“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.

From The Jumpoff, you also have a view of the unique rock outcrop called Charlie’s Bunion, named after Kephart’s compatriot Charlie Connor. After lunch we ventured back along the Appalachian Trail to Charlie’s Bunion, one of the most popular destinations in the Smokies, and understandably so – what a view!
 
We look forward to our next Southern Sixer adventure to Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain on April 1st. Contact haley@appalachian.org if you would like to join us!