FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mining Journal:The annual Coal Report compiled by the US Energy Information Administration has flagged a 20% drop in domestic coal exports in 2019.Steam and metallurgical coal exports fell to 93 million short tons as steam coal exports suffered under the ongoing downturn in global coal demand, dropping 30% year-on-year in 2019, while metallurgical coal had a more moderate decline of 12%.Although steam coal is mined across the US, most domestic thermal coal comes from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, which produced about 44% of all US coal in 2019. US metallurgical coal mainly originates in the Appalachians.In 2019, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Brazil and South Korea were the top five destinations for US coal exports, accounting for about 53% of all coal exports, report contributor Bonnie West said.Last year, about 75% of India’s electric power was generated by burning coal, 85% of which was covered by domestic production and the rest by imports. India received 8.1Mt of steam coal from the US, making it the largest destination for US shipments for the third consecutive year. Total coal exports to India in 2019 were 12.8Mt.Brazil was the largest US metallurgical coal destination in 2019, importing 6.6Mt.More: US coal exports fall 20% in 2019 EIA: U.S. coal exports dropped 20% in 2019, totaled 93 million tons
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:NextEra Energy is closing its last coal-fired power unit and investing in its first green hydrogen facility.Through its Florida Power & Light utility, NextEra will propose a $65 million pilot in the Sunshine State that will use a 20-megawatt electrolyzer to produce 100 percent green hydrogen from solar power, the company revealed on Friday.The project, which could be online by 2023 if it receives approval from state regulators, would represent the first step into green hydrogen for NextEra Energy, by far the largest developer and operator of wind, solar and battery plants in North America.“We’re really excited about hydrogen, in particular when we think about getting not to a net-zero emissions profile but actually to a zero-emissions carbon profile,” NextEra Energy CFO Rebecca Kujawa said on Friday’s earnings call. “When we looked at this five or 10 years ago and thought about what it would take to get to true zero emissions, we were worried it was extraordinarily expensive for customers,” Kujawa said.“What makes us really excited about hydrogen — particularly in the 2030 and beyond timeframe — is the potential to supplement a significant deployment of renewables [and energy storage]. That last amount of emissions you’d take out of the system to get down to zero could be most economically served by hydrogen.”The green hydrogen produced by Florida Power & Light’s electrolyzers would be used to replace a portion of the natural gas that’s consumed by the turbines at FPL’s existing 1.75-gigawatt Okeechobee gas-fired plant, Kujawa said. The electricity will come from solar power that would otherwise have been “clipped,” or gone unused. If the hydrogen economy scales up and green hydrogen becomes economic, Florida Power & Light would likely retrofit some of its gas facilities to run wholly or partially on hydrogen, Kujawa said.[Karl-Erik Stromsta]More: NextEra Energy to build its first green hydrogen plant in Florida NextEra Energy planning its first green hydrogen project
Mountains To Sea Trail Highlights Spanning 962 miles across North Carolina, the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) includes the highest mountains east of the Rockies down to the lowest points along the Outer Banks. It traverses three national parks, three national forests, two wilderness areas, and the highest sand dune on the East Coast. And unlike other long-distance treks, biking, beach-combing, and ferry-hopping between islands are part of the trail experience.Conceived in the late 1970s, the trail has taken shape over the last few decades to include a surprising mix of remote footpaths, suburban greenways, and back-road bicycle routes. Eventually, the MST will evolve into a footpath-only model, like most other long trails.“Right now, there are 515 miles on the ground,” says Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail executive director Kate Dixon. “There’s trail-building progress all over the state. And like the Appalachian Trail, it will never be finished. We’ll always be changing it.”What will not change is the more accessible nature of the MST. More than 40 percent of North Carolinians live in counties through which the MST passes. Hikers spend almost as much time walking through and around towns as they do walking solo through the woods. And that’s the way trail planners want it.