Outdoor Journal

Highly recommended: Xpress contributor Danny Bernstein will lead a hike to Hemphill Bald this Saturday, Sept. 29, as part of the “Together We Read” program (togetherweread.org). Views from the scenic bald are to Cataloochee Valley on one side and Maggie Valley on the other. The hike will pass through forested slopes and emerge into open fields that stretch along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundary. A picnic is planned, evoking a scene from Lee Smith’s book On Agate Hill. The Carolina Mountain Club is co-sponsoring the hike.

The trek is 9.5 miles roundtrip and includes 1,900 feet of ascent. Participants will need a pair of good hiking boots, a daypack, lunch and two quarts of water. The group will carpool from Asheville. To register, call Bernstein at 236-0192.

Singletrack fever: The Southern Off Road Biking Association and the Western North Carolina Bike Dealers Association will co-sponsor volunteer work-days this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30, aimed at completing the trail system in the Alexander Mountain Bike Park. Saturday’s work session begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m., followed by a pizza party. Sunday’s session will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free overnight camping and all tools are provided. Volunteers should bring water and gloves and wear appropriate clothing. The group will meet at the trailhead. Alexander Mountain Bike Park is located on Riverside Drive (Hwy. 251), 15 minutes north of Asheville. Call Craig at Ski Country Sports (254-2771) for more information.

Catch as catch can: The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will implement annual delayed-harvest regulations for 18 designated trout waters in 14 WNC counties beginning Oct. 1. Visit www.ncwildlife.org for specifics.

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