Frequently Asked Questions
What were some of the concerns you had before you joined the hike?
Early on I was concerned that my endurance and strength would not be sufficient, or that I didn’t have the right gear. I recall also being nervous that I would be less capable than others on the hike and wouldn’t be able to keep up, or that I would not be able to complete the hike. Mike does a really good job balancing the range of skills and comfort of different participants on a hike, and is always just so clearly happy to be out there on trail that he never seems the least bit perturbed by slower participants or participants that need more support.
How would you describe TagAlong Outdoors?
A friendly low key hiking club that is open to all and really makes an effort to offer hikes that are accessible and appropriate for a wide range of participants, lead by a knowledgeable and patient guide who is appreciative of feedback and works hard to accommodate requests from members. TagAlong is a great way to build skills and confidence, and offers a lot of guidance and support, everything from discussion of strength building and maintenance techniques to become a stronger hiker, to guidance on how to identify, understand, and get the right gear for the hikes you want to do.
Did TagAlong help guide you in the preparation of the hike?
Yes! Mike is very responsive to questions and has a wealth of knowledge about gear, packing appropriately for a hike, and what to know before you go. In my experience, anything Mike might not readily be able to answer, he knows what resources to turn to to get the answers quickly.
Was TagAlong supportive throughout the hike?
Absolutely! And always good humored too.
What are the best aspects of TagAlong guided Hikes?
I’ve tried to join other hiking groups before and the two big hurdles I ran into were that nobody in the group was willing to go out of their way to pick up an unfamiliar member to help them get to a trailhead to join a hike (I don’t have a car, so am unable to drive myself) and the other groups I tried generally did not demonstrate a willingness to try to organize carpools to trailheads for organized hikes, so I was never able to participate. I also repeatedly was denied inclusion because I was perceived by the other members as not an avid enough hiker, a conclusion they drew mostly because i was not entirely confident in myself and also because I couldn’t provide them with a list of big peaks I had summited. It really sucked to be trying to connect with other hikers, in order to get into more hiking as was my desire, and be denied acceptance. TagAlong always makes an effort to ensure those who want to participate in hikes can get to the hikes, and organize carpooling, even when that means that Mike is taking a much longer route to the trail in order to pick up a member. Also, while new members are encouraged to join some of the less intense or challenging hikes at first, it is made clear that this is to help get a sense of a hiker’s skills and experience before they attend a bigger more challenging hike, and that is for their safety as well as the safety of all participants. But no person is ever denied inclusion, or told they aren’t good enough to join a hike. something else I really appreciate just about the culture of a TagAlong hike is that Mike is really tuned into the awe for nature and the environment. He’s not just there in pursuit of the summit, he’s there for the journey as well. This helps to encourage participants to get tuned into those little moments of awe in the experience - the sounds of owls; feeding a grey jay; the animal tracks and the stories they tell… and Mike’s attitude is playful so hikes also involve goofy things like building random snow-people on trail.
Describe a special experience you have had while on a TagAlong Hike.
There’s so many great moments small and large that stick with me from TagAlong hikes. One is what I call the “Crystal Forest”, which was an 8 mile hike around the Pisgah State Park that started in the late morning and went until sunset. The weather in the days before had been a combination of rain and then deep cold, which left a glaze of ice covering all the trees, so they all just glistened, and made this tinkling sound like crystals on a chandelier when the wind blew or we brushed through branches. It was a really incredible experience to be in that space. when the sun began to get low, the way to the suns rays reflected off the ice-coated trees and branches gave them this rim of gold. It was straight out of Narnia. If it weren’t for hikes with TagAlong, I would never have been out deep in the woods on that day to experience that, and definitely would not have been confident being out there late in the day to see how the ice caught the setting sun. Another really special moment happened was on a drive back from the White Mountains when we witnessed what we eventually learned were called “light pillars”. The visual phenomenon was really cool to experience, and I also appreciated the conversation that occurred in relationship to it. I refuse to accept that aliens were not involved in this phenomenon.
Who is TagAlong Outdoors for?
Everyone! (even if every hike is not for everyone, TagAlong has something to offer for everyone, and absolutely welcomes everyone)
Would you recommend TagAlong Outdoors to others that are looking for guidance or a hiking group?
I do! constantly! honestly, I’m a walking advertisement and I plug TagAlong shamelessly. I even encourage folks to join who are just new to the area and looking to do more hiking, but who aren’t specifically asking about a guided group.