“Even when the trail is complete, once you’re out of the mountains, the route will still take you through towns,” Dixon says. “That’s always been the plan.”Of the handful of people to “thru-hike” the MST, some have taken a purist hiking approach, walking every step from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge State Park along the coast. Others have chosen to tackle the trail with a mix of hiking, biking, and even hitchhiking. Where else in the country can you hike a nearly 1,000-mile trail that allows you to scale 6,000-foot peaks on foot, swim in the ocean, and pedal your bike across lonely back roads?There and Back AgainOnly 18 MST thru-hikes have been completed. Three of those belong to the same man: Scott “Taba” Ward, a 36-year old career hiker, who has also completed the only yo-yo hike, an out-and-back journey in 2009. Ward, who lives in a pickup truck he’s converted into a mobile apartment, has hiked a number of long trails—the A.T., Colorado Trail, and Vermont’s Long Trail—but the MST is closest to his heart. He recently published a detailed guide to thru-hiking the trail, The Thru-Hiker’s Manual for the Mountains to Sea Trail of North Carolina.You live in a truck?I have a mobile apartment in the back of a box truck. Two leather couches, carpet from the Embassy Suites, a hammock, a disco ball, six skate boards, two bikes, bike tools, backpacks.What does your family think about your mobile life style?Early on, they had some concerns, but now they see why I do it. I come from a circus family, the Flying Wards. They’re the trapeze artists with the Ringling Brothers. They’re known as the greatest aerialists of all time. I never learned trapeze, so I started jumping out of planes so I could officially be a Flying Ward. There are four things I never let keep me from traveling: Fear, because I don’t have any; money, because I don’t have any; a job; and a girlfriend. I can’t let somebody else tell me what to do with my life.You don’t let money keep you from thru-hiking, but some people will spend thousands while tackling a long trail. How do you do it without cash?I usually work my way through the trail. On the Colorado Trail, I only had $1 in my pocket when I started. Each time we’d come to a town, I’d get a day-job washing dishes. At the end of the day, they would give me $50, and I’d spend it all at the grocery store and head back on the trail with that same $1. Then I’d walk to the next town and do it again. You get to hang out with locals, drink mojitos at the bar. You’re a local for a night. I did this to some extent on the MST too.You could have hiked any trail you wanted. What made you decide to hike the Mountains to Sea Trail?I’d heard about the MST while living in Hawaii. I realized it wasn’t doable with the existing books because they didn’t list the water sources or legal camping options. My goal was to fix that. Thru-hikers need resources listed. I almost died five times on my first hike from dehydration and heat exhaustion. I even developed a kidney stone and had to leave the trail for a month. I walked around to all the churches along the trail finding water spigots, which I list in the guidebook. Then I asked if thru-hikers could camp on the church properties. Twenty churches said yes, and eight private residences said yes. All of those resources are now listed in the book.The MST is still a work in progress and going through some growing pains with the camping issue. Are there any particular sections where the lack of legal camping is a real concern?The Falls Lake Area [near Durham] is a real problem. There’s 22 miles of trail, and no legal camping. You can’t ask a thru-hiker to tackle 22 miles in a day in the middle of their thru-hike. I’m advocating for a thru-hiker’s permit to use pre-existing campsites. They’re already there; they’ve just been decommissioned. Why not let the handful of people who are walking across the state use them?I understand you had a run-in with the law for trying to camp along the Parkway?I wasn’t arrested or anything, I was just questioned. I was actually stopped 15 times by cops on my hike for standard I.D. checks—mostly in small towns where the residents didn’t even know the trail travels through their town. It got to the point where I’d just keep my head down and hope I didn’t get bothered by a cop. I don’t shave from the beginning to the end of the hike. It’s a tradition. So I have to fight the stereotype of vagrancy all the time.Trouble with cops and a lack of camping, and yet you still love this trail?Absolutely. It’s a phenomenal walk. You can have a blast. You see everything North Carolina has to offer—not just the woods like on the A.T. And the towns were amazing. 98 percent of the people I met were cool.Which direction would you suggest that hikers travel the trail?Walking from the beach to mountains is tough. Going from the mountains to the sea gives you a great finale. At the beach, you summit Jockey’s Ridge, then cross the street and jump in the ocean. It’s more rewarding.What’s next for you?I’m hoping to do something overseas. I’m bored. I’ve ridden my bike over 40,000 miles, I’ve walked over 6,000 miles. I’m looking for what’s next—maybe in another country. • 1. Clingman’s DomeAt 6,643 feet, it’s the highest mountain in the Great Smokies Mountain National Park, with views stretching for 100 miles on a clear day. “It’s a good feeling when you’re up there,” says Scott Ward.Follow in the Footsteps of the President and First LadyPresident Obama became the first Commander-in-Chief in modern history to go hiking. He and the First Lady vacationed in Asheville in April, and their first stop was the Mountains to Sea Trail. The Obamas hiked between Bull Gap and Craven Gap for about an hour. The 2.3-mile stretch is one of the flattest sections of the Mountains to Sea Trail in Western