Mount Mitchell Challenge

Mitchell with a crown of clouds

Mitchell with a crown of clouds

In a matter of weeks, the annual Black Mountain Marathon and Mount Mitchell Challenge participants will come together to face a grueling journey at 7 a.m. on Saturday, February 22.  The Challengers will ascend 40 miles to the highest peak in the East – elevation 6,684 – and retrace the path back to the start/finish area.  Marathoners will run up to the Black Mountain Gap overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and retrace the route to finish.

The Mt. Mitchell Challenge is both historical and arduous.  The race was founded in 1998 by Wendell Begley (of Black Mountain Savings) and Trent Thomas (from Black Dome Mountain Sports).  They saw the need for a race designed to confront the challenges of nature with test of physical proportions, yet possible.  Race terrain is not only steep, but mother nature offers challenges that could include ice, snow, rain, cold, and wildlife. Runner safety is of paramount concern to race coordinators who work with Black Mountain Fire and Rescue and many other skilled members from surrounding counties.

h20 bottleBest to all of this years participants, and stop by Take A Hike for last minute needs!

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Holly Jolly

ChristmasHolly Jolly is a wonderful tradition in Black Mountain.  It is an event sponsored by Black Mountain Business to Business.  The streets are lit with luminaries, stores are open late offering refreshments to patrons in the spirit of community and the Christmas season. It’s happening TONIGHT from 5-9 p.m., so come out for a wonderful evening full of holiday festivity, reconnecting with old friends, and holiday shopping. There’s rumor that Santa and his elves are making an appearance, so be sure to find the jolly man himself on this amazingly warm December evening!

Beer City USA

The Ale House Black Mountain, NC

Asheville was voted Beer City USA in 2010, and came in 3rd place this year, respectively. The city and surrounding area has continued the momentum since 2010 with local breweries springing up all across the city. New Belgium Brewing out of Fort Collins, CO will be established here in Asheville by winter 2015. To sample the top breweries in Asheville you can jump on a Brews Cruise downtown to hop from bar to bar via shuttle.

Locally here in Black Mountain, I enjoy the atmosphere, food, and great selection of local micro brews at The Alehouse. I sat amongst friends the other night and we greatly enjoyed the atmosphere, brew, wings, buffalo chips, and hummus plate.  Everything we ordered was exceptionally good, and the service was fantastic.  The live music offered filled the room but did not crowd out the chatter amongst friends.  If you get a chance, you won’t regret supporting local business by stopping by the Alehouse for a micro brew and delightful food!

Lookout Hike and Bee Warning

My daughter and I went to hike Lookout in Montreat yesterday and met a follow who had just been stung 8 times by yellow-jackets.  They are about 150 – 200 yards up the trail from the parking lot on the right side.  A plastic water bottle has been placed there to mark the spot.  I wouldn’t assume the bottle to still be there so take caution.

We turned around and went up the Rainbow trail.  Longer than I remember but had a wonderful time.

lookoutGreybeard Mountain is left center and the one in the background is Mount Mitchel.  A typical late Summer hot day with some great clouds.

Summer Begins Drawing to a Close

You know Fall is just around the corner in Black Mountain with the passing of the Sourwood Festival. The 34th iteration of the annual festival was from August 13th to 14th, during which festival organizers estimated 30,000 people would descend on our small town. The busy weekend filled with crafts and great food is a Black Mountain tradition that closes off large sections of the town to car traffic. Nobody minds, as there is usually plenty of sunshine, sights, and smells to take in.

But Sourwood is over and so, soon, will summer. Black Mountain summers are the envy of most people in the Southeast, but for residents and visitors, it is only a warm-up (no pun intended) for the real show, Fall. People come from all over the country and even the world to experience the cavalcade of color. The varieties of trees offer up all kinds of shades and variations of the traditional fall colors. While our mountains normally serve as the prime viewing treat, during the Fall they serve as an accent for the star of the show, the leaves. Black Mountain is privileged to watch the show happen daily all around town as Fall sneaks up and whirls by in a swirl of crisp air, crunching leaves, and events like the Lake Eden Arts Festival. As you enjoy the last portions of the hot summer and the more and more frequent reprieves from the heat, start getting ready to take full advantage of the change in seasons. Keep your eye open for the first signs of color change at the top of the mountains. It runs down those mountains like gold.

Campfire Gourmet

August and September provide some premium camping weather for residents and visitors. The warm days and cool nights are a perfect setting for mountain hikes and evenings spent around the campfire with friends. While long backpacking trips with minimal contact with civilization are wonderful escapes, they are often unattainable in a busy world. Because of this, many people camp at campgrounds or just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Car camping is a great opportunity to get outside with your kids, enjoy the outdoors, and also bring along a few luxuries that you wouldn’t be able to carry on your back.

One of them is a food: eggs. Fresh eggs are difficult to carry along on the trail, unless you are extremely adept at packing and are very sure of your ability to stay on two feet at all times. Car camping makes a fresh egg breakfast over a campfire pot or camp stove a possibility. If you want to wake up one cool morning in the mountains and have your egg breakfast to go with it (without so much mess), check out this recipe:

Omlets In A Bag

You’ll need (for one 3-egg omlet):

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 sausage links
  • Cheese
  • Optional salsa
  • A pot to boil water (either by campfire or camp stove)
  • A sealable plastic bag

Instructions:

Get your water boiling. While you do that, crack the three eggs into your plastic bag. Go ahead and add your sausage (chopped up), your cheese, and your salsa, if you chose. As you seal the bag, make sure you get out all of the air. Once the water is boiling, toss your bag in the pot. It should take around 15 minutes for the eggs to cook, but you can check to see what consistency you’d like your eggs done at. When the omlet is done like you’d like, you can empty the contents onto a plate or eat out of the bag to save on dishes. Remember to properly dispose of that bag, though. There’s bears out there… and other people who don’t want to find your leftovers!

Hard to beat an omlet on a cool morning in the mountains. Add some fresh coffee, and you’ve got yourself the recipe for the perfect beginning to a day.

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-recipe obtained from scoutorama.com
-all photos are from romanticasheville.com, a great source of information on local things to do, hikes included, both romantic and maybe just for fun