Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37

variety gave her a well-rounded view of
the region, she says, and introduced her
to a lot of people, including trailblazers in
the outdoor community.
A self-described "dabbler," Carter became not just an observer, but a participant. "I'm not really a master of anything,"
she says. "But I was getting out there being
able to explore and then write about it."
In 2014, she took a break from her budding journalism career and hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with her boyfriend
Noah. Along the way, she freelanced for
the Elizabethton Star as well as for author
Zach Davis, who was named the Top Hiking and Outdoor Blogger by USA Today
that year. When Carter and Noah summited Mount Katahdin together in Maine
near the end of their six-month hike, he
proposed.
It was during that memorable trek that
they met a hostel owner who traded the
couple a ride to an offshoot destination in
exchange for their help rebuilding a section of the trail on Roan Mountain and
carving switchbacks for easier access.
"I didn't realize people actually were
out there maintaining the trail. I guess I
never had thought about it," Carter says.
"That just made me realize, 'Man, I made
a difference.'"
Back home, she returned to the
Elizabethton Star as a layout artist. She
also joined the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club in Kingsport
and signed up to maintain a three-mile

stretch of the A.T. near the Elk River,
which she still does. One reason, she
says, is to remind herself of "that adventure we had and the fun times we had on
the trail." Another is to encourage other
young people to get involved.
An inaugural member of the Next
Generation Advisory Council for the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Carter
helped craft the group's bylaws. "People
that have different backgrounds don't see
themselves when hiking or the outdoors
is being promoted. You don't see people
of color, typically, in advertisements," she
says. "So we were really focused on trying
to make sure the narrative was more inclusive and also trying to create programs
that connected the younger generation
to the trails because a lot of trail maintainers are older. We need to engage the
younger generation of people in giving
back because once those people retire or
pass away, who's going to be taking care
of the trails?"
After her PR stint with the Elizabethton City Schools, Carter served
with AmeriCorps, doing communications work for a rural farm in Greeneville, then worked for two years at the
Carter County Tourism Council before
assuming her current post last November, hired from a pool of more than 200
eager applicants.
When she's not promoting outdoor
activities in Washington, Unicoi, Carter,
Johnson, Sullivan and Greene counties,
and pursuing her own, she plays ukulele.
She's also working on a book, the first in
a planned adventure series. The mandolin
of her college days, she admits, has "collected a bit of dust."
An adventurous soul who wavers between an extroverted zeal for meeting new
people and a craving for time alone to recharge, her main hobbies are closely tied
to her work. "I'm really lucky in the sense
that I've gotten paid to do what I love,"
she says. "I guess I get bored quickly and
I always want to do something new. I'm
going skydiving this weekend. I just want
to experience life as much as possible. I
mean, we only get one shot at it, so I just
want to have all these different experiences that I can reflect on and maybe share
with kids in the future."

KAYLA CARTER'S
3 FAVORITE
SPOTS ON THE
APPALACHIAN
TRAIL
ROAN HIGHLANDS, NORTH
CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE
"Roan Highlands is hands-down my
very tippy top favorite. At the same
time, a lot of people go up there and
that actually hurts the area, the rare
plants and the habitat."
WHITE MOUNTAINS, NEW
HAMPSHIRE
"In the Presidential Range, the mountains are just beautiful. A lot of people
drive up there, but it's neat to have
said I was able to hike up. You're up
above the tree lines so you can just see
for miles and miles."
GRAYSON HIGHLANDS, VIRGINIA
"I love the [wild] ponies and all the
rocks, and there's a lot of climbing
around there. When I hiked through,
it was a good time with friends, kicking off the section of Virginia right
after Damascus. I have a lot of good
memories there." -NH
Noah Naseri proposes to Kayla Carter
atop Mt. Katahdin, Maine, the northern
terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018

37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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