The array of choices when it comes to pre-made energy bars and drinks can be overwhelming. Some are sweet, some are salty, some are fairly delicious, and let’s be honest … some are barely edible. While most are packed with nutrients, oftentimes they also contain ingredients you’ve never heard of, strange sugars, sodium and preservatives. If a $2.79 bar of processed fluff doesn’t sound satisfying during your next hike, it might be time to create your own homemade energy bars and drinks. You can choose exactly what you are putting into your bar — and your body.With all the buzz about “super foods,” it’s hard to know which ingredients are really essential for an active lifestyle. Nicole Monson, certified holistic nutritionist, recommends using chia seeds, whey protein, maca powder and hemp seeds. Chia seeds have been used by the Mayans for centuries, and elite athletes for decades, to maintain energy levels for improved stamina and endurance, perfect for your next century ride. Whey protein provides the ideal amino acid ratio that helps build muscle. Maca powder combats adrenal fatigue and contains phytochemicals, which have been shown to boost energy levels. The perfect balance of omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids in hemp seeds “promotes healthy levels of inflammation throughout the body and aids in muscle recovery,” said Monson, who is a nutritional health coach for Natural Grocers.Other favorites include raw cocoa powder for its antioxidants, oats for their heart-healthy soluble fiber and dates for their potassium. Tart cherries can help combat inflammation, and pumpkin seeds are a rich source of magnesium, which prevents muscle weakness. Coconut in all forms is a nutrient-rich addition: coconut water, coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut milk and coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index and spikes blood sugar less than other sugars, leading to fewer cravings later.We’ve created four recipes for you to try using a variety of these ingredients that can be found at any natural grocery store. Each recipe is packed with super foods … and better yet, super flavor!CHERRY CHOCOLATE CASHEW ENERGY BARS2 cups coconut flakes2 tablespoons almond butter2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted12 mejool dates, pitted and chopped (approx 1 1/3 cups)3 tablespoons whey protein powder2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder1/2 cup dried, tart cherries (unsweetened)1/4 cup crushed cashews2 tablespoons hulled hemp seedsPlace coconut flakes, chopped dates, protein powder, cocoa powder, almond butter and coconut oil into food processor. Pulse until well combined and sticky. Add in tart cherries, cashews and hemp seeds. Pulse lightly until well combined. Line 8-inch-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper. Place mixture into pan. Place a second small sheet of parchment paper on top of mixture, and press firmly to smooth out mixture into pan. Place pan in freezer. Let harden 10 to 30 minutes, and then cut into 8 bars. Keep in airtight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer, if you prefer a firmer texture. Makes 8 bars.SPICED PUMPKIN PROTEIN BAR 1 cup oats, gluten free2 ripe bananas3 tablespoons whey protein powder (you can substitute hemp or brown rice protein powder)1/8 teaspoon sea salt1 tablespoon coconut oil, softened2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds2 tablespoons chia seeds2 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds2 tablespoons crushed walnuts2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg, clove, ginger and cinnamon)1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakesPreheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine oats, bananas, protein powder, sea salt and coconut oil. Pulse until well blended and smooth (approximately 1 minute). In a large bowl, combine pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts and spice. Stir to combine, and then add wet mixture from processor. Stir to coat evenly. Mixture will be sticky. Place mixture into greased 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Spread coconut flakes onto batter, pressing down firmly. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 6 bars. Keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Makes 6 bars. MACA MOCHA SMOOTHIE 6 frozen coconut almond milk ice cubes1 frozen banana, sliced2 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder2 teaspoons maca powder1 tablespoon chia seeds1 tablespoon cocoa powder2 shots espresso, cooled1 cup unsweetened coconut almond milkPlace all ingredients in blender. Pulse until well combined. Divide between two glasses and drink immediately, or let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow chia seeds to “gel” and smoothie to thicken. Makes 2 smoothies.STRAWBERRY CHIA FRESCA 1 1/2 cups coconut water, divided2 tablespoons chia seeds1/4 cup coconut sugarJuice of 1 fresh lemon (2 tablespoons)12 frozen organic strawberries2 cups seltzer waterPlace chia seeds and 1/2 cup of coconut water into jar, and leave covered overnight in the refrigerator. When chia has worked its magic, the seeds will puff up and become a gel like consistency. When chia seeds are ready, remove from refrigerator. In small saucepan over low heat, combine coconut sugar and the juice of 1 lemon. Whisk continuously as sugar begins to dissolve; allow to dissolve completely (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Place 6 frozen strawberries in each of two large glasses. Divide the chia mixture and lemon sugar mixture evenly between the two glasses. Add 1/2 cup coconut water and 1 cup seltzer water to each glass. Makes 2 spritzers.
