Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 10

THE HIKE

Trails of Beech Mountain
The North Carolina development
-highest town east of the
Mississippi-has about 30 miles
of trails.
Text and photos by Leonard Adkins

I had been hiking the Upper Pond Creek Trail i n B e e c h
Mountain for less than 15 minutes and already I had
seen two crawling crawfish, a trout gliding effortlessly
through the water, a pair of grazing deer, a flittering
hummingbird, a small bear and a big green frog!
OK, so I guess I should 'fess up. Yes, I really did see
all of those creatures in that short amount of time...
except maybe for those last two. They were, well, more
in a minute...
Beech Mountain was developed as a ski resort in
the 1960s, but the corporation went bankrupt in the
1970s and the facility went through a number of owners before the present one. Living at an elevation of
5,500 feet, the 300-350 full-time residents formed the
town of Beech Mountain in 1981, becoming the highest incorporated community east of the Rocky
Mountains.
Long-time resident, former mayor and owner of
Fred's General Mercantile Fred Pfohl says work on area
trails began decades ago.

Also at Beech Mountain
Skiing, of course. As the highest
ski resort in the eastern United
States, Beech Mountain Resort
(beechmountainresort.com)
usually has one of the south's
longest skiing seasons. Seven
lifts, 16 trails, and more than 90
acres of skiable terrain translate
into short wait lines and lots of
room to maneuver.
The Emerald Outback
(beechrecreation.org/emeraldoutback-trails) is an eight-mile
system of mountain biking
trails that is also open to hikers.
At 5,400 feet in elevation, the
single and double tracks, along

10 BlueRidgeCountry.com

with sections of gravel roads,
provide spectacular 50-mile
views, harsh weather-stunted
beech trees and, for mountain
bikers, an abundance of rock
gardens and jumps, berms and
water crossings. You can access
the trails via Beech Mountain's
ski lift during the warmer
months or drive to some of trailheads at any time of year. Craig
Distl, public relations representative for Beech Mountain, proclaims: "From the trails, you can
see Beech Mountain, Sugar
Mountain, Table Rock,
Hawksbill, and most of the
Black Mountains, including

"I
started
working
on the
hiking
The Falls Trail (both images), is a one-mile loop that
trails in
features a rock-walk section and a 20-foot waterfall.
1972,"
he says, "reworking bridges while employed by the
Carolina Caribbean Corporation, the original developer of Beech. Liking to hike and explore the mountain, I and others started developing a trail system
[now with more than 30 miles of pathways], which
utilized old logging roads and logging railroad grades
from late in 1929-1930. We also used outfall lines for
trails and have built trails from scratch."
It was because of Pfohl's recommendation that I
was on the trail that follows an old railroad grade as
it parallels its namesake stream downhill. During the
town's development, several homes were constructed
close to the creek and the owners began sprucing up

Mount Mitchell, the highest
peak east of the Mississippi."
From May to October, the
Beech Mountain Parks and
Recreation Department
(beechrecreation.org/trailsand-parks/guided-hikes) offers
free family-friendly guided
hikes on a variety of the town's
trails that focus not only on the
hiking, but also the natural and
human history of the area.
Fred's General Mercantile
(fredsgeneral.com) is truly the
one-stop shop in Beech
Mountain. Opened by Fred
Pfohl in 1979, it is crammed full
of groceries (including home-

made breads and jams); clothing and outdoor apparel and
gear; hardware items; gift ideas;
video rentals; newspapers,
books and magazines; birding
supplies; ski and snowboard
rentals; and a deli that serves
breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Looking for overnight
accommodations? Fred's can
even rent you a loft apartment.
The only thing that I felt was
missing that would make this a
true general store of yesteryear
were several older, longbearded guys sitting around a
pot-bellied stove playing a
game of checkers.


http://www.beechmountainresort.com http://www.beechrecreation.org/trails-and-parks/guided-hikes http://www.beechrecreation.org/trails-and-parks/guided-hikes http://www.beechrecreation.org/emerald-outback-trails http://www.fredsgeneral.com http://www.beechrecreation.org/emerald-outback-trails http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015

The Family Farm is Alive and Well in the Virginia Mountains
7 States of Mountain Treks, Complete with a Beer or Wine Stop
The Photo Essay: Autumn Beauty
Wendell Scott Gets His Due
Weekend: Where the North Carolina and Tennessee Mountains Rub Shoulders
Chillin’ in Chattanooga
Charlottesville to Charleston aboard Amtrak
Great Tastes of the West Virginia Panhandle
Cavender Cabins: Enjoy the North Georgia Woods
From the Editor
Letters / Worth a Click
Mill Creek Stories
The Hike
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Country Roads
Festivals & Events
Singing in the Garden
Guest Column: Liz Belcher
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - B1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - B2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Letters / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - The Family Farm is Alive and Well in the Virginia Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 7 States of Mountain Treks, Complete with a Beer or Wine Stop
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - The Photo Essay: Autumn Beauty
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Wendell Scott Gets His Due
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Weekend: Where the North Carolina and Tennessee Mountains Rub Shoulders
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Chillin’ in Chattanooga
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Charlottesville to Charleston aboard Amtrak
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Great Tastes of the West Virginia Panhandle
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Cavender Cabins: Enjoy the North Georgia Woods
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Guest Column: Liz Belcher
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2015 - Cover4
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