Tennessee State Parks offer free hiking on Black Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving is generally known as a day to shop. But in an effort to encourage residents to #optoutside, Tennessee state parks are offering free guided hikes on Black Friday. Angelo Giansante, Park Manager at Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park, told WRCBtv that the hikes cover, “everything to inspire you to get outdoors more. We’re going to cover things such as water safety, we’re going to talk about animals, the ecosystem.”

A total of 56 Tennessee state parks will offer guided hikes. The difficulty of each hike varies. For a full list of after-Thanksgiving hikes, click here

Cold Mountain Fire still burns, trails reopened

A wildfire that broke out on the summit of Cold Mountain on November 21 is still burning, officials say, but most of the trails in the Shining Rock Wilderness area have reopened. Trail openings include the Art Loeb trail but exclude the area east of Deep Gap, including the Cold Mountain Summit Trail. 

The size of the Cold Mountain fire remains stable at 220 acres and is not expected to grow. About 20 firefighters remain on site to make sure the fire does not impact nearby communities. The case of the fire is still unknown. 

Swannanoa, NC man to run 100 miles in all 50 states

Pete Ripmaster of Swannanoa, NC is no stranger to fetes of endurance. Just last year he won the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational, a race requiring participants to bike, run or ski the historic Iditarod Trail. But Ripmaster announced recently that he’s just getting started and has set a new goal to run a 100-mile run in all 50 states.

Ripmaster’s newest endeavor has never been accomplished before. “It kind of scares me sometimes when I think about it,” he told News 13 WLOS. Ripmaster believes it will take him ten years to check off all 50 states, though he’s already got six under his belt. “I did the Leadville 100, I did the Bighorm 100, I did the Tahoe 200, I did the Arrowhead 135, obviously the one in North Carolina, the Umstead,” Ripmaster told News 13. He heads to Texas next where he’ll tackle Rocky Raccoon 100.