developed campground, our campsite doesn’t have electric hookups, so it’s unlikely that you get a chance to charge any electronics you bring.  Cell phone service is spotty at best, and nonexistent in most of the area.
Weather in Tennessee is often unpredictable.  Your trip leaders have detailed plans on how to handle the weather, but if it’s just raining outside we usually put on our Mountain Hardwear rain gear and hike anyway.  Part of camping is getting a little dirty, and hiking in a rain suit is almost always preferable to sitting in a tent all day.  If you have never camped before, hate bugs, and find the outdoors a mystery, you should do this trip! We’ll do everything we can to help you enjoy it, find friends, and feel prepared for the fall semester.