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2016 Fall Pioneers Class Page


Woodcrest Farm will be offering a 2016 Fall semester class in hiking and backpacking for children aged approximately 8-12 for 10 weeks starting Friday Sept. 9th with the intent of:
          1. Introducing kids (and parents!) to the idea that it is possible to live out of contact with "the grid" for hours (and by extension) days or weeks at a time - like the Pioneers did!
          2. Involving kids (and parents!) in planning and preparation for backpacking
          3. Learning hiking and backpacking skills - following trail markers, good trail etiquette, safe hiking guidelines, using trail guides and maps, etc.
          4. Familiarization with healthy trail foods (light, high-energy) and hydration options
          5. Providing an introduction to geology, watersheds, flora and fauna (not my strong suits so any parental experts are welcome!)
          6. Familiarizing families with local trails, parks, and hiking opportunities
          7. History lessons when relevant and the opportunity arises
          8. Assembling a kit of essential hiking gear
          9. Building confidence and independence in hiking several miles
          10. Experiencing the fun of traveling by foot. 

As many of you know, I am a die-hard back-packer, having completed over 5000 trail miles on 3 continents. I am secretly hoping to infect your children with a love of backpacking and camping that will take them to beautiful and remote parts of God's beautiful earth in years to come.

Parents need to be ready to outfit their hikers properly,  Essential items are a backpack, a rain jacket, and trail shoes or boots.  The good news is that the kids get to keep all the stuff we use, at least until they outgrow it.  Additional items will be assembled as the class progresses, in many cases, by bulk purchases. A schedule of planned activities and gear requirements is included below.

In addition to outfitting hikers, parents need to be prepared to get their kids to the hike location each week.  We can do this by arranging group transportation from the farm or individual transportation by participating parents. There will also be a requirement for one or more parents to provide return transportation for those hikes that are END->END rather than LOOP type. Hopefully we can work these out week by week.
The cost will be $100.00 per child or $150 / family for the 10 weeks. 



Calendar of Activities (Subject to Change, so check each week)

Date Place Activity Supplies

Sept 9
2 pm

Woodcrest Farm
5604 Dairyland Rd

1) Review class objectives
2) Administration and provisioning
3) Dressing for the trail
4) Follow a blazed trail around farm
5) Eat Snack

Water Bottle (1 liter for trail and lunch)
Trail Shoes
Layered Hoodies, shirts rather than jackets


Sept 16
2 pm

Kings Highway Park

We will hike the trails around the Great Bend of the Eno - A relatively short hike with a lot of historic content. We will review pre-European history of the area, Occoneechee camp location, and introduce watershed concepts

Backpack, Water bottle, and windbreaker, Trail Shoes, Toilet Paper, trail Snack LOOP

Sept 23
2 pm



We'll hike the long way on the Overlook Trail, with excellent views of Hillsborough and the Eno River. We'll eat a trail snack at the overlook. We'll continue geography and watershed aspects since Occoneeche is highest point that divides the Neuse and Cape Fear watersheds. Distance 2+ miles, elevations. Backpack, Water bottle, and windbreaker, Toilet Paper, Sierra Cups, Camp soap, handi-wipes, trail Snack

Sept 30
2 pm

Eno River State Park - Pleasant Green Road to Howe Street

This weeks hike will be on the Laurel Bluffs trail, western section, which is part of the Mountains to the Sea Trail (MST) - Approximately 3 miles. We will pass the Eno Quary, and have an opportunity to review some Durham geology and history. Kit + tarps. There may be an opportunity for a short swim if hikers have suitable quick-dry clothes and the weather is warm. Pack a snack

Oct. 7
2 pm

Haw River Trail - Stoney Creek Marina to Sellers Falls

We will be hking the Haw River Trail from the Stoney Creek Marina to Red Slide Park in Burlington. This is also part of the MST, and will be our longest hike so far 3.75 miles. It offers some serious hiking along (at one time) a navigable NC river in the Cape Fear wathershed. We'll talk about Alamance history, shipping, and river boats. Kids should pack all the items we have assembled so far. If we get started at 2:00 sharp, we'll end close to 4 at a nice park, so snacks need not be complicated. END->END