North Carolina. Park at either the Craven Gap or Ox Creek parking areas (mileposts 377.4 and 375.6 respectively) along the Blue Ridge Parkway to access the presidential stretch of the MST.2. Craggy Gardens and Mount MitchellThis 44-mile stretch from the Folk Art Center outside of Asheville to the north side of Mount Mitchell is one of the most spectacular. Craggy Gardens offers an entire mountaintop of blooming rhododendron in June—and panoramic views year-round. From there, it’s high-elevation ridge-walking to 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell. A short spur trail takes you to the Mitchell summit, the highest point east of the Rockies.3. Linville GorgeThe MST drops down the west side of the gorge, taking hikers on a mandatory 50-yard ford of the Linville River. It then climbs up the eastern rim to Shortoff Mountain, The Chimneys and Table Rock Mountain for even more 360-degree vistas.4. Beacon Heights The 24-mile section of the MST between NC 181 and Beacon Heights on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the wettest, with 15 creek crossings. Check out Harper Creek Falls and North Harper Creek Falls, the biggest waterfalls along the trail.5. Boone, N.C.This trail town is Scott Ward’s favorite along the MST: “The attitude, the cool people. App State. I get stuck in that town for weeks at a time.”6. Blowing RockTwo trail crews are working on completing a 30-mile section of the MST between Blowing Rock and NC 16 along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the biggest unfinished gap in the mountains, and Friends of the MST expects to have 15 miles completed by October.7. Stone MountainTake the 4.5-mile diversion on the Stone Mountain Loop, which summits the 600-foot granite dome and gives you a chance to play in a 200-foot waterfall.8. Pilot MountainThe MST follows the North Line Trace bike route from Stone Mountain State Park to Pilot Mountain State Park. For 43 miles, you’ll pedal low-traffic country roads, some of which have views of knobby Pilot Mountain in the foreground.9. Hanging RockThis 40-mile stretch rises 1,400 feet from the surrounding piedmont to Hanging Rock State Park, known for its sheer cliffs and massive rocky peaks. Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain are connected via the Sauratown Trail, a 22-mile equestrian trail that cuts through privately owned forest and farmland. There’s no camping on this 22-mile stretch, but the Friends of the NCMST can arrange for a shuttle to campgrounds nearby.10. Watershed LakesThis 21-mile section of the MST connects six different footpaths around three lakes near Greensboro. Lake Higgins, Lake Brandt, and Lake Townsend were built to collect water from a 105-square-mile watershed. The MST hugs the lake district, cruising through a 750-foot-wide wooded buffer. The terrain is flat, the tread is smooth, and frequent road crossings and connector trails allow you to break this section into smaller pieces if you’re not up for the full 21.11. World’s Largest Tea PotThere is some dispute whether it’s a tea pot or a coffee pot. Decide for yourself in Stokesdale, N.C.12. Haw RiverCrews are working on a 70-mile multi-use trail along the Haw River. The Mountains to Sea will share half of that distance. Ten miles of trail are in place.13. Falls Lake State Recreation AreaMore than 50 miles of contiguous trail are now open along the shores of Falls Lake near Wake Forest thanks to the recent efforts of trail builders from the Triangle. The terrain is surprisingly diverse, moving from farmland to a hilly, hardwood forest. There are only two campsites along this stretch. Call the Friends of the Mountains To Sea for shuttle requests or camping options.14. Neuse River GreenwayRaleigh’s mayor has repeatedly pledged to finish the 28-mile Neuse River Greenway, which is part of the MST, by 2012, which would get hikers off of county backroads and onto this paved, multi-use trail.15. Buffalo Creek GreenwayThis newly-minted greenway takes hikers along a three-mile multi-use path bordering the Neuse River and Buffalo Creek in downtown Smithfield.16. EurekaThe 21 miles of the MST from Eureka to La Grange is entirely on back roads through scenic farm country. Bike this portion and knock it out in a fast, flat two hours.17. The Neusiok TrailThe Mountains to Sea follows the Neusiok Trail for 20 miles through the underrated Croatan National Forest, which is a prime example of a coastal floodplain forest. Take a ferry across the Neuse River to kick this section off, then walk on dirt and wooden boardwalk through the swamp and loblolly pine forest.18. Cape Hatteras National Seashore The final stretch of the Mountains to Sea is predominantly a beach walk along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 113-mile route meanders from one island to the next. There’s some road walking involved, as well as some coastal forest stretches, good camping, friendly towns, surfing, and ferry crossings. Hikers can climb the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse between April and October, tackling 248 stars on an iron, spiral staircase.19. Jockey‘s Ridge State ParkThe eastern terminus of the Mountains to Sea Trail is atop the tallest sand dune in the Eastern United States. After summitting the 140-foot dune, take a plunge in the Atlantic Ocean.
