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outdoors

Describing the weather in the Great Smoky Mountains as unpredictable is not engaging in hyperbole. Most any time of year, weather shifts in the Smokies can be sudden and dramatic. more

Mountain Explorer

Birding in the Great Smoky Mountains

Mike Blevins photo

I was a real hotshot (in my own mind!) when I started birdwatching over 30 years ago. I took vacations to look at birds; pointed out species ad nauseam to friends and family; and became laser focused on my life list count. more

Mountain Explorer

Willkommen

Dan Jackson photo

We sit by the Chattahoochee River and take in the scene. After the Chattahoochee is done meandering through Georgia, it is a slow southern river, broad, but here, it is nimble, bright and clear. more

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Jim Parham says he is like many people when it comes to finding and appreciating the variety of flowers that can be seen on hikes or simple strolls in the North Carolina mountains. more

Mountain Explorer

Spring Gobbler Hunting

Bruce Ingram photo

Every year on the first weekend in April, my wife Elaine and I drive to the Johnson City area, stop by Mahoney’s Outfitters to pick up a hunting license, and then head for a rental house on the side of an East Tennessee mountain. more

Features

When most people think of shorebirds they think of, well, shores and sleek fast flying wind birds that migrate in flocks and forage in groups. The mostly solitary, chunky, forest dwelling woodcock doesn’t seem to fit. more

Mountain Explorer

Mountaineers have long been known for their ingenuity and independent spirit, traits that live on today among the entrepreneurs and artisans profiled in Smoky Mountain Living’s Made in the Smokies feature. more

Features

A Fly Fishing Lesson

Jon Ostendorff photo

More than 1 million visitors a year pass through the hallowed halls of the Biltmore House, a show-stopper of colossal proportions, draped in brilliant architecture, laced with captivating history and adorned with lavish antiquities. more

Mountain Explorer

The Smokies are known for their spring ephemerals. Hundreds of species of wildflowers, like bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, trilliums and more impatiently claw their way through the brown leaf litter under the sparse spring canopy. more

Mountain Explorer

A Fly Fishing Lesson

Jon Ostendorff photo

A few weeks earlier, learning to fly fish seemed like a great idea on the eve of turning 40. Something new and adventurous, something novel and romantic. But now I’m doubtful. My vision of whipping S-curves through the air suddenly seems far-fetched. more

Mountain Explorer

Indigo bunting

Holly Kays photo

It was only 8 a.m. when I parked my car in a dewy meadow near Franklin, North Carolina, but the bird banding crew I was meeting had already been at work for hours. more

Mountain Explorer

Lost in the Blue Ridge Triangle

Holly Kays

Like its mysterious cousin the Bermuda Triangle, the Blue Ridge Triangle — apparently — causes inexplicable disorientation for hikers attempting to traverse its domain in North Carolina’s Middle Prong Wilderness. more

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Louisiana waterthrush

Don Hendershot

The Louisiana waterthrush is one of — if not the — first wood warblers to return to nesting grounds in the Southern Appalachians. If you hear his song streamside, it’s worth your effort to seek the little songster out and watch him. more

Mountain Explorer

Picture-perfect Alum Cave Trail, marked by smooth tread and tightly constructed steps and bridges, is the result of two years of backbreaking work involving 50,000 hours of work from a continuously rotating crew of 50 people. more

Mountain Explorer

The book features 42 trail networks and 1,200 miles of mountain bike trails, including full-color maps and photos, route details and trail descriptions. more

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No Taste Like Home

Mike Belleme

What do an overgrown field, a weed-infested city lot, a wilderness hollow, a suburban backyard, and a shady woodlot all have in common? Well, if you’re Alan Muskat, the answer is simple – food for the taking. more

Mountain Explorer

Tsali Recreation Area

Max Cooper photo

I pulled into my parking spot at Tsali Recreation Area with a fair number of nerves in tow. The lot churned with vehicles bearing out-of-state plates, their owners tuning up the bikes they’d brought with them or filling small backpacks. more

Mountain Explorer

Fabulous Franklin, N.C.

Margaret Hester photo

Tucked away in a forgotten corner of Western North Carolina, not far from the Georgia line, lies an old town that’s rapidly developing a new spirit. more

Outposts

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Kathy Kyle photo

A map and a pair of hiking shoes changed my life. My older sister bought me my first hiking boots when I was fresh out of college, adventurous and fortunate to have a job that gave me independence. more

Mountain Explorer

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Mandy Newham-Cobb illustration

Long before country singer Brad Paisley made checking for ticks an act of seduction, many of us grew up with a much more imminent threat to our outdoor adventures—a threat that was far less obvious and identifiable until it was too late. more

Good Reads