You know, those paper things that people used to use to go everywhere? They may be old school, awkward to unfold and hard to navigate. However, sometimes a good ole map will be more reliable than Siri. Siri might actually let you drive off a cliff.
Study where you need to go
Whether you’re hiking on a mountain trail or driving through one of the many small towns around western North Carolina, figuring out where you’re supposed to go while you still have phone service is useful. I let my GPS take me on a dirt road in the middle of Great Smoky Mountains National Park right into a dead end. “Press button and go” may sound great, but it’s not fun backtracking because the GPS took you to the wrong place.
Go to a local coffee shop
Aside from getting lost, the key to a great mountain adventuring is breaking away from the tourist attractions. One of the best ways to get an insider look into a community is going to a local hotspot, whether it be a diner or a coffee shop. The locals probably know cooler places to go than your travel guide. While you’re getting to know the locals, you can gorge on some of western North Carolina’s homestyle cooking.
Pack the appropriate footwear
For all you wanderlust people who want to go out into the wilderness, there are plenty of mountain trails for you. Some get pretty rugged – like climbing over boulders – so pack some hiking boots or some sneakers you wouldn’t mind dragging through the mud. Your feet will thank you later.
Watch out for bears!
There are a lot of bears in the mountains just chilling out in the bushes, and if you are hiking you may see one. There are a ton of resources online that tell you what to do when you see a bear, and I will sum them up.
- Do not approach the bear
- Do not make any sudden movements or loud noises
- Do not try to feed the bear
- Do not take a selfie with the bear
- Just back away slowly from the bear