The Tri-County Traverse

heading-up-the-fields.jpgYou would think that crossing three counties in one day would be an impossible task. Nay, with this grizzled group of veteran hikers, SAHC and land owners Carl and Holley Merschat were able to summit the top of Maney Fields where Buncombe, Madison, and Yancey Counties converge. Despite only having to hike 1.5 miles to the top, the group gained over 1,200 feet of elevation, climbed through cattle gates, and avoided high voltage fences. Truly, a successful day!

For over thirty years, Carl and Holley Merschat have lived in their home tucked away in Barnardsville, NC. There, they raised two kids, and gradually buffered their home with additional land to explore and enjoy. They bought their house in 1974 and the next year bought 58 more acres. Over the next 30 years, the Mershats were able to tack on an additional 60 acres. They heat their home every winter from the wood on their property, grow Shiitake mushrooms, and continue to cultivate a strong relationship with their land. Read more

Caught in a Webb (Property)

 

lauras-rock1.jpgIf you like hiking, beautiful landscapes, and a little southern hospitality, then you probably would hae enjoyed our adventure to the Webb conservation easement property. Landowner Laura Webb and family generously opened the doors to their property and hosted an incredible hike and picnic for SAHC and members.

The Webb property is nestled deep in Jackson County, where it boasts a lake for fishing, untouched views from Laura’s Rock, and a secluded feel that gives visitors the thrilling sensation that they are truly “in the wild.” Originally (and still) used as a fishing cabin for family and friends of the Webbs, the 615-acre property protects a pristine lake and creeks that flow into the nearby Tuckaseegee River. Parts of the property sky to almost 4,500 feet high and afford hikers with breathtaking views of the valley below. Read more

An Adventure to Twin Falls and Clawhammer

starting-off1.jpgSAHC and Highland Brewing Company would like to send a major “shout out” to all of the folks that made it to Twin Falls and Clawhammer Mountain the first weekend of October. This intrepid group showed copious amounts of fortitude and demonstrated the will power to make it to the promised land that weekend in Pisgah National Forest.

The hike started off typical. Everyone parked their cars, listened to SAHC’s typical spiel about why land conservation is important, and perhaps most importantly, signed off on the waiver so that there would be no legal drama if any accidents occurred during the hike. As we approached the Avery Creek Trail head, no one knew what lay lurking in the depths of the not-so-ominous and beautiful trail. Read more

Rockin’ at Rocky Fork with Mars Hill College

group-shot.jpgOn Sunday, Septemeber 9th, David Ramsey led Mars Hill College 17 faculty and students on a hike to the protected 10,000-acre ecological treasure, known as Rocky Fork. It was the perfect day for some learning, hiking, and fishing.

Ramsey has been leading hikes for politicians, concerned citizens, and anyone else interested in protecting Rocky Fork’s vulnerable land since the mid-nineties, so when Karen Paar, director of The Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill College, approached Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy about leading a hike with her department for this fall, SAHC suggested David Ramsey. Read more

June Jamboree 2012 – Spectacular Summer on the Roan

1-grays40.jpgWe couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to appreciate the Highlands of Roan than the one that graced this year’s June Jamboree! On Saturday, June 23rd, hikers on each of six adventures enjoyed gorgeous skies – from a long, sunny trek on Grassy Ridge to a splashing good time in cold creek waters. Here’s a brief look at what you may remember – or may have missed. This year, we wanted to let our hikers and hike leaders  tell the story of the June Jamboree in their own words… Enjoy their adventures, and we hope you’ll join us next year! Read more

Foraging for Mushrooms

charlotte-explaining.jpgIt was the perfect storm for finding mushrooms last weekend in gorgeous Yancey County. In recent days, thunderstorms had soaked the ground, paving the way for an explosion of boletes, chanterelles, little brown mushrooms, and many others.

On July 22nd, SAHC & guests were led on an intriguing excursion by Asheville myco-hunter and expert, Charlotte Caplan. Everyone learned some tricks of the trade when identifying these mysterious fungi. The common question was, “How do you know if a mushroom is edible or not?” Read more

Little Hump Partnership Hike

group-shot.jpgSunday, May 20th, was a beautiful day for a hike in the Highlands of Roan. Thirty six ambitious hikers joined SAHC and Highland Brewing Company for a full day of hiking.

We started our journey along Roaring Creek down in the valley below Little Hump by hoping onto the Overmountain Victory Trail. This was a good warm-up for everyone as we gradually ascended to connect with  the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail traverses 17 miles in the Highlands of Roan and provides some of the most spectacular views in the Southern Appalachians. The grade of the trail became immensely more difficult as the group set their sights on summiting Little Hump Mountain. A little ways up, hikers took a break to look back down into the valley and admire the iconic Overmountain Shelter. Read more

Namaste, Yoga on the Mountain

 

pa0200711.jpgThe first weekend of October, we joined up with Lighten Up Yoga for a wonderful Sunday afternoon of hiking and chaturangas on beautiful Hemphill Bald, above Maggie Valley, NC. Folks came out for a gorgeous day that warmed up nicely. Once up top, everyone practiced poses under the tutelage of Lighten up Yoga’s instructor, Kim Drye, for an opportunity to get out of the studio and practice outside besides an incredible collage of fall colors. Hemphill Bald was an exceptionally special spot to practice yoga because of the unrivaled views, and because it is the setting for a remarkable conservation easement in western North Carolina.  Read more

For Love of Beer and Mountains: Hike to Little Hump Mountain

group-hike-up-little-hump_smallerWhen you hike to the top of Little Hump Mountain in the Highlands of Roan, you see a completely unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains from its high elevation grassy bald. The Ridge and Valley Province lies to your west in Tennessee and the renowned peaks of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Linville Gorge rise to the east in North Carolina. Depending on the season, you could have  bluets at your feet and flame azaleas in your line of vision as you look out across the mountains.  When you visit this special place, you understand why conservationists have made this area a priority for protection. Read more

Cataloochee Ranch: A Success Story in Haywood County

Spectacular fall colors on Hemphill BaldIn the 1990’s, 67-year-old Maggie Valley resident Tom Alexander realized that he would have to do something to be able to hand down his beloved land, 1,000 mostly undeveloped acres adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, intact to his children. The land had been in his family for 60 years, but development in Haywood County had greatly increased over the past few decades and the value of his land was doubling in value about every three to four years.

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