Hiking in the Black Mountains and Toe River Valley near Burnsville, North Carolina is a very rewarding experience. The area has a wide variety of terrain to explore ranging from lush river valleys to majestic mountain ridges. At 6,684 foot elevation, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi.
Join the N.C. High Peaks Trail Association for an adventure on Grandfather Mountain on Aug. 1. The group will hike the Profile Trail, which ascends the west side of the mountain past a number of rock features to the Shanty Spring, then to Calloway Gap, and ends at Calloway Peak, the mountain's summit.
At 7.2 miles in length and with an altitude gain of 2,000 ft., the hike is rated as strenuous. Bring plenty of water, lunch, snacks and foul weather gear. Leashed dogs will be allowed, but you will need to drive your own vehicle if you bring yours.
Join the High Peaks Birders for our monthly stroll. On Sunday, July 26 at 6 pm, we will meet at Cane River Park for an easy walk around the park and along the Cane River. We always find something new and interesting on each stroll. Last month 9 birders of discovered a beautiful green heron at the river which displayed for over 20 minutes. This normally shy bird seemed glad to show off for us, posing from the right, then the left, and stretching its long neck down to the river for a drink or to catch a fish.
We are in our second year of offering Birding Strolls at Cane River Park. It continues to yield a large variety of birds. Our last stroll was attended by 17 birders of all levels of experience. We found 22 species including a great display of a Kingbird defending his (or her) nest from a Robin and a Baltimore Oriole.
Bring a pair of binoculars and dress for the weather. We will go rain or shine if at all possible. Meet in the large parking lot next to the soccer field near the kiosk. For more information call 828 682-3733.
For this month's trail maintenance day we will work around Black Mountain Campground on a variety of tasks. There is lopping and weed-eating to do and some downed trees to remove. Exactly which trail/tasks we work on will depend on how large a crew we have. We may also work on some water issues on the Devil's Den trail.
Everyone is welcome to join the HP Board at our next regular Board meeting to be held at Appalachian Java on West Main St. at 9 am on Thursday, June 11. Besides our regular discussion of hike schedules, trail maintenance and Mt. Mitchell activities we will also hear news about a grant High Peaks just received to help us plan a connector trail from Burnsville to the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Come have a cup of coffee and a bagel with us!