Goodnight, Texas, couldn’t be much more than a flat spot on Interstate 40. Blink one too many times and you just might miss it as you cruise across the dusty Texas panhandle.What Goodnight, Texas, is, however, is the geographic midpoint between the homes of Avi Vinocur (San Francisco) and Patrick Dyer Wolf (Chapel Hill, North Carolina). The two songwriters kindled a friendship in 2007 and a songwriting partnership that has withstood the 2800 or so miles that separate them.Goodnight, Texas released their first record in 2012 and recently offered the world their sophomore effort, Uncle John Farquhar. Trail Mix caught up with the band to chat up bank robbery, small towns, and long book titles.BRO – Have you guys ever been to Goodnight, Texas? Apparently, it’s a small town. Tempted to stop by and invite the citizenry – all 28 of them – to a house concert?GT – Yes, we have, on several occasions. We went there on October 1, 2012, the day before our first record was released, and went to each door in town and gave everyone an album. We also, on a later trip, rented the community building for twenty-four hours and put on a concert. It cost a mere twenty-five bucks. We actually drew more than twenty-eight people because some folks from adjacent towns came, too. It was a party. They cooked tri-tip.BRO – The band recently expanded from a duo to a quartet. How has that changed the songwriting/performing dynamic?GT – We still write songs separately, but everything gets a little bass/drums sriracha on it now. It’s a major improvement. We can get heavy and loud, and our quiet moments are much quieter.BRO – What’s the band listening to on the road?GT – Our drummer, Alex, gets on these kicks where he will only listen to one thing for two weeks straight and we are subjected to it. Currently, he is playing a lot of Fred Eaglesmith, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, but always love us some Shovels & Rope, Shakey Graves, Old Man Luedecke, and Billy Joel.BRO – We are featuring “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme” on this month’s Trail Mix. Who is your favorite bank robber of all time?GT – It’s tough to pick one, but our favorite heist-related book is Narrative of Patrick Lyon, Who Suffered Three Months Severe Imprisonment in Philadelphia Gaol On Merely a Vague Suspicion of Being Concerned in a Robbery of a Bank of Pennsylvania; With His Remarks Thereon.Having read the title, I feel like I have already read the book. With as many miles as the boys in Goodnight, Texas are racking up on the road, I am sure they will have plenty of time to knock that little tome right out.Goodnight, Texas is out in California over the next week or so before heading east in early September. The band hits the Mid-Atlantic on September 16, when the play The Black Cat in Washington, D.C. Fans in North Carolina (Charlotte, Chapel Hill, and Boone), Tennessee (Bristol and Nashville), and Georgia (Athens) should also be looking forward to the band’s upcoming stops.For more information on Goodnight, Texas, when the band will be close to your town, or how you might get a copy of the new record, Uncle John Farquhar, surf over to www.hiwearegoodnighttexashowareyou.com.
