Summer Newsletter 2022

In our summer newsletter, Michael talks about his new role with Capital Hiking Club. You’ll also get a chance to meet Veteran Member Dmitri, welcome New Members, and collect some tips for summer backpacking safety.

The Capital Hiking Club

CHC is, to me, an important institution in the DC outdoors community. It’s been around, incredibly, since 1937 and it provides a way for urbanites to hop on the bus downtown, get out into nature, and enjoy a good strong hike.

I’m very excited to be serving as the acting president of the Capital Hiking Club (CHC). Believe it or not, when I moved from Texas to DC in the winter of 2009, DC UL was not the first club I started hiking with—it was actually CHC. Of course, I moved to DC mainly for my career, but I was quite conscious of the nearby opportunities for hiking and backpacking. I was also quite determined not to be intimidated by “winter”—so different from central Texas. So, my first official hike in the region was a late winter of 2009 CHC bus hike in Shenandoah—I believe it was the three waterfalls hike to visit Rose River Falls, Dark Hollow Falls, and Lewis Spring Falls. I was hooked. I’ve been leading hikes for CHC at least every quarter since then, even during times when I was writing a book or leading very intensively for DC UL.

CHC is, to me, an important institution in the DC outdoors community. It’s been around, incredibly, since 1937 and it provides a way for urbanites to hop on the bus downtown, get out into nature, and enjoy a good strong hike. CHC essentially covers all the region’s day hikes in a two or three hour radius around DC. Plus, it’s got a fun social scene. You never know who you might be sitting next to on the bus and the after-hike happy hours are the stuff of legend. I joke sometimes that if, in the after-life, I find myself sitting on a stone wall after a hike with a beer in hand, enjoying a nice view, well, I won’t complain.

I’m looking forward to helping lead the CHC out of the pandemic, which was definitely a difficult period for the club since the bus couldn’t run. I really see an opportunity for a symbiotic relationship between the two clubs. Many DC ULers have, in fact, been recruited from a CHC day hike—Karan and Kylie are representative. I’m always pitching DC UL to the stronger hikers who seem like they want to sleep out. And, of course, if there are other DC ULers who are looking for a day hike and who would like to skip the driving, well, they know where to find me.

By Michael Martin

Find the Capital Hiking Club on Meetup and read about Michael’s favorite backpacking routes in his book, AMC’s Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide to 30 of the Best Multiday Trips from New York to Virginia.

Meet Veteran Member Dmitri

Every now and then, we’ll feature one of our members. We want to know how they got involved with DC UL. If you haven’t met Dmitri on the trail, you probably will one day, but for now, you can read about him here!

Would you like to be featured in our newsletter? Just send us an email at dculbackpacking [at]

How did you get involved in DC UL?

I retired from adventure racing, but still needed some less “damaging” multi-day activities. I started with Capital Hiking Club where I met  Michael Martin (U-Turn). Michael introduced me to DC UL in 2018. I started hiking with DC UL in early 2019 and have been doing roughly one trip per month since then.

What was your first trip?

I didn’t remember, so I had to check my attendance history. Apparently it was Camp Yetiman led by Noah O in February 2019. I don’t remember too much, just I was a little nervous about all this ultralight concept that was new for me.

What has been your favorite trip so far?

I don’t think I can select one specific trip. Most of the trips were my favorite and it is easier to count a few trips I did not like. I especially don’t like over-crowded trails. I would like to be on a trail with a small group of people, and people I’ve met on DC UL hikes are making these trips my favorite.

What’s a trip – anywhere in the world – that you’d like to do someday?

In 2009 I had knee surgery and couldn’t go to the 10-day Patagonian Expedition Adventure race in Punta-Arenas, Chile. Team Calleva, which was my team, had an incredible adventure. Well, I hope to hike this area one day. 

Any “lessons learned the hard way” that you’d like to share?

Not really. Even though I like experimenting with backpacking gear, I’ve never had a technical problem. So the only advice I can share: always test your gear before an overnight trip. 

The Month of New Members

June was New Members month. What does that mean, exactly?

Photo by George, Seneca Creek Low Mileage Trip

We hosted a low-mileage (LM) event every weekend (and several in July!). Approximately 40 backpackers joined us on the trails, and we welcomed 15 new members to DC UL.

A warm welcome to all! Can’t wait to meet you on the trails.

Tips for Hiking in the Heat

Summer days are still ahead of us. Don’t forget to safe on hot and humid mid-Atlantic days.

  • Start your hike early in the day.
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day, or plan for shade and water breaks.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.Bring electrolytes or salt.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke, which include feeling unwell even after resting, not sweating, shortness of breath, and confusion.
  • Choose light-colored clothing, preferably UPF-rated.
  • Bring a bandana or gaiter that you can soak and wear around your neck.
  • And most importantly, stay hydrated!

Photo of our backpackers cooling off during the hottest part of the day. (Photo credit: Sophie K)

Follow Us/Buy Gear

Find our socials, our store, and more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: