Today’s featured mountain range is…The Appalachians! America’s First Western Frontier. And…Our very own backyard. 🙂
The Appalachian Mountains are the largest and most significant mountain range east of the Mississippi River. They are a very old range of mountains (nearly 500 million years), very much worn down by the passage of time, and this accounts both for their relatively low elevation (no peak in the range tops 7000 feet) and for their somewhat smooth and rounded appearance.
The range runs 1500 miles from northern Alabama all the way to Newfoundland, Canada, and forms a natural divide between the coastal flatlands of the east and the river valleys of the American interior. Depending on what side of the crest a drop of water falls will determine if it eventually flows into the Atlantic, the gulf coast, or the Great Lakes. When America was first colonized by the English, these mountains were a significant barrier to settlement and exploration for decades, and in fact we long through to be the tallest on the continent (the Rockies were then unknown.)
Today, the Appalachians remained sparsely settled compared to the heavily populated areas around them. They have developed into an outdoor meccas for wilderness hungry city-dwellers. Most famous of its trails is, of course, the Appalachian Trail, the 2100-mile footpath stretching from Georgia to Maine.
The Adirondack Range of upstate New York is, technically speaking, separate and distinct from the Appalachians. However, there is so much in common between them that from the point of view of the hiker, they may be considered for convenience sake to be one and the same. Anything that applies to one applies to the other, and so they are easily grouped together.
Personally, the Appalachians are my back yard. This is where my interest in hiking was first kindled. It was in the White Mountains that my passion for hiking developed, and today, it’s in the southern ranges that keep it alive.
It is my hope to catalog as many of the best hikes in this range as I possibly can, and determine for myself what are the best hikes in the Appalachians.
All of the photos above are recent captures from the Southern Appalachian Range. I’ll dig up some of my older ones for future posts. Never ignore the beauty and splendor that you can find close to home. Tour of the Appalachians is on our list!
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