Don Hendershot

Bear cub in the Smokies


Spring means bear cubs in the Smokies. more

Dec 1, 2016 12:00 AM Outdoors

King of the forest

Creative Commons Photo

Klandagi, or “lord of the forest,” was the Cherokee name for cougar. The Cherokee revered the big cat; that and the owl were the only two animals to reach the seventh (highest) level of purity and sacredness. more

Aug 1, 2016 12:00 AM Outdoors 1 Comments


Creative Commons

Summer heat and humidity can drive anyone to extremes. In the mountains, finding reprieve can be as simple as an altitude adjustment. Mount Le Conte offers a peak experience—and cool temperatures—at its 6,593-foot summit. more

Jun 1, 2016 12:00 AM Outdoors

Clingmans secret tunnel

Deb Campbell

Hikers, outdoorsmen, photographers, and locals reveal their favorite treasures of “the back of beyond”—from secluded trails and fishing streams to quiet overlooks and picnic spots. more

Jun 1, 2016 12:00 AM , , Features


U.S. Fish & Wildlife photo

As the bare canopy of Eastern deciduous forests allows the sun to shine through and warm the fecund earth each spring, ephemerals push through the leaf litter toward the sun, and the grays and browns of the forest floor erupt in color. more

Apr 1, 2016 12:00 AM Outdoors

It’s a beautiful late winter day and the hills are alive with the sound of, well—hoarse ducks? If your late winter sojourns take you into wet areas, keep your ears open for the croaking or “quacking” of wood frogs, Rana sylvatica. more

Feb 1, 2016 12:00 AM Outdoors


U.S. Geological Survey/Photo by Dennis Demcheck

Owls have had plenty of time to get under our skin; fossil records date back 60 million years and Paleolithic era drawings of owls on cave walls in France represent some of the earliest recognizable avian drawings in the world. more

Dec 1, 2015 12:00 AM Outdoors

Witch Hazel

Betty Shelton •

Picture that perfect fall afternoon hike: The sun warms the air from high overhead in an endless Carolina-blue November sky; the creek next to the trail murmurs softly. more

Oct 1, 2015 12:00 AM Outdoors

Like a hawk

Manjith Kainickara photo

Each September, the skies over Southern Appalachia set the stage for one of nature’s most beautiful and spectacular dances—the migration of the raptors. more

Jul 30, 2015 12:00 AM Outdoors

Blooming rhododendrons

Keith Callahan photo

This time of year, the outlook is bright in the mountains. After all, about a dozen Rhododendron species flower throughout the Smokies, painting our higher elevations in shades of pink, purple, scarlet, and white. more

Jun 1, 2015 12:00 AM Outdoors

Bugle boy

Holly Kays photo

Do I stay or do I go? And if I stay, do I just sleep through it all? The Southern Appalachians are home to a large and diverse fauna, and as winter sets in, that fauna gets to work surviving. more

Nov 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features

Grassy Ridge Bald at Roan Mountain

Brian Stansberry/Creative Commons

The Southern Appalachians are a paragon of biological diversity. The Appalachians are the country’s most significant biodiversity hotspot east of the Rockies, and the Central and Southern Appalachians are unrivaled in the U.S. for aquatic diversity. more

Aug 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features

ruby throated hummingbird

Donated photo

Many old-timers envision a place with friends just down the road ready to lend a cup of sugar or watch the kids for a few hours. But the concept of a true neighborhood is much more complex than imagery of groomed lawns and white picket fences. more

Feb 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features

Cherokee fish weir

Becky Johnson photo

Paddlers, fishermen, or those who have enjoyed a cool swimming hole, have probably seen a fish weir—though they may not have recognized it. Fish weirs are structures built within a stream or river that are designed to route and ultimately trap fish. more

Aug 1, 2013 12:00 AM Features

Drawing flies all year

Jeff Kennedy illustration

Fish tales have been recorded since at least 200 A.D. when the Roman author Claudius Aelianus penned On the Nature of Animals. Aelianus describes what he calls the Macedonian way of catching fish. It is, perhaps, the first account of fly-fishing. more

Feb 1, 2013 12:00 AM Features

It’s June, spring migration has passed us by and some jaded birders are putting away their binoculars and field guides, getting out their fly rods and golf clubs, content to wait until September. more

Jun 1, 2012 12:00 AM Outdoors

White Oak Flats Branch

Don McGowan photo

What is a temperate rainforest? The short answer is that it’s a forest that’s wet with mild temperatures. The not-so-short-answer is that in the Southern Appalachians it’s complicated. more

Apr 1, 2012 12:00 AM Features

Growing chestnuts

Donated photo

The Smokies are renown for their biological diversity and scenic beauty. But a short drive along either of two scenic byways—The Blue Ridge Parkway or the Cherohala Skyway—provides a window on forests under attack from invasive exotics. more

Feb 1, 2012 12:00 AM Features

Looking foxy

Margaret Hester photo

There’s a host of furry, feathery, slinky, slimy, big and tiny creatures making their homes across the mountains and with which we share the landscape. Some homes are but temporary. more

Dec 1, 2011 12:00 AM Features

Couples are said to coo to one another or be lovely dovey, but have you ever wondered where amorous avian references come from? Doves have been symbols of deep and abiding love since there have been symbols. more

Feb 1, 2011 12:00 AM Outdoors

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