Reintroduce rudolph! (You may need your children to help you read this)
 

Reintroduce rudolph! (You may need your children to help you read this)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great wilderness of about a half-million square acres. It has been the…
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The day the sun stood still
 

The day the sun stood still

Ladies and gentlemen, return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. Spaceship Earth will be screeching to a stop at…
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Holiday gear guide to the rescue: SMN serves up goods bets for the outdoors person on your shopping list
 

Holiday gear guide to the rescue: SMN serves up goods bets for the outdoors person on your shopping list

For outdoors enthusiasts, Christmas brings but fleeting respite from the cold, dark days of winter — with the promise of…
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Over the fiscal cliff – and into the abyss
 

Over the fiscal cliff – and into the abyss

First Mate McConnell: “Cap’n the ship is headed straight for that iceberg and there’s no way we kin stop her…
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Scouting a Smokies Blueway Trail: Recreation abounds, but knowing where and how to tap it can be a mystery
 

Scouting a Smokies Blueway Trail: Recreation abounds, but knowing where and how to tap it can be a mystery

The mountains rising above the valleys have long been the main attraction for tourists planning a trip to Western North…
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Power birding at Tessentee (again)
 

Power birding at Tessentee (again)

Don’t know why, but the last two birding trips to Tessentee Bottomland Preserve in Macon County — one last Sunday…
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Sweet single-track coming to WCU
 

Sweet single-track coming to WCU

Outdoors enthusiasts and diehard mountain bikers are waiting in anticipation the winter opening of a seven-mile mountain biking and hiking…
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Build it and they will come
 

Build it and they will come

Back in spring of 2011 I wrote about a wetlands restoration project at Lake Junaluska - www.smokymountain news.com/archives/item/3686-a-perfect-fit. Candace Stimson,…
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Snow guns get ski season off with a bang
 

Snow guns get ski season off with a bang

As superstorm Sandy hurled itself toward the Northeast, soon to leave a wreckage of flooded streets, sunken boardwalks and dangling…
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Take only pictures, leave only footsteps: Outdoor photographers hone the craft of capturing the Smokies
 

Take only pictures, leave only footsteps: Outdoor photographers hone the craft of capturing the Smokies

They stood in a line, trigger fingers poised, eyes fixated on the target.  It was early morning, and the predawn…
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Venus and moon dance in front of the sun
 

Venus and moon dance in front of the sun

Early mornings kind of go with the territory around here. With work, kids and the never-ending list of chores, every…
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Cherokee hopes bounty will help rein in pesky coyote population
 

Cherokee hopes bounty will help rein in pesky coyote population

In Cherokee, a dead coyote is worth more than a live one — about $25 more. In the coming weeks,…
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Some things never get old
 

Some things never get old

Last Saturday (Nov. 3) was this year’s annual fall hike in the Waynesville watershed. The hikes started back in 2007,…
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This winter?
 

This winter?

Finch irruptions are not that uncommon. They generally occur in some numbers, in some locations almost every year. But in…
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The fading glory of Burley: Once a staple cash crop, only a handful of tobacco fields are still hanging on
 

The fading glory of Burley: Once a staple cash crop, only a handful of tobacco fields are still hanging on

This year, Bill Holbrook will start drawing on the “old man pension” — as this local tobacco farmer likes to…
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The sounds of silence
 

The sounds of silence

This morning when I had coffee on my deck, I did not hear the hooded warbler that nests in the…
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Bear alert: Forays against backpackers’ food prompts camping ban in the Pisgah Forest
 

Bear alert: Forays against backpackers’ food prompts camping ban in the Pisgah Forest

A series of close bear encounters in the Pisgah National Forest have prompted a temporary ban on overnight camping in…
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For you the bells toll
 

For you the bells toll

Waiting in the ubiquitous checkout line, I spied a National Geographic special publication, “50 of the World’s last great places…
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Camping’s golden era: Short on gadgets, but flush with style
 

Camping’s golden era: Short on gadgets, but flush with style

It was the golden age of camping. It was absent of Gore-Tex, Smart Wool, Nalgene water bottles or light-weight Titanium…
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A braver, newer world
 

A braver, newer world

Or at least a younger one anyway — one of the ranking members of the House’s Committee on Science, Space…
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Uncovering the past  before it’s too late: Old Smokies’ homesites slowly succumbing to time and elements
 

Uncovering the past before it’s too late: Old Smokies’ homesites slowly succumbing to time and elements

As Don Casada veered off-trail and began bushwhacking his way over fallen logs and through overgrown shrubs along the shore…
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What to bee-lieve
 

What to bee-lieve

Apparently what was apparent to many scientists and researchers back in 2008 is becoming more apparent — or not. Honeybee…
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Up-and-coming: Gorges State Park unveils new visitor center
 

Up-and-coming: Gorges State Park unveils new visitor center

Gorges State Park born just more than 10 years ago is now finally on its way to becoming one of…
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Birds and butterflies and flowers, oh my
 

Birds and butterflies and flowers, oh my

I had the pleasure of leading nine women from the Great Smoky Mountains Audubon Chapter on an outing along the…
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Galax takes a beating from blackmarket trade
 

