As urban dwellers flock to rural counties to get their fix of socially distanced outdoor recreation, local adventure shops are seeing a boom. Those located near trails, rivers and campsites have an added advantage: Close to the action means tailored advice and last-minute purchases.
Nancy Mercure East, a retired veterinarian from Waynesville, and her hiking partner, Air Force veteran Chris Ford of Knoxville, Tenn., set a new record for hiking all of the park’s trails on Oct. 3 with a time of 29 days, 10 hours and 12 minutes. The two shattered the previous mark of 33 days set by Knoxville trail runner Jeff Woody.
Xpress contributor Mark Barrett shares his pick of lesser-known Western North Carolina hikes with opportunities to take in the region’s autumn splendor.
“Find out who maintains your favorite trail and go help on trail workdays or donate.”
Some places in Buncombe County still offer outdoors solitude without a lengthy drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park or an obscure corner of Pisgah National Forest. Mark Barrett offers the following guide to nearby destinations where you typically won’t meet someone at every turn.
Ben Anderson, author of Smokies Chronicle, recommends two hikes that offer exceptional vantage points within the path of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
In 2016, local writer Ben Anderson decided to examine the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a fresh perspective. To mark the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, he completed 40 day hikes, which he documented in his first book,
Smokies Chronicle: A Year of Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“Spending time in nature makes people healthier, both physically and mentally. It’s now accepted that trees, streams and trails heal. Doctors are prescribing an outdoor cure for their patients on prescription pads.”
Local professionals agree that a well-maintained wellness routine is the first step in preventing the type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, which commonly occurs during the winter when light is low and days are short.
Thank you for your great article about Gary Sizer’s thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, or AT for short [Tales From the Trail, Feb. 18, Xpress]. I’d like to add a few points: Not all 2,000-milers are thru-hikers. If your life doesn’t allow you to spend five to six months hiking the trail, you can become […]
. Gathered on an unpaved road, beside a never-bridged brook, in a forest that’s never been logged, the group itches to begin — to explore and experience, assist and learn, and join with the world outside. These are the Forest Keepers, and the wild slopes of wooded places are their workspace.
Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a local independent film project and one hiker’s attempt to share his Blue Ridge experience with others through postcards.
Feeling lost? Lack a sense of direction? The Western North Carolina Alliance Forest Keepers initiative may be able to help. This Saturday, Nov. 8, a group of forest keepers will trek into the Craggy Mountains for a hands-on field workshop on orienteering and navigating in the woods (both on- and off-trail). The outing will run from 9 a.m. […]
Listen, folks, you live here for a reason. I’ll bet most most of you ride a bike, blaze trails, paddle and/or enjoy a float down the river every now and then. Every weekend in the summer, there are a multitude of events and outdoor shenanigans, and it’s your responsibility as an Ashevillean to put down the remote, […]
If you’re looking to get outside this weekend — and you should be, there are some killer events taking place. For the fun-loving, creative types the RiverLink “Anything that Floats” parade is launching from Hominy Creek Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Build a float out of some spare furniture and old baby strollers and […]
Over the last few months, I have observed an unsettling trend of people using the sides of trails as latrines. I, too, am an avid outdoors person and often spend hours in nature mountain biking and hiking and understand it may be necessary to attend to personal needs. But there really is no excuse for […]
As a massive fire continues to engulf parts of Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, photographer William Mauney posted a stunning video to YouTube documenting the flames.
Yesterday’s rain helped reduce the size of the raging fire in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area from 2,700 acres to about 2,275 acres, but the blaze continues to blanket a popular site for hiking, climbing and camping. Officials are now worried that an upcoming week of warm, dry weather could challenge containment efforts.
The wild blueberries are ripe for the picking along the Blue Ridge.
It’s been a beautiful weekend to get outside and enjoy the Western North Carolina mountains. These photos were taken on a recent hiking trip along the Black Mountain Crest Trail, which winds its way northward from Mount Mitchell along one of the highest ridges in the Appalachians. In addition to Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet), the 12 mile trail ascends Mount Craig (6,663 feet), Cattail Peak (6,675 feet) and Big Tom (6,580 feet) before dropping down to Bowlen’s Creek in Burnsville.