Most of us at one time or another hanker for a place where we can get away from it all…
Sometimes I find myself walking without having made a conscious decision to do so. My body seems to feel the…
I have perused Kephart’s Camping and Woodcraft many times, but somehow or other had consistently overlooked his entry on lungwort…
The second volume of an anthology of nature writing from Western North Carolina and the Great Smokies that I edited…
“Sang” redux. Several weeks ago I wrote about ginseng. I have, in fact, been writing about ginseng for years. There…
A mask is a mechanism employed to cover the face as a protective screen or disguise. For protection, they have…
You don’t have to live in a cabin to get cabin fever. You can come down with a bad case…
Roland M. Harper was born in Maine but spent practically his entire professional life in the South, where his work…
The war in the Smokies proved to be … a curious conjunction of terrain, history, politics, and culture ... a…
It’s that time of the year, and the hills are alive not with music but “sang” hunters. As of now…
(Note: Since its publication several years ago, this column about Evan O. Hall has sparked a number of comments. Something…
This is about frogs. Of late, I’ve been thinking about them … especially the frog that snores. As I recently…
Earlier this week about nine in the morning, I was standing on the Everett Street bridge in the heart of…
Usually I locate rare plants by visualizing them and visiting likely habitats. It’s as if I can will them into…
The Eastern Screech Owl has the broadest ecological niche of any owl in its range. It occurs east of the…
I started to write this column about Duane Oliver before I discovered that he has just published what he tells…
About a year and a half ago I wrote a column titled “Mountain Topography and Language Lend Themselves to Colorful…
Spring is the appointed time for the various wildflower pilgrimages and outings that attract thousands of visitors to the mountains…
Lots of folks like to study those molded relief maps of the region, the ones that show the upraised contours…
(Editor’s note: This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in July 2005.) Are you by chance looking for…
A portion of this Back Then column appeared in SMN in August 2004 as “A Box to Call Your Own.”…
When walking a trail in the Smokies (or Nantahalas or Great Balsams or wherever) here in the southern Blue Ridge,…
Identifying ferns is an entirely different process than, say, identifying wildflowers or trees. They don't display flowers, showy fruits, or…
The elevations of the southern Blue Ridge province above 4,000 feet can be thought of as a peninsula of northern…
I’ve always been interested in the processes by which we discover things. Being a naturalist, I’m most interested in the…
“How many thousand-thousand of untold white ash trees are the respected companions of our doorways, kindliest trees in the clearing…
ELDERBERRY WINE There’s a fly in the window A dog in the yard And a year since I saw you…
Rural residents know the yellow-billed cuckoo as the “rain crow” or “storm crow” because its guttural “ka-ka-kow-kow-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp” seems to be…
Serpents are among the world’s most storied creatures. We are at once attracted to and repelled by them. Many view…
Mention magnolias and images of plantations and mint juleps come to mind. But here in Western North Carolina we have…
More than a few readers of this column collect books associated with the Smokies region. A friend who spends most…
Have you ever seen a mountain lion here in the Smokies region? I haven’t. In fact, the only one I’ve…
As part of this coming weekend’s third annual Horace Kephart Day, a group of 20 or so participants will visit…
This past Friday (April 15) I attended the dedication ceremony for the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the North Carolina…
Flowing water was the primary agent that sculpted the mountains as we know them today. Long before the first Europeans…
As I begin writing this it’s midnight, April 4-5, 2011. When insomnia strikes I always look for something to read.…
Systems of mature trees and shrubs are covered with blemishes that signal age: cankers, seams, burls, butt scars, sterile conks,…
From my window, as I write this, I can see across the creek and down into a pasture where my…
Editor’s note: This George Ellison column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News in March 2005. “Then Jonah prayed unto…
During the course of a recent interview for a literary magazine, I was asked: While in grad school at the…
Hiking a designated trail involves prescribed origins and destinations, whether it be a four-mile jaunt from Clingman’s Dome to Siler’s…
I spent some time last week reading about the 18th-century Indian wars in Western North Carolina. These were the Cherokee…
(Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series regarding the Cherokee Ghost Dance.) A recent column focused on…
Editor’s note: The second installment in George Ellison’s research into the Ghost Dance has been delayed due to the inability…
(Note: This is part one of a two-part series regarding the Cherokee Ghost Dance. Part two will present Michelene Ethe…
If you don’t like dogs, come back next week. Dogs have been an integral part of my life since I…
Are there boardinghouses still operating here in the Smokies region? There are, of course, hotels, inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and motels galore.…
Editor’s note: George Ellison is snowed in without an Internet connection. This column first appeared in The Smoky Mountain News…
Winter is the season for thinking about pines. For the ancient Orientals, pines signified dignity and vitality, especially in old…
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