America, mile by mile: Cross-country trip reveals country’s beauty, diversity

Back when the trip was a new idea, I don’t think either of us took it seriously. Three weeks on the road, at a time when most American cars were sitting idle in the driveway? Thousands of miles of driving through sand and snow, mountain and desert, far from home? Surely this was just a pie-in-the-sky dream borne from the hunger pangs of quarantine, nothing more. 

Trailblazers & Traditionalists pulses with life

Years ago, in the parking lot of the Haywood County Public Library, I met a man in his late 20s who worked at the Champion Paper Mill. As we talked about what we did for a living — I was in debt to my eyeballs running a bed-and-breakfast and a bookstore — the man told me that when he was 18 his uncle had helped him buy a house in South Carolina and that he now owned 10 other houses, which he rented out. Fascinated by the history of the West, he made an annual trek every summer to places like Texas and the Dakotas to study first hand what he had read about in books. On his latest expedition he had traveled to the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana.

Through Spain, frame by frame: Camino de Santiago offers a long-distance walk steeped in history

The more you know about the Camino de Santiago, the harder it is to define. 

The simple explanation is that it’s a walking path that travels through Spain. But in reality that description is a mix of truth and fiction. 

One-way ticket to kid world

My car is usually something of a mess, a magnet for loose papers, empty food wrappers and an impressively random assortment of items packed for some excursion or another but never returned to their proper place. Such was the case the day of my first-ever outing as a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and so I judiciously set aside a few minutes before leaving to clear out the passenger seat — though mostly by tossing all the junk covering it into the back. 

Tribal transparency on shaky ground after media ban

Allegations made by a member of Cherokee Tribal Council against a Smoky Mountain News reporter have resulted in a ban on all non-Cherokee media from Tribal Council chambers. 

Hunting for kudzu

Even as I parked my car at the bottom of a steep and weedy hill that Friday morning, I wasn’t quite sure what I’d signed up for by electing to participate in Kudzu Camp. 

Grief and redemption in the wilds of Wyoming

I fled him down the nights and down the days;

I fled him down the arches of the years;

I fled him down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

— “Hounds of Heaven” by Francis Thompson

To try a tri: Race day is a whirlwind for a first-time triathlete

As I stood freezing on the dock above 67.3-degree Lake Logan, the main thought running through my head was a question: Why did I put myself up to this?

Wearing only a swimsuit, I was surrounded by a bunch of wetsuit-wearing athletes who were more intense than I would ever be, and here I was, set to swim, bike and run alongside them in the Lake Logan Sprint Triathlon. My stomach growled, either from hunger or nervousness — it was hard to tell — but either way it seemed an affirmation that I should have slept rather than waking up at 4:30 a.m. to come out here and embarrass myself.

Easter on the trail

out eastertrailThis Easter marked an important milestone for Jerry Parker, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker who completed the 2,160-mile trail before it was cool.

Fake it till you make it

out fakeit“So, are you here as a reporter or as a biker?” asked one of the 100-plus shorts-wearing, bike-bearing people converged on Tsali Trailhead last Friday.

Page 1 of 2
Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.