We all know it’s the season for warm drinks and campfires. While we have experienced a few days of high 50’s, the trend in weather has called for winter coats and beanies. While clothes can obviously do a lot to keep a body warm, there is nothing quite comparable to drinking a hot beverage to warm you up.I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago when on my doorstep was a box from Stanley. Eager to see what this goody could be, I quickly found myself in possession of the Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug.Stanley products are easily recognizable by their classy vintage-esque hammertone green exterior color. Chances are you saw your father, your grandfather, hell even your great grandfather toting around a Stanley thermos at some point. I know my earliest memories of fishing with my grandfather, Pom-Pom, include his green Stanley Thermos filled with hot chocolate for us. Yep he was a great man who knew the way to an 11-year-old kid’s heart. But I digress, back to the topic at hand here.While yes the green exterior of the Stanley mug is vintage, the technology is anything but. This mug is a rock star for a variety of reasons. First it’s bombproof, which is why you probably have the Stanley Thermos your father used. These things can take a beating and keep going. The stainless steel will not rust, it’s BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and fully leak proof. Also, as mentioned in the name, it has a one hand open and close button, which is quite nifty. I was a bit concerned about the push button top thinking it would be a maze of small parts that I would never be able to properly clean. These worries were erased the first time I went to wash the mug. The top comes apart in 4 pieces that are all dishwasher safe so cleaning is a non-issue. Also, taking it apart doesn’t require an engineering degree so no worries there.I tested this thermos on long car rides, trail workdays, and campfire hangouts. This is where the thermos belongs. It keeps liquids warm well into the six-hour mark, and just seems to fit into these settings. The one handed open/close button is very convenient for when your other paw is occupied with roasting a marshmallow, holding a shovel at trail work, or driving. I also tested how well the mug keeps a liquid cold, and I can honestly say my beer after a certain recent ultra-run was quite cold the whole time. Plus it disguises the liquid very nicely, so this could be your next spirit vessel.The Stanley mug can hold 16oz of liquid so plenty of coffee/tea/hot chocolate for anyone. If you’re looking for your next travel mug look no further than the Stanley. Well made, affordable at $30, classic green hammertone color, and your child will appreciate it when you pass it down to them years from now.
Clips of the Week: To Sochi and Beyond features some of the most gnarly and absurd skiers around to up your stoke for the Winter Olympics! From Ski Ballet in the 1985 Breckenridge Games to all-nude downhill, check out these incredible videos for some deep powder fun.First up, let’s go back in time. Ever heard of Bandy or Skijoring? Yeah, we haven’t either. Along with those failed Olympic Sports, perhaps the most entertaining is Ski Ballet, seen in this clip from the 1985 Breckenridge Olympics. Next time you are waiting in line for the chairlift, try balancing on your tips and pole-ing into a back-touch somersault. Legit.Second in line is Nike Ski’s Peaks to the Parks. Check out American freeskier Sammy Carlson tear up everything from the powder of Alaska to the parks at Mammoth. And the cinematography in this thing. Killer.In Cinedrones Are Awesome, the guys over at Antimedia send these powerful gadgets soaring high over some bad-a skiers as they rip up some massive terrain. Some seriously cool footage coupled with a great soundtrack from indie-rockers Alt-J produces great results.Last but certainly not least, a clip for the (ah hem) adults. In this section of Patagonia’s Valhalla, which just won Ski Movie of the Year at the Powder Video Awards, some brave souls bare all in a part-hysterical, part-epic nude downhill adventure. Imagine shredding up some waist-deep pow with all of your goods and packages swaying in the breeze. Like we said, hysterical and epic. Disclaimer: Naked Ski Bums EVERYWHERE.