Shareff is walking alone.The other campers have gone ahead, scrambling, scuffling, stumbling up the trail, eager to find what lies around the next bend, but Shareff has fallen behind. His pace is slow, so slow that it’s hard to find a word for it. Deliberate doesn’t begin to describe it; plodding sounds too speedy by half. We’ll put it somewhere between a tortoise and a sloth. The reason: Shareff is paying attention. Close attention.Shareff is blind, but that’s not unusual on this day. We’re at a camp for kids with no or low vision. Two of our hikers are totally blind, and two nearly so. The rest have visual impairments of varying scope and severity—severe enough, in most cases, to turn the leaves and rocks and roots of the woods into a blur of bright color and indiscriminate shapes. Still they are up ahead, halfway to the lunch spot, while Shareff still navigates the first five hundred feet of the Warren Wilson River Trail.Shareff has been blind since birth. He has light perception, but no usable vision. He’s the first to admit he doesn’t spend much time in the woods. It’s a novel experience for him, a world truly wild, and so he pays attention. He’s paying attention with his feet: his light-soled sneakers help him feel the forest floor. He’s paying attention with his hands, collecting information with two trekking poles as he feels his way along the trail. But mostly he’s paying attention with his ears. He listens for the voice of his teacher, the song of the stream, the rustle of his peers shuffling into the distance. Above all, he listens to his clicks. All blind people use sound to orient themselves—the footfalls of a friend, the echo of a cane tip in an empty room—but Shareff is an active echolocator, clicking his tongue and waiting to hear the reflected sound, using a hundred tiny snapshots to construct an auditory image of the world around him.Shareff has never been in woods so dense. When his clicks come back to him soft and muffled, he knows that the leaves are thick and close. And when he hears a short, sharp report, he knows he’s found the trunk of a large and sturdy tree—the kind it’s best to step around. He turns his head left-and-right, clicking to map the space around him, hearing the path ahead and using his trekking poles to confirm his impressions. He has not taken many steps, it is true, but he has taken each one of them alone. His teacher watches from a distance as Shareff makes his way over rocks and roots, upslope and down, taking stock with every step.Other hikers will log more miles today, but it’s hard to imagine one more immersed in nature than Shareff is at this moment. This is why we came.In June of this year, I launched an outdoor adventure camp for kids who are blind and visually impaired. It’s part of a family of camps run by A Brighter Path Foundation, collectively known as the SEE (Student Enrichment Experience) Camps. The camps are staffed by certified teachers for the visually impaired—together we have dozens of years of experience—and are the brainchild of Chris Flynt, the director of A Brighter Path programs, who lost his own vision to retinitis pigmentosa in early adulthood. The campers are kids we have met over the years, and our goal this week is to get them off the couch and into the woods—to hike, zip, climb, and raft in the wilds of western North Carolina.Adults are constantly conspiring to plop kids into the backcountry, and we’re no exception. We do it for all the usual reasons: to build confidence and competence, to encourage teamwork, to improve problem-solving skills. Essential traits for all children, but perhaps more critical for the blind and visually impaired. Our campers grow up in a world that is skeptical of their skill. They hear too many messages of blindness as a disability, and live in a world of overabundant caution, with too many can’ts in the places of cans. Internalize this message, and it becomes all too easy to sit on the sidelines and let the world whirl by unheeded. In hitting the trail, we hope to fight this impulse: to expand possibility, reward curiosity, and nurture the spirit of adventure that beats in every heart.And so we hiked, rambling down the River Trail and giving new meaning to the word treehugger. (Every now and then, our camper Jordan would give a nearby trunk a healthy squeeze, to better sense its size and shape.)We zipped, soaring through the Nantahala River Gorge at speeds approaching fifty miles per hour, on lines up to a half-mile long. As each kid flew from view, and even the sighted teachers lost track of our charges, we tuned our ears to the tensile whine of the line, following each zipper’s progress by the pitch and volume of the returning sound.We climbed, scaling a fifty foot vertical wall at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, and found that wall to be a great equalizer. The sighted and blind alike struggled with floundering feet and outstretched fingertips, climbing higher through grit and grimace in equal measure, fueled by the shouts of our groundbound friends.We floated, rafting down the ancient French Broad, our paddles dug deep and true, as the waves and ripples and eddies spoke from all sides in a constantly shifting soundscape. We smelled the rich and redolent bouquet of wild waters, of river rocks drying in the vanishing sun, and now and then felt the stray spray from the whitecaps alight upon our cheeks.The bus ride back from the takeout was a sensory garden of its own: the thick smell