Southern Sixer Kickoff: Roan High Knob

This past weekend SAHC and Highland Brewing set out on one of the “For Love of Beer and Mountains” partnership hikes! This hike celebrated the Southern Sixer IPA as well as the 40 peaks above 6,000ft in the Southern Appalachians.   The group got to the trail head excited, the day was made for hiking, there were blue skies and cool temperatures.  In addition to a wonderful day this maybe SAHC’s first hike with a (local) celebrity.  Sammy has starred in a promotional video by the City Chamber.  You can see his debut here!

The hiking was tough. The cold temperatures the week prior had  left some very icy patches on the trail.  The hikers, however, did not let the icy obstacles ruin their fun, everyone continued to chat as we slowly made our way up the mountain.  In the end everyone was very thankful for trekking poles!

The first summit hiked was Roan High Knob, home of the highest-elevation shelter on the Appalachian Trail.  To get to the real summit of the mountain you have to leave the AT shelter, hike into the forest, and scramble up a small boulder pile.  If you look carefully on the boulders you can find the old USGS survey marker.  The group ate lunch at the shelter and talked about SAHC’s wonderful work in the Highlands of Roan.  From here, the explorers continued on, passing the old Cloudland Hotel site, and eventually reaching Roan High Bluff. The High Bluff sits at 6,267ft and if it is not a cloudy day there are wonderful views into Tennessee!  The grouped milled about at the top, trying to name the distant peaks, and enjoying the needed break.

The hike down the mountain was quick. The group discussed favorite post hikes meals, and what southern sixers they had yet to complete! Remember, the Southern Sixer Hiking Challenge is continuing into 2018, if you hike 6 of the #Southernsixers let us know and you will receive a commemorative patch!


“For Love of Beer and Mountains” Thunderstruck Hike

On November 11th a group of intrepid hikers set out to on a partnership hike with SAHC and Highland Brewing!  We could not have asked for a more perfect day to be in the mountains. We had sunny blue skies and cool temperatures.  The Thunderstruck Hike, named after Highland’s seasonal Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, traverses Blackrock Ridge.  The hike is a challenging one but passes through many diverse ecosystems! The group was definitely up for the demanding trek, everyone moved quickly, not fazed at all by the steep uphill climbs.

The first big climb put us on top of Yellow Face Mountain which sits at 6,032ft in elevation! On top of this Southern Sixer is an open field filled with blackberry brambles.  These high elevation forests only grow above 5,000ft and are home to many animals including flying squirrels, saw whet owls, and the spruce-fir moss spider!  The group was on the lookout for flying squirrels, but did not have any luck.  We did see some red squirrels and a variety of moss and lichen!

We hiked down and down into the saddle between the peaks and spotted a few old logging relics along the trail.  Soon the trail began ascending again.  It  was gradual at first, passing by beautiful moss covered boulders and the SAHC Blackrock conservation easement.  As we neared the summit the trail steepened. There were spots we had to scramble up boulders to stay on the trail.  We emerged from the final Rhododendron tunnel to see the Blackrock Summit!  This summit is a large rocky outcrop with almost 360° views, including views of Thunderstruck Ridge!  The group ate lunch and prepared for the hike back, knowing they would once again have to climb up Yellow Face Mountain.  All in all it was a great day in Balsam Mountains.

Westmoreland and Scully

Kevin Westmoreland and Joe Scully take pride in being part of this thriving and unique area. Their company, Westmoreland and Scully, is building strong links between their restaurants, the Asheville community, and the world.

“Long before our restaurants were part of the Asheville restaurant community, both Joe and I had hiked the mountains and valleys of Western North Carolina with our families,” says Kevin. “We had been part of programs that taught the importance of wilderness and wild places to our children.”

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“For Love of Beer & Mountains” Southern Sixer Challenge Kickoff!

Last Saturday, we led our first guided Southern Sixer hike to the summit of a peak above 6,000 feet. For this “For Love of Beer and Mountains” Southern Sixer Challenge Kickoff, we traveled to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to climb Mount Kephart, named after Horace Kephart, who played a major role during the early years of the park. We were fortunate to be greeted by a majestic herd of elk both on the way into the park and at the end of the day!

While the summit of Mount Kephart doesn’t afford spectacular views, you can continue just a quarter mile further to “The Jumpoff,” the top of a 1,000 foot sheer cliff on the side of the mountain that provides views for miles to the east. From this vantage point we could see back towards SAHC’s Smoky Mountains focus areas, where we work to conserve land adjoining the national park, creating a buffer for wildlife and helping preserve viewsheds in this unique landscape.

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Appalachian Realty Associates

Founded in 1979, Appalachian Realty Associates is a unique and independent real estate brokerage located in Asheville, NC. It has been owned and operated by Betsy Reiser, who moved to Little Sandy Mush in 1974. Erik Aasland, broker with Appalachian Realty Associates, supports SAHC at a corporate partner level through our Real Estate Partner Program.

“Appalachian Realty has always been aware of the need to preserve the beauty and natural resources that we are afforded by the surrounding mountains,” says Aasland. “To help ensure the continued stewardship of our surrounding mountains, farms and waterways Appalachian Realty Associates will continue to support the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in any way it can.” Read more

Meadows Family Farm

KennethandDanniStrader“We are a family farm dedicated in all that we do to honoring our ancestors,” say the Straders. “Through honest industry and diligent labor, they have made it possible for us to provide for ourselves and our community by simply continuing a way of life that we love.”

“We find great joy in rediscovering the irrefutable agricultural truths that our predecessors learned and knew over 100 years ago. Now, with a granddaughter chasing chickens, we continue to work every day, drawing from the old to grow something new, always with the intention to enhance and preserve our farm for generations to come.” Read more

Thank You to our 2016 Land Trust Day Partners!

2016ltdsponsorsHuge thanks to our 2016 Land Trust Day partners for supporting our work this year on Saturday, June 4 — raising $13,500 for local land and water conservation!


Causeway Interactive

causeway logoCauseway Interactive, supporting SAHC at the “Cold Mountain” level, provides technical support, technology consulting, and database development. Kirk Watson founded the company for the purpose of using technology to address persistent organizational and capacity-building problems within the nonprofit sector.  Its integrated set of solutions targets the most significant and powerful ways to improve an organization with the least pain:  Think acupuncture as opposed to a triple-bypass.

“Increasingly, nonprofit organizations have a wide array of tools to choose from that can help them reach new audiences, engage their constituents, raise money and simplify day-to-day operations,” says Kirk Watson, Principal and Founder of Causeway Interactive. “We partner with our clients to help them find the right technology platforms for their needs, implement those solutions and train them for success.” Read more

“For Love of Beer & Mountains” Lost Cove Excursion

IMG_2628Late this summer, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Highland Brewing Company were joined by The Aloft Hotel, Altamont Environmental, Traveling Chic Boutique and USA Raft to explore Lost Cove, where SAHC protected a 95-acre tract in 2012. We hiked into the gorge and rafted the Nolichucky River while learning about the historical significance of the area. Read more

Land Trust Day 2015

LandTrustDay2015_logosThank you to our Land Trust Day sponsoring businesses, for helping us raise $13,000 for conservation in one day!

We’d also like to give a special THANK YOU to Mast General Store, for allowing us space in the Asheville and Waynesville stores to provide informative materials and talk to customers throughout the day. And thank you to our staff and volunteers who hosted tables at the Mast General Store locations: Michelle Pugliese, Sarah Sheeran, Caitlin Edenfield, Joan Worth, Leigh DeForth, and Cheryl Fowler.

This year, we also hosted two area hikes during Land Trust Day.

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