Many people believe that with the approach of autumn comes the best time of year for hiking. Leaves will soon be off the trees and views into the valleys will become more expansive. Cooler temperatures will soon have dissipated the humidity, allowing you to enjoy the far-reaching vistas that were unobtainable during summer’s hazy atmosphere.…

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A few weeks ago I wrote about actions you could take that might make your outings a little less buggy. Note the key words are a “little less” buggy; no matter what actions you take, there are going to be times when you’re going to resort to a repellent of some kind or another. Several…

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Approaching it from the east on I-64, House Mountain outside of Lexington, Virginia, stands alone, rising abruptly from lowland valleys. As travelers continue westward, the mountain takes on a different look, with two distinct summits, each towering above the U-shaped saddle that separates them. A campaign in the late 1980s by volunteer members of the…

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A couple of months ago I wrote about a short hike in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in southwestern North Carolina. The area has so many good places to visit that I want to make sure you know about few more. A Soaring Observation Deck From the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest parking area, drive back…

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Bumps. Welts. Red splotches. Itchy spots. If this is your body after an outdoor outing, you need help. No matter what you do, you can’t completely eliminate the creeping, crawling, flying pests. However, the following tips will at least decrease the number of offenses you suffer and the amount of liquid refreshment you donate to…

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With six state parks—Douthat, Fairy Stone, Hungry Mother, Seashore (now called First Landing) Staunton River, and Westmoreland—officially opening on June 15, 1936, Virginia became America’s first state to dedicate an entire state park system in one day. The “boys” of the Civilian Conservation Corps, who had been doing so for a number of months, continued…

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There is no doubt that Trail Days in Damascus is a fun time, but if you’re really interested in learning just about everything there is to know about the Appalachian Trail (and doing a lot of hiking while learning), travel to Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia, for the 38th biennial meeting of the…

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In my last post, I described how a visit to North Carolina’s Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest changed my thoughts about the poet’s poem “Trees” and influenced how I looked at forests in general. Here’s the description of the hike I promised you. I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a…

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I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree. OK. I admit it. When I had to memorize this poem in grade school I thought, “Oh puh…lease. What is this weepy woman going on about in this sappy poem?” I learned the poem, took the test, and promptly forgot about…

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In my last post, I suggested you “Go South” to Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp if the temperature in the mountains was so cold that it was keeping you from venturing outdoors. If that is still the case, this time around I say, “Go East.” Specifically, go east to Virginia’s Northern Neck where the Tidewater area’s gentle…

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