of packed rafters on wet vinyl, the too-still breeze from half-jammed schoolbus windows, the wheeze and choke of diesel fumes, the obligatory raft guide jokes emanating from the front of the bus…we had all of this and more to savor as we snaked our way back to base camp.All in all, it was a glorious week, a success by any measure. Our campers had a blast. They were active and engaged, heedless and reflective by turns, challenged and animated and triumphant. The same goes for the teachers. When it came time to say goodbye, we all walked away with a little more bounce in our step, a little more hope in our hearts.There were plenty of priceless moments during the week—many set against soaring mountain scenery, accompanied by whoops of joy—but the picture I return to time and again is the quiet intensity of Shareff’s walk in the woods. While he never ventured further than a half-mile from the road, Shareff was in a wilderness unlike one I’ve experienced in quite a while. The trail was new to him, and strange, and he had little idea what lay five feet ahead. His approach was one that we would all do well to heed as we confront our own personal wilderness: neither fearful nor fearless, cautious but curious, open to what the world has to offer, and patient enough to listen to its call.He knew what I once knew, and what I hope all our campers come to know in time: the world is open, wonderful, and wide. Dive right in.Jay Hardwig is a certified teacher for the visually impaired and Orientation & Mobility specialist, and the Asheville manager of A Brighter Path programs. He can be reached at [email protected]
Across Western North Carolina, outdoor companies and manufacturers are coming together to revolutionize the industry and the area they call home.Aptly named the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC (OGB), this small organization comprised of 29 companies is steadily working to improve not just their member’s businesses, but the outdoor recreation industry as a whole. From larger companies to small startups, they are a force to be reckoned with—not just in WNC, but across the nation.Meetings Can Be At Bars, Restaurants, or Company WarehousesThe Birth of an Outdoor OrganizationSylvanSport founder and CEO, Tom Dempsey along with their VP of New Product Development, Kyle Mundt, were planning on hosting an event to promote their campers. To expand on the event’s presence, they contacted other outdoor companies in the area about partaking in the event. “We didn’t realize there were so many outdoor brands here,” says Mundt. “We got them all together and it just snowballed from there.” That first event is what sparked the idea to form the organization. It is also the predecessor to the OGB’s annual Get In Gear Fest.Amy Allison is the Marketing Team Manager at Eagle’s Nest Outfitters (ENO), and the Board Chair of the OGB. She’s been with the organization from the start. “There wasn’t a forum for us to work together as a group,” says Allison. “Once we got all of the companies together in the same room, we decided it was time to form an organization to support one another, the community, and the industry as a whole.”The first time the OGB really saw their impact as an organization followed the terrible flooding in Lyons, Colo. They put together an event to raise money for relief in Lyons. “It’s a small community with a lot of passion for the outdoors, just like here,” notes Allison. Following the success of the fundraiser, the OGB realized that they can collectively make a change, not just in WNC, but in the outdoor industry across the nation.Judy Gross (center) of Lightheart Gear | Photo: Peter AmendBuilding Brands and Forging PartnershipsThe OGB isn’t just improving the outdoor economy in WNC; their members grow with the organization too. If a member has a question, they refer to the group for their knowledge and expertise. Everyone shares their tips, tricks, mistakes, and successes. As the members of the OGB grow, so does the success of the OGB.“The vision to bring all those companies together to form a unified organization just made sense,” says Bill Johnston, co-owner of Recover Brands, “I’m a firm believer in collaboration and that we’re stronger together. Being part of the OGB is the epitome of that.” Recover Brands, along with several others, were among the first to join the organization.Naturally, the companies that are a part of the OGB don’t just grow together, they work together. Lightheart Gear, a lightweight tent and clothing company, assists Blue Ridge Chair Works and SylvanSport in production. These relationships stem naturally from the OGB and it’s mission to connect these brands.OGB Press Camp With David KnightBuilding An EconomyAccording to a report by the OIA, outdoor recreation generates more consumer spending in North Carolina ($28 billion) than financial services and insurance combined. Western North Carolina alone generates $4.8 billion each year and is home to over 178 outdoor companies. During the OGB’s 2016 census, their members had employed 512 full-time people in that year alone. Impressive for an organization with fewer than 29 members at the time.Along with helping build an economy and growing the local workforce, the OGB is helping shape policy and bring brands to the area. North Carolina is the fourth state in the nation to have an office dedicated to outdoor recreation (lead by David Knight), and we have members of the OGB to thank for that.Noah Wilson (left) at a typical