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New opportunities for the nature enthusiast

Article Published: Aug. 18, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
New opportunities for the nature enthusiast

Grandfather Mountain's interpretive rangers are offering guests two new opportunities to learn by doing.

"Hiking 101" is designed to teach beginners how to successfully complete a day hike. Presented Saturday, Aug. 20 at 11 a.m., the class will cover equipment, clothing, footwear and what to pack for a day in the woods. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned outdoorsmen or a novice, organizers said all attendees should find this class a great planning discussion before striking out into the unknown.

"There are a lot of variables that one should consider while planning a hiking or camping trip," chief interpretive ranger Gabe Taylor said. "Having the proper equipment and being prepared for a variety of weather is a must."

"How High is That Tree?" will teach visitors to identify the types of trees they encounter and how to use a clinometer to measure the height of a tree. Participants will make their own clinometers (an optical device for measuring elevation over horizon) and apply the tool not only to trees but also to a variety of other calculations. The program will be offered Saturday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m.

Programs with Grandfather's interpretive rangers last approximately one hour and are free with the price of admission to Grandfather Mountain ($15 per adult and $7 for children ages 4-12).

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation merged its trails and naturalist departments in June in order to create an interpretive ranger staff that provides visitors with additional ways to experience and learn about the mountain's diverse environment.

The rangers are also offering guided hikes along the mountain's famed Grandfather Trail. A half-day hike to MacRae Peak and back (0.9 miles) is $15 per person, and a full-day hike to Calloway Peak and back (2.4 miles) is $30 per person. A minimum of two people is required to book a guided hike.

These hikes allow participants to learn more about the history, geology, flora and fauna of Grandfather. The Grandfather Trail is strenuous and has some extremely steep sections where hikers use in-place cables and ladders.

To book a guided hike or for any questions on interpretive ranger programming, call (828) 737-0833 or email (

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