Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 66

G True Adventure Lies 15 Minutes
Mary Ellen Hammond

Guest
Column

Beyond The Parking Lot

MARY ELLEN HAMMOND IS THE PUBLISHER OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
GUIDEBOOKS AT MILESTONE PRESS IN ALMOND, N.C. MILESTONE'S
NEW HIKING APP, "GREAT HIKES OF THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS," IS
AVAILABLE FOR IPHONE AND ANDROID.

Mary Ellen Hammond pauses on a hike in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness,
which is made up of about 17,000 acres in North Carolina and Tennessee.

I'M STANDING on a bridge at Deep
Creek, just inside Great Smoky
Mountains National Park, surrounded
by intensely green forest, watching
the clear, cold water rushing from its
source in the high mountains flow
smoothly beneath me. The sky is
bright Carolina blue; the wind rushes
through the trees. I haven't seen
another human being all morning on
my walk here.
This is the most visited national
park in the country, and even the Deep
66 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

Creek entrance, on what is known as
the "quiet side" of the Smokies, is
popular. On hot summer days the trail
can be crowded with tubers looking to
cool off in the frigid creek. So how is it
possible to come here and not see
another soul? The answer is simple. I
looked at a map, learned where the
waterfalls are, and discovered where
the trail loops around to make a day
hike I can manage in the time I have
available. I've left the trailhead - and
most of the crowds - behind.

The woods have become my own,
and this walk is a truly personal experience. I have a friend who calls this "the
15-minutes-beyond-the-parking-lot
rule." For her, 15 minutes has always
seemed to be the magic time and distance that allows her to have a true
adventure in a popular destination.
She discovered this as a young single
traveling abroad, and still finds it to be
true as she and her 8-year-old twin
boys explore the world near their
home in Washington D.C.
The first book we published at
Milestone Press was the Southeast's
first mountain bike trail guide. These
days we publish road biking, hiking,
and other guides as well, and the goal
they all have in common is to give
adventurers enough information to
have their own experience, even in a
place that might be a "tourist destination." More than 20 years have passed
since we published that first guidebook, but the 15-minute rule still
seems to apply: the average visitor
does not venture far beyond the parking lot, and you can completely transform your visit by pushing that edge
and walking or cycling a few minutes
farther.
So the next time you load your car
for a drive to a state park, national forest, or other public land, think beyond
the place where you'll park at the overlook. Put on your walking shoes and
day pack, pack your swimsuit and/or a
snack or picnic, get out a map, and
find a place where you can go 15 minutes beyond the parking lot. Then revel
in the solitude and the deep enjoyment of the natural world. 


http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Letters / You Said It
From the Editor
From the Farm
BRC Unlocked
Mountain Report
Creasture Feature
Great Buys in the Mountains
The Hike
Festivals and Events
Country Roads
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Little Zoos, Big Fun
Mountain Garden
Flavors
Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Letters / You Said It
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - BRC Unlocked
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Creasture Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Great Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Little Zoos, Big Fun
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover3
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