OGB outingOGB Program Manager Noah Wilson is at the forefront of growing both the OGB and outdoor industry in WNC. With a background in economics, Noah has helped the OGB find new opportunities they otherwise would not have known existed. For instance, Wilson worked with the EDPNC to secure a grant that provided funding for OGB members to travel to trade shows in Europe. Now, small WNC based outdoor brands have earned international recognition and are shipping all over the world.The OGB is currently in the process of working with the Appalachian Regional Commission to secure grants that will help expand the outdoor industry to rural manufacturing communities in the area. “How do you move a region from an extractive economy to a sustainable, regenerative economy?” asks Wilson. “We’re using our area as a model for other communities to create a sustainable outdoor recreation economy.”Get In Gear Fest Photo: Peter AmendEvents, Demos, and Connecting With The CommunityThe OGB takes part in and hosts several events every year across WNC. It is a part of how the organization helps connect their members with the community as well as other outdoor brands.Get In Gear Fest is their annual, members-only festival. Featuring all of the latest and greatest product that their members have to offer. Free and open to the public, you can test chairs, demo materials, try on packs, sit in kayaks, demo dry bags, lay in tents, you name it. It’s a great way for the public to stay up to date on the latest innovative products being made right here in WNC.Tying in to Get In Gear Fest, the OGB Press Camp is an annual gathering of media and influencers from the outdoor industry. Brought in from across the nation, these individuals get to test first hand the products created by OGB members and learn about what makes WNC so special. This is another benefit to members of the organization looking to get more exposure on a national scale.Mountain Sports Festival, held annually in Asheville since 2014, is a great place to come and check out some of the brands that make up the Outdoor Gear Builders. While it’s not put on by the OGB, their members have a huge presence there. This year, they will have Cane Creek, Diamond Brand Gear, Astral, Bellyak, ENO, Southern Raft Supply, SylvanSport, and Recover in attendance. Pending the water conditions, Bellyak will be hosting the Bellyak Race For A Cause on Saturday. The festival itself is where many of the brands have met each other and become a part of the OGB.Zip Lining With OGB Photo: Peter AmendBuilding a FutureAs the OGB grows, so does their reach and impact on the industry. From putting WNC companies in front of an international audience to finding grants and opportunities to grow locally, they are the driving force behind our growing outdoor economy. The OGB has created a great model for how brands can collaborate and share ideas and resources. They have plans to add more annual events, conferences, and will continue to tell the stories and connect the brands that call WNC home.How To Get InvolvedWhether you’re looking to start a business or have been around for a century, the OGB encourages any WNC based company that works in the outdoor industry to become a part of their community. Whether you’re looking to join as a brand, partner with, or sponsor the organization, you can contact them on the Outdoor Gear Builders Website.Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.
McDowell County has many very stocked streams. The mountain trout waters include catch/release at Newberry Creek, delayed harvest in Old Fort on Mill Creek, Curtis Creek, hatchery supported waters at the head of Catawba River at Catawba Falls Campground and at the US 70 bridge in the town of Old Fort. Particularly in and around the Old Fort area and Curtis Creek area, you’ll find wild trout waters. Two of the most popular outdoor sports in McDowell County are fly fishing and mountain biking. Pisgah offers long climbs and fast descents. Elevation changes quickly, but that’s not the only reason these trails are exhilarating. Waterfall Hike Refinery 13 was the first taproom to open. They’re open Tuesday-Saturday between 5pm-10pm. Tuesday Night Trivia is competitive and fun and always attracts a packed house. Lake James State Park is a perfect place to park and go. You have access to 13 trails, offering a combination of hiking and mountain biking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. The Pisgah National Forest spreads throughout western North Carolina and into McDowell County. With close to 70,000 acres surrounding the towns of Marion and Old Fort, these mountains provide the ultimate landscape for outdoor adventures. Find individually owned area cabins, cottages, B&Bs, inns, or a hotel by going to the county’s tourism site. Call 888-233-6111 to request free maps, guides, and more. Old Fort’s MTB areas include legendary trails like Heartbreak Ridge and Kitsuma Peak/Young’s Ridge, local downhill destinations. Day 2 Lake James is ideal for the sports fisherman with over 6,500 acres framed by 150 miles of shoreline. After burning all of those calories, kick back in downtown Marion and swap stories over a beer and food. The downtown Main Street area includes a variety of new shops, pubs, and a microbrewery. Hike Stay Catawba Falls/Old Fort;Hickory Branch Falls in the Curtis Creek Area/outside Old Fort; Tom’s Creek Falls just north of Marion with a 100-foot drop and it’s an easy trail to hike;Crabtree Falls just