Carolina Blue: Crags to Coast

Carolina Blue: Crags to Coast

Explorer Adventure - Grades 7-9

The glorious Appalachian region of the Carolinas is surrounded by over one million acres of green, rolling mountains, rushing rivers, craggy rock faces, and cascading waterfalls. Learn to rock climb at Looking Glass Falls, backpack through Pisgah National Forest, and take on the Nantahala and Chattooga Rivers before heading east to the coast. Explore the low country coastal areas of Charleston by sea kayak and surf board, and experience the best sites of this historic city in between. Explore the finest crags and coastlines the southeast has to offer, all while making lasting friendships in the great outdoors!

16 Days

$3,495

  • June 28th - July 13th
  • July 16th - July 31st
  • Charlotte, NC

Day 1

Upon arrival to Charlotte, NC, it’s hard not to get the impression that your adventure is already underway. After gathering your bags, you will meet your fellow venturers and your experienced trip leaders for the first time. Each and every one of your trip mates will have something different to bring to the table, and yet you’ll all be as equally excited for the journey ahead. From the airport, it is an easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains along the Davidson River. There, as you learn to set up camp for the first time, you’ll get the chance to hang out with your new teammates and really get to know them.  And finally, once you have all settled in, you’ll get right down to business, planning the first leg of your journey as a group.

Days 2-3

Our first stop: North Carolina’s esteemed Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah is known for it’s hardwood forests and white water rivers. For the next two days, you’ll learn the ropes of rock climbing at Looking Glass Rock. You’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. You’ll learn to belay and you’ll push yourself, your tripmates, and even your leaders to whole new heights.

Days 4-7

The Appalachian Mountains formed roughly 480 million years ago and yet despite their extensive age, there is still so much to discover. After your days of rock climbing, you’ll begin preparing for your next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  You’ll prep for the trip by doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with your cook crew, and you will get to enjoy a bit of townie civilization while you’re at it. Once you’re clean and refreshed, you’ll celebrate the hard work with a nice icy swim at Sliding Rock! Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural rock slide that plummets its daring takers into a 7-foot pool of icy water at its base. The next day, you and your group will begin your three-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. You’ll work together as a team, perfecting your map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering the use of Whisperlite stoves at mealtimes. You’ll play games, tell stories, and enjoy the serenity of the area’s wilderness, all the while keeping an eye out for local wildlife!

Days 8-10

You’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward yourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. From there, you’re off into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days to embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, you’ll learn the basics of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice your skills in individual “duckies” along the Nantahala. Class II and III rapids, swimming holes, and great fun will fill the morning before switching gears and zipping through the open air in the afternoon. We’ll take a zip-line canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, you’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. You’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Days 11-13

At this point on your trip, you and your group will have explored the best crags and forest areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and experienced splashy river rapids like never before. From here on out, you and your group will hit the coast and explore the low country coastal areas of the Carolinas. You and your group will travel to Charleston, SC and kick off the next section of your trip with a day of sea kayaking in the Barrier Islands. The ecosystem and untouched shorelines of these islands will be nothing like you’ve seen yet! You and your group will paddle the coastline and keep you eyes peeled for dolphins and other sea wildlife as you navigate through the calm waves and swells of the Atlantic.

The next day, you’ll head into the historic city of Charleston to explore the harbor and two of its most famous sites: the South Carolina Aquarium and Fort Sumter. You and your trip mates will see sharks, rays, and sea turtles before heading to Fort Sumter to experience the birthplace of the American Civil War.

 

Days 14-16

For your final day of exploring the Carolina Blue coastal waters, you and your group will learn how to surf and stand up paddle board at Folly Beach. With professional surf instructors, you will learn everything from surfing techniques to how to wax your board, and navigating ocean currents. You’ll even have the chance to stand up paddle board, too!

From there, you and your group will travel back to Charlotte for your final banquet. After 16 action-packed days, you and will bid your farewells to your new lifelong friends and head home the next day knowing the true meaning of Carolina Blue.

