our state presents
2009 Our State Reader Photo Contest
Deadline for entries: April 1, 2009
Picture-perfect moments are easy to come by in North Carolina: a blue heron extending its wide wings to launch itself above the treetops, the quiet serenity of bald cypress mirrored against still waters, or a child pausing at the edge of the sand before splashing into an oncoming wave. Capturing these moments is a little tougher. It takes patience and timing, a little bit of luck and fair amount of skill
From the Web…
Grandfather Mountain moved one step closer to becoming a state park when the Council of State on Tuesday approved North Carolina’s purchase of a large chunk of the property. That’s a win for the state and the Morton family, which will continue to operate its popular tourist attraction on the mountain through a private, nonprofit organization.
In Surry County, the Piedmont Land Conservancy announced last week that it has bought a second tract on Fisher’s Peak. Stunning views have been preserved, as well as flora and fauna. The peak is home to bears, as well as mountain laurel, rare grasses and chestnut trees.
News from the Web
Greensboro, Ga.-based Reynolds Signature Communities, a subsidiary of Linger Longer Communities LLC, said in a news release late Tuesday it has acquired Laurelmor, a 6,200-acre master-planned golf and equestrian community west of Blowing Rock, N.C. A purchase price was not released.
According to published reports, Ginn Development Co., the former owners of Laurelmor, nearly lost the community to foreclosure earlier this year when it failed to make principal and interest payments on a $675 million credit facility on the development and other properties.
The sale is part of an agreement with Ginn Development’s lenders, including Credit Suisse, according to a report in the Winston Salem Journal.
News from the Web
Last month at an event commemorating the Blue Ridge Parkway a Depression-era federal project, Virginia’s Governor Tim Kaine said, “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” It’s a message embraced by conservationists across the Southeast. This time of economic difficulty is also one of opportunity for land trusts.
I found this video on YouTube today…
Hike a section of the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail (or A.T.) on top of Max Patch Mountain near Hot Springs. This 4,600-foot mountain was cleared and used as pasture in the 1800s. Today, it’s a 350-acre tract of open land on a high knob with 360-degree views. On a clear day, you can see from Mt. Mitchell on the east to the Great Smoky Mountains on the south. What a picnic spot! And great for star gazing and enjoying wildflowers. The summit is a short walk from the parking lot. Max Patch is part of the Pisgah National Forest.
Two easy loop trails lead you to, and around, the summit. The 1.4-mile short loop crosses the summit. The 2.4 mile loop circles the mountain for outstanding views from all the sides. From the parking lot, follow the marked trail to the left. You will ascend through a forest and then reach the top for amazing views. The rest of the hike is on the grassy bald. You can also hike north or south on the Appalachian Trail for as far as you want.
The Great Smoky Mountains, only 20 miles away, dominate the southwest horizon. To the west the terrain drops over 3600 feet into the flatlands of eastern Tennessee. To the west, 50 miles distant, rises the dark ridgeline of the Black Mountains. Endless ridges and peaks fill in the panorama everywhere else.
Max Patch Bald is the kind of place that becomes a part of you after just one trip. The route up to the summit passes through picturesque mountain communities that have largely escaped the mass tourism radar. Passing by old red tobacco barns, little white churches, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, and even the occasional country store, the route eventually starts a long gradual climb through the deep forest. Then out of nowhere it appears, an enormous grassy bald, and what may be the single most stunning view in the entire region.
Though many mountains are higher, none seem so when you are on the summit of Max Patch Bald. On a clear day you will see completely across most of eastern Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Black Mountains, Craggy Mountains, Pisgah Ledge, the Newfound Mountains of Haywood County, and Walnut Mountains of Madison County. Pictures cannot do justice to the summit, a la Sound of Music. This exceptionally beautiful grassy peak is often covered in wildflowers and affords a spectacular 360-degree view. At near the 5,000-foot level, this is one of the first places to see brilliant fall color and substantial snowfall. The one-mile loop trail to the summit is easy to moderate. Take the trail to the left. It is best done in the clockwise direction, saving the steepest sections for the downhill return. You don’t have to be a serious hiker to enjoy what has been called The Crown Jewel of the Appalachian Trail.
Max Patch Mountain Details
Max Patch Mountain is a mountain summit in Madison County in the state of North Carolina (NC). Max Patch Mountain climbs to 4,616 feet (1,406.96 meters) above sea level. Max Patch Mountain is located at latitude – longitude coordinates (also called lat – long coordinates or GPS coordinates) of N 35.797045 and W -82.956811.
Anyone attempting to climb Max Patch Mountain and reach the summit should look for detailed information on the Max Patch Mountain area in the topographic map (topo map) and the Lemon Gap USGS quad. To hike and explore the North Carolina outdoors near Max Patch Mountain, check the list of nearby trails.
I wish I was here…
Grab your sweater because the temperatures are falling Highs will be in the low fifties this weekend
Friday had lots of wind and rain, so most of the leaves from the trees above 4,000 feet are finding their way to the ground today. Grandfather remains an excellent leaf-looking destination, however, because you pass through color in all the lower elevations on your drive to Grandfather Mountain, and because Grandfather’s peaks make a great vantage point for looking out at the color changing in the valleys. Today’s photograph from Lost Cove illustrates that there is lots of green left in the valleys.
NC Highway 105 between Boone and Linville ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 feet in elevation. Trees in those slightly lower elevations are only now beginning to change color, which guarantees lots of lively leaf looking for the next 10 days.
Before our trip last year, I always looked at these photo’s with a bit of skepticism. My corner of the world doesn’t have color changes like these…I learned just how wrong I was when we hit the Appalachians in early November of last year.