Oct. 14
2 pm

Little River Regional park

Little River park straddles the Orange-Durham county border. The park is large and has several long loop trails. Our hike will be 3+ miles. An interesting feature of this park is a "solar system" scale model, so we'll be discussing planets, moons, asteriods, astronomical units, and exploration of the solar system. Full Kit + snack

Oct. 21
2 pm

Umstead State Park
Raleigh, NC
We'll be hiking Sal's Branch, a 2.8 mile loop trail starting at the Crabtree Creek entrance. Umstead park has a rich history and an interesting visitors center which we'll spend time at. Full Kit + snack

Oct. 28
2 pm

Haw River Trail
Glencoe Area

We'll be hiking a 2.3 mile stretch of very nice trail ending at Glencoe with hydro-power history and a great place for pictures Bring full packs and a snack to eat at the end of the trail.  May be getting cooler. END->END

Nov 4
2 pm

Gold Park Riverwalk

Introduction to trail towns! We'll be hiking the Riverwalk from Gold Park to Weaver Street Market where we might just re-supply for the walk back to Gold Park. In the process we'll walk a beautiful urban trail, and talk about trail towns around the world. If unaccompanied by parents, kids ought to have a few $$ to spend at Weaver street for "re-supply".
Nov. 11

Blackwood Farm Park

Blackwood Farm Park is a new park with a few short trails. We will spend most of our time doing an Orienteering Workshop using compass (and maybe some GPS units). We may want to think about a picnic if the weather is warm and enough families are interested  Gear + compass and snacks unless we have a picnic.

Supply List:

Parents are responsible for items 1-6; I will provide the rest.

  1. Backpack - general utility backpack, comfortable and durable. Some are built for long-distance trekking and might be a good investment, but if it can fit the rest of the list, its fine. REI has excellent kids backpacks in 2 sizes
  2. Water bottle - a reusable water bottle, either aluminum, titanium, or non-toxic plastic will be needed every week and everyone needs one anyway. Note: A standard water bottle is 12 oz. Between trail and lunch, the kids can easily drink a pint, and may need more. I normally carry a litre (100 cc) which translates to a quart.
  3. Sleeping bag or blanket roll - if we can schedule an overnight, kids will need something to sleep in.  A sleeping bag small enough to fit in their backpack is perfect.  In lieu of a sleeping bag, a blanket roll will work fine, and I can show you how to make one with a blanket, sheet, and blanket pins. 
  4. Clothes - 1 extra pair of shorts, underwear, top, 2 pair thick socks, in a stuff sack. 
  5. Lunches/snacks - granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit in zip-top bags
  6. Raingear - a hooded wind-breaker to keep upper body dry and warm. Mine rolls up into a little pocket in the back, and has a strap for carrying.  I recommend one that can be re-waterproofed - its a good investment for everyone.  See  Campmor Kids Parka $20.00  or REI site.
  7. Hygiene Kit - two day's supply toilet paper; Handi-wipes - the only washcloth or dishrag you will ever need;  Camp soap - low sudsing detergent in a small travel squeeze bottle.
  8. First-aid kit -  bandages, ACE bandage; Neosporin
  9. Rope - 20 ft. nylon rope
  10. Sierra Cup(s) - available from REI or Campmor $6.00.  Great investment for any camping trip.
  11. Utensils - good quality plastic utensils are best value.  GSI Outdoor Cutlery set $3.00
  12. Tarp / shelter - I can order a bunch of these at a low price (like about 3.00) and we can use them and then Dad can use them to cover the lawn-mower after we're done. See Light Duty Tarps
  13. Compass - For the few kids who don't carry a smart phone with a compass app, we'll go over what a compass is, how it works, and basic orienteering


Register for 2016 Pioneeers Class

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Name 2016 List Hikers Hy- giene First Aid Sierra Cup Uten- sils Tarp Rope Com- pass NOTES


Camp Soap - Walmart sells Green Apple anti-bacterial dishwashing / hand soap in large bottles. It is biodegradeable, low-sudsing, and can be used for dishes, hands, shampoo, and bath. I am going to get some and a bunch of 2oz bottles and fill them up for whoever wants one. 

I can order a 4x6 tarp for everyone.  Having them all the same size will be useful.  I have enough rope for everyone as well.  I'll wait a few more days to order other stuff to minimize shipping.