Galax takes a beating from blackmarket trade

They operate in groups, or sometimes alone, packing duffle bags of the illicit product by foot through the Western North…
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A clear path
 

A clear path

Last Saturday, Sept. 15, was surely a gorgeous day to be ridge running high in the Plott Balsams — clear…
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Forest service ignites  firestorm over proposed burn
 

Forest service ignites firestorm over proposed burn

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a controlled burn in Panthertown Valley, a popular recreation area in Jackson County dissected…
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Last splash
 

Last splash

Everyone who woke up to 48 degrees Fahrenheit this morning knows that the days of “butts in the creek” are…
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When disaster hits, horses will still hold their own
 

When disaster hits, horses will still hold their own

Will it be a bomb, an oil shortage, energy grid damage or an electromagnetic pulse that renders America’s modern modes…
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It’s bird-tember!
 

It’s bird-tember!

Those quiet mornings are starting to set in. Yesterday, the only morning chorister in full song, in my yard was…
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High peaks offer the last vestige for vanishing cool-climate species
 

High peaks offer the last vestige for vanishing cool-climate species

The fight for survival is nothing new for high-elevation species in Southern Appalachia. After the glaciers receded at the end…
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A grand gorge
 

A grand gorge

Somewhere in the deep reaches of Sugar and/or Grandfather Mountains, seeps, rivulets and trickles begin to mingle and grow and…
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Setting the stage: Wave plus water equals ideal freestyle paddling venue
 

Setting the stage: Wave plus water equals ideal freestyle paddling venue

The steep-walled gorge of Nantahala River may be one of the best spots to host a world class, extreme kayak…
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It’s in the wind
 

It’s in the wind

I was outside with Maddie (6) the other afternoon and there was a gentle breeze. “Daddy, doesn’t it smell like…
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Wrangling bison: A delicate dance with 2,000 pounds and four hooves
 

Wrangling bison: A delicate dance with 2,000 pounds and four hooves

As the small, all-terrain vehicle drew near, the buffalo snorted and then lowered its massive head. It shuffled its feet,…
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Stoked for storks
 

Stoked for storks

As we started over the bridge on the Isle of Palms Connector, I noticed a line of large black and…
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AT celebrates 75 years
 

AT celebrates 75 years

As the legend goes, Earl Shaffer, the first man to hike the Appalachian Trail from end-to-end in 1948, used leather…
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Onward and upward
 

Onward and upward

Last week I wrote about the dark subterranean part of our little family adventure, which was a visit to Linville…
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Blue Ridge Breakaway breaks path for bike culture
 

Blue Ridge Breakaway breaks path for bike culture

By Paul Clark • Contributing writer Hundreds of bicyclists will soon be zipping along the scenic byways of Haywood County…
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From the darkness to the light – literally
 

From the darkness to the light – literally

Legend has it that curious fishermen watching trout seemingly disappear into Humpback Mountain back in 1822 discovered an entrance into…
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Bicycle touring light Overnight trips take the pressure off planning, purchasing
 

Bicycle touring light Overnight trips take the pressure off planning, purchasing

By Jack Moore • Contributor J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost,” and he may as well…
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Coping with gray treefrogs
 

Coping with gray treefrogs

The call of, “Come see! A frog!” is one oft repeated in the Hendershot household from spring through fall as…
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Marvelous moss: Mossin’ Annie worships the lush and lovely bryophytes
 

Marvelous moss: Mossin’ Annie worships the lush and lovely bryophytes

By Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Correspondent A rolling stone gathers no moss, so says the proverb, but it would if…
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Building a bridge of ideas and insight from the Smokies to Iceland
 

Building a bridge of ideas and insight from the Smokies to Iceland

By George Ivey • Contributing writer What in the world would bring together the Great Smoky Mountains and the country…
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Homeward bound
 

Homeward bound

After Jersey and the Big Apple (see last week’s Naturalist’s Corner — www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/7554-famous-nyc-offspring), it was time for a leisurely trip…
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Famous NYC offspring
 

Famous NYC offspring

New York City is big, bustling and in July – hot, but there are always entertaining and even educational ways…
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Franklin couple collaborate on outdoor books for children
 

Franklin couple collaborate on outdoor books for children

In 25 years of teaching kindergarten, Cathryn Sills of Franklin read a lot of books to her young students. In…
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Kudos, Gov. Perdue
 

Kudos, Gov. Perdue

News outlets began reporting Sunday night (July 1) that North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 820, which would…
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Paging Robin Pope: When no hospital’s in sight, treating medical emergencies takes quick wit and know-how
 

Paging Robin Pope: When no hospital’s in sight, treating medical emergencies takes quick wit and know-how

If you fall from a ledge rock-climbing, break a leg backpacking in the wilderness or twist your shoulder paddling a…
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Wielding a symbolic veto against fracking’s unknown downsides
 

Wielding a symbolic veto against fracking’s unknown downsides

  Gov. Perdue has to be weary. This weariness was apparent months ago when she declared she would not seek…
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