south of Little Switzerland with access adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 339.5; Linville Falls, also adjacent to the parkway with three hiking trail viewing points. Old Fort’s Point Lookout Trail is a paved route ascending Old Fort Mountain where you will gain approximately 900 feet in elevation with a 3.75-mile hike. It opens to spectacular views of the Royal Gorge and if you’re there at the “right time” of day, you’ll watch a train emerging from the mountain. It’s an awesome sight!The Mountains to Sea Trail crosses all through McDowell County and is a 75-mile section. Snook’s Nose is a challenging favorite hiking trail inside the Curtis Creek Area of the Pisgah National Forest. Newberry Creek Trail is an easy hike. It meanders through the forest until you are within several yards away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then it’s straight up and is just a gorgeous trail!Marion’s McDowell Greenway is approximately a 3.2-mile round-trip. This greenway borders the Catawba River. Many visitors and residents use the Greenway as an access point to wade in and fish for the morning or late evening. Enjoy outdoor murals in town towns, art organizations in all three communities, and more. There is also a bunch of fun and amazing annual festivals/events happening. Downtown Marion is host to a new music hall and specialty bar, The Spillway Bridge. It’s an eclectic mix of open-mic, jazz, beach music, and bluegrass. Their entertainment schedule says it all. It offers a comfortable vibe with a knowledgeable bartender. Mica Town Brewing is an interesting new spot operated by Emily Causey and husband Jason Snyder. Their story is as unique as their products, named after local sites and communities. They also host fun events/activities and are open year-round. Kitsuma Peak Woods Mountain Trail View Point Lookout Mountain Bike Ride Food & Drink Tackle one of McDowell County’s 20 public trails! After your morning mountain bike adventure, what better way to cool off than in a waterfall? There are several gorgeous waterfalls to choose from in the region. The top five, according to locals, are Trail conditions pack a punch with lots of roots, rocks, and creeks, scattered throughout lush protected forest lands. Food & Drink The Woods Mountain Trail is known for being one of Marion area’s most challenging rides. The 25-mile trail travels through rugged wildlands and begins and ends north of Marion, North Carolina. This trail is for experienced riders only. Fishing A great downtown dinner spot is McDowell Local. They recently celebrated their one year anniversary. Owners Aaron and Lauren Matthews strive to use locally sourced ingredients and partner with local wineries and breweries to offer the best in locally crafted spirits. Catawaba River Check the NC Wildlife Commission website for detailed maps. Burrito Bros! These brothers learned from their mom and began working with their food truck, transitioning into a brick and mortar site on North Main Street. Their classic logo, Roll One With Us, features a sugar skull on the window fronts. Both McDowell Local and Burrito Bros have been featured on UNC-TV’s Bob Garner’s show. Day 1 Catawba Falls Stop by Bear Creek Marina to stock up on supplies. The public boat ramp is a few yards away from the marina entrance at Black Bear. Art
“As the months roll by, it’s clear that the virus is going to be with is a profound way, for the foreseeable future,” CEO Eric Artz said in an email to staff. “We’re doing great work serving customer demand right now, but there’s a lot we still don’t know about the long-term impacts to the economy and the full impact to our business.” Statistics provided by the U.S. Travel Association show many people are traveling hundreds of miles across state lines to visit national parks, National Parks Traveler reports. At Yellowstone National Park, for example, 91 percent of tourists drove more than 200 miles to visit the park since its reopening in May, the data shows. At the Grand Canyon, 78% of visitors at the South Rim drove more than 200 miles for a visit. Hiker standing near a ledge at Lindy Point in West Virginia – Photo by Michael Ver Sprill courtesy of Getty Images West Virginia’s Camp Creek State Park opens new primitive camping cabin REI to lay off 400 retail employees Statistics show visitors are flocking to national parks, despite virus In a sign of the times, REI announced that they will lay off 400 retail employees this week, cutting the company’s retail workforce by approximately 3%. Earlier in the year, the company laid off about 300 corporate employees at their headquarters in Kent, Washington. REI says the most recent cuts will impact employees that have not returned to work yet, including some who do not wish to return. The cabin is located on the forest side of Camp Creek and is accessed by hiking more than three miles up the mountain. “This cabin is really special and perfect for people who want to escape to the mountains and experience what cabin life was like a century ago,” Camp Creek Superintendent Frank Ratcliffe said. To reserve the cabin, call 1-833-WVPARKS. A new cabin featuring rustic accommodations and a primitive, off-the-grid experience was dedicated at Camp Creek State Park and Forest on Wednesday and is now open for reservations, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources said in a news release. The cabin, called the Ranger Outpost Cabin, is the first of its type offered at the park.
