Saturday, December 04, 2004

OUTDOORS in Asheville (part of a series) 

This is part of a series. Check back for more. and come on over for a WINTER WALK..if not in person..then in your imagination :-)

I see beauty even where there are scars on the Appalachian ridges near my home in Asheville.. Some folks may have created eye sores where their "castles" erupt from the mountaintops, and for many outdoor enthusiasts, the vistas are diminished. Still, when I look around, I am in awe of what we have here!

A jewel set amongst some of the highest and steepest mountains in the East, Asheville, North Carolina (population 70,000 and growing), Asheville is home to an unusual blend of residents, and some of the most beautiful land on Earth. I think the land and the communities that have grown up around here as a result of its attractiveness attract naturalists, educators, racing fans, old-hippies, all varieties of artists, bible-belters, opera fans, Blue Grass lovers and outdoorsy folks.

Asheville is a center of commerce, culture, collaboration and recreation in Western North Carolina. I won't guarantee it, but it's a good bet that you can find what you're looking for here.For ecxample, if you long for a really good meal that is also good for ya'll, we have some of the most delicious ORGANIC and locally grown foods you can imagine.

My friend, Greg Hottinger, author of THE BEST NATURAL FOODS ON THE MARKET TODAY: A YUPPIE'S GUIDE TO HIPPIE FOODS http://www.hippiefood.com/ lives here. He will tell you(and he should know!) that the food options are outstanding. Tasty meals are easily found, and so is music and a smile . You can understand why Asheville, once a place where "old-wealth" summered, isn't a secret anymore.

That brings up a challenge.

How do we keep the Greater Asheville area as GREEN as it was in the past? If you have ideas, let me know. As a REALTOR, I and my group of cronies work hard to educate those who ride with us about air quality, about water quality, about our need to be involved in stewardship of this land and the historic homes and old Appalachian farms in our area.

TRAIL FOLK understand what I am suggesting.When you devote time and energy to hiking, running, distance running, you are VERY aware of the situation.Here's a quick tour of the Trail System.

1. Mount Pisgah and the 17.8-mile Shut-In Ridge Trail. This is a mighty challenge to Trail Runners. The first mile or so of this infamous trail follows an old road grade. The rest is a rigorous single-track, an up-and-down struggle with an ascent of 5000 feet to the summit. (The Shut-In Trail begins upstream of downtown Asheville.) "The Shut-In Trail was originally a part of the estate of George Washington Vanderbilt. The trail provided a route across the wild and rugged mountains, primarily unpopulated in that day (as they are today), from his mansion outside Asheville to his hunting lodge near Mount Pisgah," writes an online source.The original grade is disappearing now. The original has become a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST). The Shut-In section follows narrow ridge-lines over several rockyknobs (mountain ridge-tops), that contour the land.

AN ASIDE: Latest MST News For the latest trail conditions along the MST due to the recent storms please visit the MST trail log, click here.

You can also contact the Task Force leaders throughout the state for trail status.The FMST will host its annual meeting in Greensboro's Bur-Mil Park on February 5, 2005. This all day meeting takes a look back at the years accomplishments and sets the groundwork for 2005!
Click here to RSVP for this event.

2. The Mountains to Sea Trail has a less demanding terrain but there is plenty of it. Actually, right within the Greater Asheville area a 14-mile section of rolling hills on the MST is quite welcoming. Also known as the white dot trail, the entire route links the North Carolina beach with its mountains.

3. The Bent Creek Experimental Forest lies within the Pisgah National Forest just beyond Asheville. It has a maze of trails and gravel roads. A very gentle grade goes along the creek and connects with switchbacks that climb up steep mountainsides.


Thank you. natureWALKER@janeAnne.com

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