We are a shop filled with paddlers, climbers and hikers and get excited about what each season has to offer.  Over time we have found that our customers naturally pivot toward hiking interests when September hits.  Who can blame them – there is no more beautiful place to hike in fall than Virginia.  You can even see the changes in our shop.  Our hikers voices start to overshadow our paddlers and our shop events become more decidedly hiking focused.

River Rock Outfitter hiking events may be posted on our website, on our events page on Facebook, or you may find “exclusive” events for our meetup members.  Consider joining our group by going to meetup.com and finding Rappahannock Area Hikers.

Why hike?

Hiking is one of the only sports that can be accomplished by nearly anyone.  Basic beginners can start hiking on battle field trails or local paved trails while more advanced hikers will find challenges throughout the State and National Park Trail Systems.  Literally there are hundreds of trails all over Virginia for all skill levels and all interests. You may find that you start hiking for one reason, maybe to lose weight, and you end up discovering so much more.  It’s euphoric accomplishing a trail or setting sites on a new overlook.  Your priorities change when you are on a long hike and issues that were nagging you at home seem less important.  Why hike?  Hike to stay grounded, to get away from the noise, and to discover the amazingly beautiful places we live.

Hiking socially or for solitude?

Hiking can be for those looking for solitude or for those looking for social engagement.  Hiking solo can be a rewarding experience but requires proper planning and safety preparations.   Take a look at the following links for tips on solo hiking.  I recommend that all female hikers take a look at the blog posts on the Hiking For Her.

Backpacker Magazine – Go Solo Hiking

Hiking for Her – Solo Hiking Tips

Hiking with friends is also a great way to see your local landscapes.  Having someone with you to take your mind off a particularly difficult section of trail or someone to enjoy a sunset with is a great bonding experience.  Our shop’s AT thru-hikers met complete strangers on the trail, yet through their shared struggles developed lasting friendships.  These are your hiking buddies, those you know you can call on at any time and they are always ready to lace up their boots and join you for an adventure.  If you don’t currently have a hiking buddy then join us on a hike and you will quickly find one.

Meet our Hikers:

Tom and Megan Preview

Meegana Henry: I wake up each morning itching to get on the trail and I always find an excuse to hike.  My trail name is “Violet” and I am a thru-hiker.  I have been hiking my whole life.  It started off small with local trails, battlefields, day hikes and gradually I worked my way to longer hikes.  I solidified my love for the trail when I completed the Appalachian Trail in 2014. I recently completed the Tahoe Rim Trail in California and Nevada in July. I have many goals for future hikes; including, discovering more local trail systems, heading back west, and even some international travel.  I am wildly dreaming of a trip to Nepal and the Everest Base Camp!  My local dreams include hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 and the Camino de Santiago by the time I am 30.  In the meantime, I enjoy my role as a Merrell Ambassador, planning sponsored events for our customers and charities.  I am here to provide inspiration, serve as a guide, establish friendships, and just have fun with my fellow hikers.  I look forward to embracing every sunset, sunrise, sunburn, and fall with you.  I can’t wait to see you on the trails.

Thomas Fontaine:  Here at the shop, you’ll find me in the hiking and camping section. I first discovered my love for exploring the outdoors during my solo southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and I haven’t been able to stop since.  In the last few years, I hiked the Colorado Trail, the Long Trail in Vermont, the High Sierra Route in California, and in the Andes of Bolivia.‎  I also specialize in outdoor education such as orienteering instruction and leave no trace, working with groups of all ages.  So whether you’re planning a big trip or just want some tips for the trail, come on in and ask!

What’s Left?

Stop by the shop to learn more about local hikes or to discuss hikes across the country or abroad.  Our staff have hiked across the country and points oversees and can help you no matter your gear question.  We also offer in shop Rock Talks or workshops that will help to hone your skills and provide you with the confidence to go harder and longer on the trail.  Keep watching our blog for ProTips and various gear options that we use and trust.  No excuses – get out and hike!