Day 1

Upon arrival to Charlotte, NC, it’s hard not to get the impression that your adventure is already underway. After gathering your bags, you will meet your fellow venturers and your experienced trip leaders for the first time. Each and every one of your trip mates will have something different to bring to the table, and yet you’ll all be as equally excited for the journey ahead. From the airport, it is an easy drive to our first base camp location right within the majestic Appalachian Mountains along the Davidson River. There, as you learn to set up camp for the first time, you’ll get the chance to hang out with your new teammates and really get to know them.  And finally, once you have all settled in, you’ll get right down to business, planning the first leg of your journey as a group.

Days 2-3

Our first stop: North Carolina’s esteemed Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah is known for it’s hardwood forests and white water rivers. For the next two days, you’ll learn the ropes of rock climbing at Looking Glass Rock. You’ll learn to rock climb with the best guides in the area and hit the crags for two full days of top-roping, traversing, and rappelling. You’ll learn to belay and you’ll push yourself, your tripmates, and even your leaders to whole new heights.

Days 4-7

The Appalachian Mountains formed roughly 480 million years ago and yet despite their extensive age, there is still so much to discover. After your days of rock climbing, you’ll begin preparing for your next adventure: backpacking through Pisgah National Forest.  You’ll prep for the trip by doing laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning with your cook crew, and you will get to enjoy a bit of townie civilization while you’re at it. Once you’re clean and refreshed, you’ll celebrate the hard work with a nice icy swim at Sliding Rock! Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural rock slide that plummets its daring takers into a 7-foot pool of icy water at its base. The next day, you and your group will begin your three-day backpacking excursion through some of Pisgah’s most pristine wilderness trails. You’ll work together as a team, perfecting your map and compass skills, learning the do’s and don’t’s of backcountry living, and mastering the use of Whisperlite stoves at mealtimes. You’ll play games, tell stories, and enjoy the serenity of the area’s wilderness, all the while keeping an eye out for local wildlife!

Days 8-10

You’ll head back to the frontcountry and before anything else, reward yourselves with showers, laundry, and a celebratory dinner. From there, you’re off into the great Smoky Mountains for the next few days to embark on a trifecta of fun, outdoor adventure activities along the Nantahala River. Here in this majestic wilderness, you’ll learn the basics of introductory inflatable kayaking and practice your skills in individual “duckies” along the Nantahala. Class II and III rapids, swimming holes, and great fun will fill the morning before switching gears and zipping through the open air in the afternoon. We’ll take a zip-line canopy tour of the forest below and experience unbelievable panoramic views around us. That next day, you’re off to Georgia to explore the Chattooga River and the surrounding Sumter and Chattahoochee National Forests. You’ll white water raft as a group through a number of rapids and a whole host of river swells.

Days 11-13

At this point on your trip, you and your group will have explored the best crags and forest areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and experienced splashy river rapids like never before. From here on out, you and your group will hit the coast and explore the low country coastal areas of the Carolinas. You and your group will travel to Charleston, SC and kick off the next section of your trip with a day of sea kayaking in the Barrier Islands. The ecosystem and untouched shorelines of these islands will be nothing like you’ve seen yet! You and your group will paddle the coastline and keep you eyes peeled for dolphins and other sea wildlife as you navigate through the calm waves and swells of the Atlantic.

The next day, you’ll head into the historic city of Charleston to explore the harbor and two of its most famous sites: the South Carolina Aquarium and Fort Sumter. You and your trip mates will see sharks, rays, and sea turtles before heading to Fort Sumter to experience the birthplace of the American Civil War.

 

Days 14-16

For your final day of exploring the Carolina Blue coastal waters, you and your group will learn how to surf and stand up paddle board at Folly Beach. With professional surf instructors, you will learn everything from surfing techniques to how to wax your board, and navigating ocean currents. You’ll even have the chance to stand up paddle board, too!

From there, you and your group will travel back to Charlotte for your final banquet. After 16 action-packed days, you and will bid your farewells to your new lifelong friends and head home the next day knowing the true meaning of Carolina Blue.

"On my Blue Ridge trip, I learned to appreciate and respect the wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it. Being able to experience the wild outdoors was my favorite part of the summer."

Owen Finsthwait, Lincoln, MA