Tag: wildlife

4 Destinations Every Hiker Should Visit

Hiking and the great outdoors is a major passion of mine. And while I typically tend to stick to North Carolina’s great outdoors, I am always open to other areas of interest. So, in the spirit of all things backpacking and hiking related, here are four destinations around the country that are sure to make any first time hiker get hooked.

Adirondack Mountains, New York

Typically whenever New York is mentioned, people assume the city is all that New York offers. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the United States’ 27th largest state, with over 54,000 square miles, New York has a wealth of gorgeous wilderness to explore. Located only four hours from New York City, the Adirondack Mountains features some of the state’s most gorgeous views and mountain ranges. Featuring a 6-million acre forest and hundreds of mountains (46 of which are taller than 4,000 feet), the Adirondack Mountains are sure to entice any and all hikers.

Mt. Hood, Oregon

This glorious mountain is only 50 miles away from Portland. The best way to experience the stratovolcano is to hike its 40-mile Timberline Trail. The trail winds up and down through Hood’s gorgeous alpine meadows. But if simply hiking around the mountain isn’t good enough, rest assured that you can climb to Hood’s peak. The 6.8 mile Hogsback Route allows hikers, both novices and experts alike, to climb to the mountain’s 11,000+ peak. There are a multitude of methods to enjoy this natural beauty, so choose the one that suits you and enjoy.

Roan Mountain, Tennessee/North Carolina

More of a series of five peaks and less of an actual mountain, Roan Mountain still has plenty to offer for hikers. Enjoy its many woods, rhododendron gardens and its grassy balds. The choice is yours. Roan Mountain is also home to some gorgeous wildlife, including wild horses.

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Exotic wildlife, historic forests and breathtaking meadows await anyone who visits this national park. Even with all of that, Rainier’s most prized possession has to be its 14,410-foot volcano. If you’re looking for something specific to do, as opposed to wandering aimlessly through its wildflower meadows, try hiking through the Sunrise Rim Trail. The 5.2-mile trail grants visitors amazing views of the North Cascades, the Tatoosh Range and Mt. Tahoma. Still not satisfied? Then opt for the somewhat longer 17-mile Mother Mountain loop. Either way you go, you are sure to fall in love with the park, ensuring multiple visits for years to come.

The United States is littered with thousands of breathtaking views, from thousands of parks, ranges and mountains. This is only a small taste of what this beautiful country has to offer. For a larger list of locations that are sure to whet your wilderness appetite, be sure to check out Backpacker.com. Hopefully this small list gives you an idea of where to go.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden

Jonathan Farber PhDThe North Carolina Botanical Garden is a hidden gem located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and operated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The core mission statement of the Botanical Garden is: “To inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature,” (Ncbg.unc.edu). For over 40 years, the North Carolina Botanical Garden has been a leading education center and plant conservation in the southeast, committed to serving the public.

The University of North Carolina’s first botany professor, William Chambers Coker is one of the main founders of the Botanical Garden. In 1903, Coker taught his students outdoors by showing them various plants and trees located on campus. In the mid 1920’s, Coker and one of his most passionate students, Henry Roland Totten, came up with the idea to create a larger, complete garden area just south of the main campus. Later, in 1952, Trustees of the University dedicated 70 acres for development of the garden, with another 103 acres donated shortly after.

William Lanier Hunt, a former student of both Coker and Totten not only donated those 103 acres for the Garden, but he also helped establish the Garden’s membership support organization, now known as the Botanical Garden Foundation. In April of 1966, the Garden had its first public opening, offering Nature Trails throughout the Garden for all to enjoy.

Jonathan Farber PhDOver the years, the Garden has acquired major establishments, including the Coker Arboretum, the Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Battle Park, and the University of North Carolina Herbarium. The lands have expanded to over 700 acres and is now a nationally recognized conservation that offers a wide array of programs for those interested to participate in. Some of these programs include: conservation programs, horticultural therapy, botanical illustration, native plant studies, and educational collections.

In addition, the North Carolina Botanical Garden is a vital resource for experts studying wildflowers and native plants of North Carolina. Its Center for Plant Conservation is one of just 36 institutions throughout the United States to hold a National Collection of Endangered Species. The Garden is also a pioneer of various plant rescue techniques and was the first garden in North America to establish an exotic pest plant policy.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden is undoubtedly a beautiful resource that North Carolina is proud to own. For more information about the garden, please visit their website here.