Bottles are So Yesterday

Asheville Brewing Company has started releasing cans of their two most popular beers, the Shiva IPA and Rocket Girl Lager, becoming the latest craft brewery to embrace aluminum packaging. Cans are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce than bottles, but most craft brewers have traditionally eschewed this more plebeian container, opting for bottles instead.

“There was a stigma about cans for a long time, that only cheap beer was canned,” says Doug Riley, head brewer and co-owner of Asheville Brewing Company. “Everyone seems to be getting over that now.”

Adventure-minded beer drinkers are benefiting from this new trend, as more craft brewers are offering at least a limited selection of their tasty brews in cans, which are obviously more backcountry friendly than bottles. In our region, Charlottesville brewery Star Hill offers the Festie and Northern Lights in a can, and Blue Mountain Brewery distributes their popular Full Nelson in a can.

Best. State Park. Ever.

Hickory Nut Gorge State Park has released its master plan, a long-term vision for the park that sits on the edge of Lake Lure, 30 minutes east of Asheville, N.C. The park is most famous for Chimney Rock, a distinctive rock outcropping and massive cliff band that was operated as a privately owned tourist attraction before being purchased by North Carolina in 2005. Today, the 4,531-acre state park not only includes Chimney Rock, but the popular climbing destination of Rumbling Bald and thousands of acres of backcountry. The master plan includes the creation of new day access areas at Rumbling Bald along with new hiking trails around the cliffs and boulders, a new 15-mile backpacking trail that circumnavigates the park, and at least 10 miles of purpose-built singletrack for mountain bikers.

Must Do Adventures

See Royalty Check out the best boulderers in the country as they try to out-send each other at the Triple Crown Bouldering Series (Hound Ears, Boone, N.C., Oct. 1; Stone Fort, Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct. 8; Horse Pens 40, Steele, Ala. Nov. 5).

Last Chance CampingOur national parks shut down most campgrounds in November. This is your last opportunity in 2011 to pitch a tent in classic grounds like Big Meadows, Shenandoah.

Russell Running Flannagan Dam is releasing into Russell Fork four weekends this month. It’s arguably the wildest dam-released creek in Virginia. You game? kentuckywhitewater.com

By the Numbers

$13,000
Amount Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park is committing to backcountry trail repairs this fall, including the creation of the new Big Hollow Trail.

6 Miles
Estimated distance of the Big Hollow Trail, one of the first pieces of singletrack built in a national park unit with mountain bikers in mind.

Money for Marines
Eighteen active duty marines have begun thru-hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail in teams of two, hoping to knock off 22 miles a day in order to raise funds for the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail and the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to wounded Marines.

“We’re trying to give a little back to the state of North Carolina,” says Jeremiah Johnson, an infantry instructor at Camp Lejeune and the organizer of the mass hike. “This state is so appreciative of its military, we want to show our appreciation in return.” semperfifund.org