Arrive in historic Abingdon, VA and explore the charming brick sidewalks of Main Street. Abingdon was founded in 1778, and the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. Self-guided walking tours are available from the Visitor Center. If you want a deeper dive into history, line up a tour with History Alive! Tours. Costumed, in-character tour guides will take you to the most significant sites in Abingdon history, including the Abingdon Muster Grounds, where patriots mustered to confront the British forces in 1780. Inside tip for wanderers: Always “know before you go” and check the official websites for parks and trails. Many visitor centers are closed currently; plan to bring plenty of water and snacks. Have a backup plan in mind if the parking lot is full. If you’d rather skip the hassle of doing your own research, consider a guided hike from White Blaze Outdoors – specialties include a Waterfall Tour or Salamander Hike for families. Day Four Day One Allow plenty of time for meals in Abingdon, as you eat your way through the “Best Small Town Food Scene in the Country” for TWO years running! With over 30 independently owned restaurants, Abingdon has more eateries per capita than New York City. Whether you want to sample hoecakes or haute cuisine, you’ll find it in Abingdon. Just off the trail in Alvarado you’ll find Abingdon Vineyards, a gorgeous farm winery along the banks of the South Holston River. Enjoy a flight of wines and live music on the lawn. Rent kayaks at the Vineyards or bring a picnic blanket and just relax! This winery combines the sophisticated palate of Napa Valley with the unique terroir of the Appalachian Mountains for a style of wine the owners call “Nappalachian.” With a beautiful covered patio and riverside picnic tables, it’s a perfect outdoor venue for socially distanced entertainment. The Virginia Creeper Trail is considered one of best rail-trails in the country, famous for its scenic vistas, tumbling creeks, and 47 original trestle bridges. The trail runs from Abingdon (mile marker zero), through the tiny town of Damascus, where it intersects with the Appalachian Trail, and on to Whitetop Station on the Virginia/North Carolina border. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians of all ages share the crushed-limestone and hard-packed dirt trail. Experience the nostalgic charm of a night at the drive-in. Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia, offers live performances at the historic Moonlite Drive-In. Take in a live show from the comfort and safety of your car. Even better, the experience is completely touchless, featuring electronic tickets, and programs delivered to your smart phone. Before heading home, explore Abingdon’s public art trail, including 3 of Virginia’s famous LOVEworks. After all, Virginia is for Lovers! After a day of exploring, enjoy dining al fresco in Abingdon. Pick your favorite patio experience. For a luxurious step back in time, enjoy a glass of vino from the award-winning wine list at Sister’s American Grill at The Martha. The grande dame of Abingdon has now added intimate outdoor dining, as well as tables on the front porch overlooking Main Street. Plenty of Abingdon eateries also offer patio dining, from innovative fine dining, to family-friendly joints. Pick up a picnic lunch at Bonefire Smoke House or JJ’s Restaurant, and head out for some sightseeing on the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway – aka “the road to the wild ponies.” The Abingdon area is home to Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia. Stops along the way include the highly instagrammable ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park and the charming town of Damascus, VA, known as Trail Town USA. The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa in Abingdon, VA on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Copyright 2012 Jason Barnette Day Two Numerous outfitters are ready to provide bikes and shuttle services to the trailhead, making it accessible to even novice riders. Start in Abingdon or take a shuttle Whitetop Station for an all downhill ride, or challenge yourself with the full 34-miles! Day Three Abingdon is your jumping off point to explore the curvy back roads and tiny towns of Southwest Virginia. Hikers can tackle the trail to the Mount Rogers peak, an approximately 8.5 mile out-and-back trail that starts in Grayson Highlands State Park. The park also has plenty to offer less ambitious hikers, with many of the shorter trails in Grayson Highlands loaded with iconic Appalachian vistas. The easily accessible Twin Pinnacles Trail begins at the park’s visitor center and takes hikers on a 1.6-mile loop with sweeping views of Wilbur Ridge and Mount Rogers. Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel, but here in Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. And while travel doesn’t look quite the same this year, you can still indulge your love of travel with an epic road trip to Abingdon, VA. This small mountain town is located in the southwestern corner of Virginia, just a few hours from the metro areas of Charlotte, Asheville and Knoxville, TN. The 34.3-mile Virginia Creeper Trail was named after the steam engine that once creeped up the rails into the Iron Mountains. By the 1970s, many railroads were abandoned, so in 1986 the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy began converting old railroad beds into trail systems for hikers and bikers.Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org