Life is crazy.We all know that. It’s hard not to get caught up in life, too. Between your job, your family, your significant other, your friends, it feels like your phone, your email, your feeds, all of that CRAP is BLOWING up ALL of the time.At least, for me, it was starting to seem that way. Granted, we, or I, rather, do it to myself sometimes, but staying connected is also a huge part of my job. Technology is the only means by which I can efficiently stay connected, but that means there’s rarely a day when I’m not without some sort of screen in front of my face.I’ve read the studies. I know how bad that stuff is for your eyes, your brain, your godforsaken soul. But it’s the way of the world, and has pretty spectacular capacities.That being said, you gotta step away from it every once in awhile.The best place when you need to do that? West By God Virginia.Really, you could go just about anywhere you wanted so long as you check ahead of time to make sure your cell carrier doesn’t have service. This is key. You don’t even want the option of checking in easily. West Virginia, particularly Green Bank (or anywhere within the 13,000-square-mile National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ)), is perfect for just that, and you can thank the nation’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or the GBT. The telescope and surrounding facility is the site for some of the nation’s top research experiments, meaning for locals of the region that anything interfering with radio frequency is a no-go. Modern-day cell phones, wireless Internet access, forget about it.Knowing this, I decided to head to the heart of that total disconnection for some research on an upcoming story (check back in our October issue). That place is the Cranberry Wilderness area. Located in central West Virginia, this nearly 50,000-acre wilderness resembles something you might find in Canada’s arctic backcountry. Between the mysteriously dreary weather, cold temperatures, and towering pine forests, stepping into the boundaries of the Cranberry feels like you’re stepping into a Narnia-like fairy tale.Now, I’m by no means a backpacker, but I have done some of that nonsense in the past. Personally, it’s hard for me to adjust to the mechanical plodding along of day after day of…walking. Maybe it’s because I get blisters every time I go hiking, or perhaps it’s the way I’m wired, but backpacking has never been my “thing.” Ultimately, though, because it’s challenging for me, and because it forces me to slow down, that’s exactly how I found myself deciding to spend four days in West Virginia’s technology dead zone.Recently, I’ve been feeling like my life has derailed from a fairly straightforward path into a visual vortex overload. Between updating social media, checking emails, researching, writing, editing, I was racking up more hours behind a screen than under the sun. A few weeks ago, I read one of those blogs about “how to be healthy” or “how to better your life” or something silly like that and one of the first bullet points on one of them was, “don’t let looking at a screen be the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before you go to sleep.” I read that, of course, while still lying in my sleeping bag in the Go one morning.I finally had to admit it; my vortex of a life was spiraling entirely out of control. I had lost touch with the very things that inspired me, fueled me. I needed some serious one-on-one time with Mother Nature and I figured the only way to genuinely achieve that, and get the real-deal wilderness experience, was to go to a place where technology simply did not work.Enter backpacking in the Cranberry Wilderness area, my solution to disconnecting, unwinding, and slowing down. Now of course, as soon as I arrived at the trailhead for my planned three-day, two-night loop, the sun disappeared behind a wall of clouds, the temperature dropped to just above 50 degrees, and the sky opened up in a most miserably cold and soggy drizzle. I was determined to go, regardless.It took all of three hours of hiking through ankle-deep mud on unblazed trails to finally slow the wheels in my head and force me into the present moment. It was glorious. For a while, I felt rejuvenated, energized by the uncertainty of what lay around the bend. I saw a bear, wildflowers blooming, mushrooms of every variety. I hiked and hiked, going deeper and deeper into the forest until I arrived at the bottom of the valley by McClintock Run.I found a campsite of epic proportions (I’m talking stone fire pit, stone seats, flat rock shelves for the kitchen, and trees made for hammock camping). Exhausted from the day of driving and hiking, I made a semi-satisfactory meal of gluten-free pasta (really, just about anything gluten-free is going to be semi-satisfactory) and had a sound, albeit cold, night of sleep in my hammock. Everything was going, weather aside, relatively well, but after only 13 miles, a worsening head cold, and two days of being drenched to the bone, I decided I’d had enough of the backpacking thing and bailed early to find a campground.I had never heard of Watoga State Park before, but remembered seeing signs pointing toward it on my way to the trailhead. Although it was a summer weekend, I was hoping that the dreary weather was on my side and had caused some RVers to bail early from their plans. Sure enough, the campsite at Watoga was nearly half empty, so I pulled in, set up camp in the rain, and made a cup of coffee. So, change in plans. Now I had two days of total off-the-grid disconnection outside of the woods instead of just one. If I was done backpacking, what on earth was I going to do now?Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I read. I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book The Signature of All Things nearly cover to cover in just one day. I didn’t pick up a phone. I didn’t even check the time until I went to buy some groceries later that afternoon (at 3 o’clock). I went for a bike ride along the Greenbrier Trail and talked with some awesome motorcycle-campers (one particularly interesting couple all the way from New Jersey; the guy talked faster than a bid caller). I drank more coffee, toured the Cranberry Glades, chugged some orange juice, watched the campground chipmunks pick up my crumbs, went for some shorter hikes in the Cranberry, and napped in my hammock.Quite honestly, it felt like I wasn’t doing much of anything and it was a strangely guilty feeling at first. But in time, I realized I was doing something. I was recovering. I was making up for all of the time I spent trying to do 7,000 things at once, none of which involved taking care of me. In the few days I spent away from the technological world, I caught up on my sleep, my love of books, my passion for exploration, and my need for quiet.We all need quiet, and I think especially in this day and age, we tend to forget what silence sounds like. It’s amazing what can surface when your brain is left alone (see what surfaces to Ellen DeGeneres’ mind in her moments of quiet). Personally, I found myself singing bits of lyrics to songs I hadn’t heard in years like Brown Eyed Girl and Renegade. