Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mountain Hardwear Women's Ghost Whisperer Hoody

At less than eight ounces, this technical down jacket has an incredible warmth to weight ratio with Mountain Hardwear's QSheild Down and ultra lightweight fabrics. QShield Down resists moisture and retains loft for consistent, dependable warmth.

Mountain Hardwear Hoodless Monkey Man Grid Jacket

An excellent layering piece or cool-weather stand-alone, the Mountain Hardwear Hoodless Monkey Man Grid Jacket offers excellent comfort and range of motion. I actually have this jacket and I really love it , very warm on a nice fall hike here in the Great Smoky Mountains .

Mountain Hardwear Women's Thermostatic Jacket

Layer on warmth with the Thermostatic Jacket's lightweight Thermal Q Elite Synthetic insulation. Warmth without the weight, it's low-profile, lightweight design makes it perfect for wearing under a shell or as a stand-alone jacket.

Fall color season launched in NC State Parks & Blue Ridge Parkway

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Fall color season launched in NC State Parks & Blue Ridge Parkway:

Fall color season launched in NC State Parks & Blue Ridge Parkway

Abundant summer rainfall and cool September nights have already launched the fall foliage season in high elevations of western North Carolina state parks. For the first time, travelers can keep track of peak color as it makes its way across the state through park ranger reports available online at, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Regular updates will keep visitors posted on how fall color is progressing through the different types of forests in North Carolina, from the brilliant red of mountain sourwood to the rust-colored cedar in eastern wetlands. The fall season in the state truly lasts from late September into December.

“State parks, with their convenient access and miles of hiking trails, are natural destinations for people who want to get up close and personal with fall color. And, the 42 state park units present the fall foliage experience in every corner of the state,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director.

Western state parks will immediately join a list of sites reporting peak color to the N.C. Division of Tourism, which prominently features a fall foliage travel section on As the season progresses, rangers in other regions of the state will submit similar reports.

Here are a few of the most popular state parks for enjoying fall color include:

* Stone Mountain State Park in Wilkes and Alleghany counties, where fall color is peaking just as leaves begin to fall in the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park offers more than 18 miles of hiking trails.

* Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County, named in 2012 as one of the 10 best spots for viewing fall color in the South by Southern Living magazine. The park offers trails across nine named peaks.

* Raven Rock State Park in Harnett County, where beech groves and hardwood forests mix with eastern evergreens. The park offers surprisingly challenging terrain in the piedmont.

* Merchants Millpond State Park in Gates County, where swamp cedars and stands of hardwood alternate color palettes. Canoes can be rented for waterborne leaf watching.

Travelers and leaf peepers in the western part of the state may also want to note a new fall color tracking tool for the Blue Ridge Parkway. The folks at Blue Ridge Parkway Daily are providing a unique color-coded map of the BRP which shows the progress of fall colors along the entire route. Here's what the latest update looks like, but to check out updates as the fall season progresses, you should click here:


Appalachian Impressions

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Appalachian Impressions:

Appalachian Impressions

Throughout the month of October the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will be showcasing the film Appalachian Impressions in 15 cities nationwide, as part of their 2013 membership drive, called A Journey of 2,000 Miles: the Appalachian Trail. The organization has set a goal to gain the support of 2,180 new members, one new member for each mile of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).

Appalachian Impressions is an epic story about hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. The program takes viewers on a six-month, 2,180-mile journey along the famous long-distance hiking trail in the world. Participants will hear the stories from hikers who have embarked on this trek and experience the thrills and challenges of daily life on the Trail. The film covers all fourteen states, the changing of the seasons, footwear, food, shelters, volunteer trail crews, and Leave No Trace Ethics. It captures the true essence of this historic pathway, its interesting characters, beautiful scenery and the generous spirit found in small town America.

Each city will feature several guest speakers including authors, volunteers, key members of the A.T. community, and 2,000-milers (those who have hiked the entire A.T.). Some guest speakers include Richard Judy, thru-hiker and author of THRU – A Love Story; Susan Letcher, 2,000-miler and author of The Barefoot Sisters: Southbound; Captain Sean Gobin, co-founder of Warrior Hike & the Walk off the War Program; Michelle Pugh, thru-hiker and author of Love at First Hike: A Memoir about Love & Triumph on the Appalachian Trail; and Ron Tipton executive director/CEO of the ATC.

Included on the tour is Cincinnati, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Hot Springs and Franklin NC, and Erwin, TN, among other towns along the east coast.

Show participants will receive a one-year membership to the ATC. They will also have the chance to win cool prizes such as an ATC ENOTM Hammock and a Gregory Backpack.

For more information, as well as a full list of dates, locations and times, please click here.

Here's the trailer from the film:

Hiking in the Smokies

How to Pack a Backpack