By Dialogo June 24, 2009 Five years after its first outing, the â€œDinosaurs of Argentinaâ€œexhibition has arrived Serbia, at the Continental Hotel in New Belgrade. In the middle of the most attractive exhibits are the complete skeletons of seven dinosaurs, including a 14-meter-long giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous period and a 17-meter long rebbachisaurus, an herbivore from the similar period. Buenos Aires, 23 June (EFE).- A search ship confirmed that the cargo of 9.5 tons of gold and silver carried by the Chilean fishing boat Polar Mist remained in its hold, five months after it sank in the Atlantic, off the southern coast of Argentina, the Buenos Aires press reported today. The discovery put an end to suspicions that the shipment, valued at around 19 million dollars, had been stolen shortly before the mysterious sinking of the fishing boat at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Magellan, some forty kilometers from the Argentine coast. A submersible with video cameras operated remotely from the ship C-Sailor determined that the Polar Mist was around eighty meters down, without major damage, and with its cargo intact, sources connected to the recovery operation told Clarín and La Nación daily newspapers. They indicated that the Vanuatu-flagged C-Sailor had been working in the area of the shipwreck for the last week and that an operation with divers and equipment was now being prepared to recover the shipment of gold, which belongs to mining firms of South African, Canadian, and Argentine ownership. The Polar Mist is “on its belly” on the ocean floor, with all its compartments closed and with light damage attributable to the impacts suffered upon sinking, the sources indicated. The search ship is crewed by personnel from the Dutch recovery firm Mammoet, contracted by the London insurer Lloyds, and members of the coastal police of the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, who are acting as observers. The Chilean fishing boat, which had been refitted to carry cargo, ran aground in unexplained circumstances on January 18, following a storm at the entrance to the Strait of Magellan, which joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the southern tip of the American continent. Two days later, the Chilean tugboat Beagle found the Polar Mist without visible damage and took it under tow in order to bring it to Río Gallegos, the capital of Santa Cruz, but had to release it once it became evident that the ship was starting to sink. The Polar Mist’s eight Chilean crew members were safely rescued by an Argentine naval helicopter and taken to Río Gallegos. Almost two months ago, an expedition that planned to recover the shipment was frustrated after the insurance company and two Argentine maritime unions failed to agree on the amount of money that would be paid as a reward. Cerro Vanguardia, controlled by the South African firm Anglo Gold with minority participation by the Argentine state firm Formicruz, had filed a claim for the payment of 16.4 million dollars for the loss of 6.9 tons of the gold shipment that the Chilean ship was carrying. Another 2.6 tons of ingots of unrefined gold and silver belongs to Triton Argentina, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm Pan American Silver, which also has Formicruz as a minority partner.
Rivera, who traveled directly to the operations center from which the pursuit of this terrorist faction is being coordinated, called on the inhabitants of El Vichada, who have been victims of this criminal for years, to denounce him and enable the authorities to determine his location. The defense minister also called on Prada to demobilize and reintegrate into society: “For his own part, I call on him to demobilize, as ‘alias Karina’ did in the past, and so be able to contribute to doing the country a service after causing it so much harm. We believe in second chances, and a good part of the success of this policy can be inferred from demobilizations,” Rivera said. “We’re concentrating on two fronts at present: achieving the return to freedom of the topographer who continues to be held and in second place, definitively dismantling this much-reduced FARC structure by neutralizing its leader, ‘alias Gochornea,’” the minister maintained. Finally, he affirmed that military operations will continue until they have obtained the liberation of the topographer who remains in the FARC’s power following the release of the other twenty-two employees under pressure from the troops. In Cumaribo, Vichada, Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera offered a reward of 250 million pesos (approximately 135,000 dollars), for information enabling the neutralization of José Alirio Prada, alias Gochornea, leader of the FARC’s Front 16, a terrorist structure responsible for kidnapping twenty-three employees of a petroleum exploration contractor working in the region. By Dialogo March 14, 2011
In order to help stop illegal smuggling of drugs, money and people throughout Central America, the navies from many countries including the United States and the Netherlands, are working jointly toward this end. As part of the international effort to improve security and stability in the region, the Netherlands Navy ship HNLMS Rotterdam deployed to the Caribbean Sea in early May 2011, to patrol the coast of Central America. The Rotterdam will remain on this effort until the summer, when Netherlands Navy ship Johan de Witt, her sister ship, arrives to relieve her. HNLMS Rotterdam is a Landing Platform Dock- class amphibious ship equipped with a large helicopter dock, a deck for large landing craft, an operation theater and a complete Class II hospital on board. The lead ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy was launched in 1997. By Dialogo May 13, 2011