Here is the first “real fall” I ever saw…
The folks at Watauga County Farmers’ Market would like to thank everybody who braved the drizzle to support the market this past Saturday. The market will be open all four Saturdays in October, rain or shine, or even in the snow if need be. The outlook for Saturday the 4th calls for a nice day, and we hope to see you at the market.
There are plenty of good things left to harvest. Robert Church will have a good supply of Irish potatoes on hand as well as several varieties of apples including Wolf River, JonaGold, and Macintosh. Jerry Harvey may possibly have more yellow and white sweet corn, but he will certainly have plenty of pie pumpkins to bring to market.
The flavors of summer have not left, and Don Owens will have red, striped, pink and yellow tomatoes this weekend, yellow and zucchini squash, bell and hot peppers. Cheryl Piracci will have San Marzano tomatoes and quick marinara sauce recipes to go with them. Cheryl also will have her homemade pesto, pistachio orange biscotti, and even her own special garlic jam. Charles Church will be busy harvesting potatoes, onions, garlic, chard and butternut and spaghetti squash. Charles will also have humanely raised pork to offer.
If you are in the High Country this weekend, stop by the Market and pick up some of those good mountain vegetables…
The news has been peculating through the internet all weekend and this announcement is from the Grandfather Mountain Website…
Grandfather Mountain To Become A Not-For-Profit Company
North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and Grandfather Mountain President Crae Morton today announced an agreement whereby the State of North Carolina will purchase approximately 2,600-acres of the Grandfather Mountain backcountry to become North Carolina’s 34th state park.
“The acquisition of this precious gem in our landscape speaks to North Carolinians’ love of this land and a sincere dedication to conservation,” Easley said.
Looking for new ways to guarantee that Grandfather Mountain will remain in its current state forever, the owners of Grandfather Mountain decided that the best way to protect the mountain and assure the public continued access to its peaks would be to convert the company to a 501c3, not-for-profit entity.
To accomplish this goal, Grandfather Mountain, Inc. is selling approximately 2,600 acres of the wilderness backcountry to the State of North Carolina for the purpose of a state park. This acreage is already under conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy.
Grandfather Mountain and the State will have a joint research/management agreement that allows Grandfather rangers continued access to the backcountry for research and to assist in trail maintenance.
Grandfather Mountain, Inc. will also sell to the State of North Carolina an easement on approximately 600 acres that include the Mile High Swinging Bridge, Nature Museum, Wildlife Habitats, summit road and MacRae Meadows.
This easement places legal restrictions on the new 501(c)(3) that allows the property to continue to be used as a nature park, but prohibits any future development that would change the character of the mountain as it exists today. The agreement further protects the atmosphere of the park by placing limits on any future expansion of the buildings and other man-made features at the travel attraction.
“This cooperation between North Carolina State Parks and the new non-profit organization allows for the complete protection and preservation of Grandfather Mountain,” said Morton. “Plus the new 501(c)(3) will have many new avenues to generate revenue to improve and expand the mission of preservation and education.”
Funding for the acquisition will come from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund. The acquisition was arranged with the help of The Conservation Fund and one of its directors, Mike Leonard, and The Nature Conservancy, which holds conservation easements on Grandfather Mountain and surrounding properties totaling close to 4,000 acres.
The owners of Grandfather Mountain took care to see that the agreement specifically covered public access to MacRae Meadows. All activities, events and programs that currently draw visitors to the Meadow such as the Singing on the Mountain and the Highland Games will continue as they have in the past.
The new not-for-profit company will continue to collect park admission fees that will be used to fund its mission: to conserve and protect Grandfather Mountain, and to educate and inspire its visitors.
I look forward to my next visit…And wish all involved the best moving forward.
I walked out of my house this morning before sunrise. It is garbage pickup day. With the wildlife population explosion we have had I don’t dare take the garbage out too early. When I stepped out on the porch the hot, humid air settled down on my shoulders like a load of bricks. When I made it back into the artificially cooled interior of our home I looked at the weather station on the wall…81° and the humidity was 86%.
After making my lunch to haul in to work, a couple of pieces of toasted ciabatta bread with jam and butter with my morning coffee as I fired up my email led to this report…
Currently (on Tue 5:53AM CDT from Pearland Regional Airport)
Clear Clear Temp: 82° (Heat Index 89°)
Wind: S 5 MPH
Currently (on Tue 6:44AM EDT from Ashe County Airport)
Clear Clear Temp: 52°
Wind: Calm MPH
Currently (on Tue 7:20AM EDT from Virginia Tech Airport)
Mist Mist Temp: 50°
Wind: Calm MPH
Now…Do you understand why I dream of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Do you see that heat index at 5:53 in the morning? The middle of August and we still have months of this hot humid weather to go.
To top it all off, we are still in a drought situation here. We have a front (I refuse to call it a cold front) moving our way and all day long I’ve watched the rain vanish on the radar as it gets close…
So all you folks up on the Blue Ridge…Enjoy that beautiful weather. I wish I was having my morning coffee and email on the porch looking out on the morning fog rise from the valley…
Marie is turning me green with envy.
After a brief rainstorm last night it suddenly became freakin’ gorgeous up here in the mountain and shows no signs of letting up. I’m wearing my trusty ASU hoodie but will probably shed that in just a few. If you want ideal summer mountain weather, come up here now. Highs in mid-70’s. Lows in the low-50’s. Me? With low humidity comes stellar blue skies and long-range views. It is a Parkway Day for me, Baby!
Go check out the shots that go with the above at her site…And think about me in Texas where my day starts in the upper 70s and just goes up…and up…Beautiful shots Marie.