In 2018 the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy purchased 123 acres including the western flank and summit of Brushy Knob, one of the Seven Sisters near Black Mountain, NC. To celebrate the acquisition of this valuable conservation land we led an educational hike along the outer rim of the Montreat Wilderness. Participants learned about SAHC’s role in conservation in the Black Mountains and were able to see the new acquisition firsthand. The hike consisted of 3,000′ of elevation gain over 8.5 miles! The following is one participant’s reflection on the outing…
“You can do this, Izzy, it’s only October,” I tried to convince myself as I braced for the angry, bitter, frigid wind outside in the parking lot. I was at the carpool rendezvous point at 8:30 am, 15 minutes before the group would arrive, and I needed to get breakfast. I opened the latch – come what may.
Steaming, painfully hot coffee in one hand, toasty vegan breakfast burrito in the other I was able to wait outside for the rest of my participants to arrive. I should have packed a thicker sweater. In total, eight of us met for the carpool – the rest would join us at the trailhead at Waterrock Knob.
I had the privilege of riding with my good friend Nico and two new friends Art and Wes. Adrienne Lenker’s new LP abysskiss played on my stereo as we ascended the Blue Ridge Parkway. Time slid effortlessly by as we discussed the finer points of stealth camping. Read more
“Steel rails chasin’ sunshine round the bend. Winding through the trees like a ribbon in the wind.”
Having filled up the trunk with Clawhammer Oktoberfest Marzen Lager from Highland Brewing Company, we were finally approaching the trail head. Today we would ascend approximately 1,500 feet over a distance of 10.5 miles to the summit of Clawhammer Mountain in Pisgah National Forest.
As part of our “For Love of Beer and Mountains” partnership, Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal brews are named after natural elements of the Southern Appalachian landscape.
Appalachian Trail thru hiker Daniel White grew up in the Shiloh community of Asheville and now lives in Charlotte. Last year, he set off hiking the AT to gain a new perspective on life. Unlike many who make the trek, Daniel started his journey without any backpacking experience. Now he’s become an ambassador for outdoor recreation.
“I hadn’t slept in a tent until three days before I started,” he says. “Growing up in Asheville, the trail was there all the time, but nobody introduced me to it. Once I got started, it was a learning experience. I was only planning to hike for a couple months, but then I really got into it and didn’t want to stop.”
Daniel hopes to use his own experiences to encourage others to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Read more
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!
“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!
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! Read more
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. Read more
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. Read more
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
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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