Southern Sixer Challenge: Accepted and Done!

Hiker Yuliya Semenova fulfilled our “Southern Sixer Challenge” in exuberant style this winter and submitted an exciting account of her recent expeditions. Congrats, Yuliya — and thank you for sharing your journeys with us!

First Expedition

“Hi there, beers and mountains challenge has been accepted and done! My name is Yuliya and I had a kick butt time exploring the 6000 footers these past two weeks. Monday, February 12th, 2018 the forecast showed rain all day but it was my day off and I had the itchy feet and decided that I won’t melt and hiked out. I ascended 5 six-thousand-footers that day!

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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!


Cold Mountain Hike 2017

Cold Mountain is a 6,030ft peak in the Shining Rock Wilderness, while not the highest peak in the Southern Appalachians it is certainly one of the most famous!  Naturally, we were very excited to lead the Cold Mountain Challenge Hike again this year.  Everything was set to go when the snow storm hit,  it was not going to be possible for us to hike on our scheduled date. However, we decided  “the hike must go on!” The group trekked up Cold Mountain this Saturday, December 16th and had a excellent time.

Hiking Cold Mountain was on the bucket list for the majority of the hikers, so there was excitement in the air as we started on the Art Loeb Trail.  The first mile of the trail was covered with beautiful needle ice that crunched with every step.  We climbed up and up  while the forest around us alternated between hardwoods and rhododendron .  The group was lost in conversation when suddenly we turned a corner to see a completely snow covered trail!  The woods looked peaceful under the blanket of white; we were seeing the mountain at an extraordinary time.

The group set brisk pace crossing icy creeks, and climbing through the steep, snowy terrain until making it to Deep Gap. Here we stopped for a snack break before the 1.4 mile climb to the summit! We moved slowly and deliberately towards the top where the snow was thick and slick.  Finally, the group made it to the beautiful Cold Mountain summit, feeling a little tired from the trek up. We ate lunch, enjoyed  spectacular views, and tried to remember the names of distant peaks.

We felt re-energized from our break when started back down the trail.  The slippery decent went quickly and before we knew it we were back at our cars.  It had been beautiful day in the mountains.

Catawba Falls Hike 2017

On Saturday, September 30th, we continued our “For Love of Beer and Mountains” series on a hike to Upper Catawba Falls.  Catawba Brewing Company collaborated with SAHC to create a beer called Breezy Brae Biere de Miel, a honey farmhouse ale brewed with local Wild Mountain Bee Honey.

The Catawba Falls Hike was led by our new AmeriCorps Conservation Education and Volunteer Member Emily Adler, along with conservation property life estate holders Rick and Melinda. The group began on an SAHC conservation easement, hiking down to the Catawba Falls on a route few people get to visit. Read more

SAHC Outreach AmeriCorps Leads OLLI Hiking Course

As a part of our ongoing efforts to connect people with the land we have protected, we are constantly working to expand SAHC’s partner organizations to educate new groups by bringing them to our Community Farm or other properties that we have protected. This spring, SAHC’s AmeriCorps Outreach Member, Haley Smith, partnered up with UNC-Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program to lead one of several new hiking courses.

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JCC at Craggy Gardens

In July, AmeriCorps member Travis Bordley and other SAHC staff enjoyed a beautiful day at Craggy Gardens while providing basic environmental education to a group of students from Asheville’s Jewish Community Center (JCC). These students, mostly elementary and middle schoolers, are a part of a summer camp offered by JCC. The theme of this year’s camp is the word Teva, a Hebrew word which translates to “nature.” Read more

Girl Scouts Lead Farm Tour for Silver Award Project

On Wednesday, July 5th, SAHC AmeriCorps member Haley Smith and communications interns Tamia Dame and Fisayo Bashorun helped two local Girl Scouts fulfill a special goal – earning their Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can ear. Scouts Kylie and Gates had only one task left to complete before obtaining the award: leading a project which would leave a lasting impact on their community. The most meaningful way to do this, they decided, was to pass down the valuable lessons about land trust work to younger generations in a hands-on environment. Read more

June Jamboree 2017

June Jamboree 2017 Thank you to everyone who came out to join us for six successful adventures in the Highlands of Roan on Saturday, June 17th! Despite the fluctuating weather – from sun to rain and back again – we had a great event. The Roan was resplendent in its characteristic, seasonal cloak of blooms, […]

Southern Sixer Hike – Yellow Face and Blackrock

My girlfriend Britt and I spent Easter Sunday hiking Yellow Face for my birthday. We also hiked up Black Rock and saw the SAHC Conservation Area sign in the picture I’ve included. I’m always incredibly proud to see one of our signs on a trail. The area was beautiful even though it’s been ravaged by storms. I was surprised at how difficult the hike was! We also hadn’t eaten enough that day. But nonetheless we had a great time.

— J. Davison

UNCA Outdoor Program Backpacking Trip

It was no joke when UNC-Asheville students and SAHC’s Travis Bordley started their backpacking trip, trapped in clouds on April Fools Day. Travis, our AmeriCorps Roan Outreach Coordinator, and eight students headed out from Carvers Gap for a backpacking adventure along the Appalachian Trail — a route that boasts big views. The students, including three leaders from UNC-Asheville’s Outdoor Program, were unfazed and trekked boldly into the cloudy mist. For a few students this was their first time backpacking. Read more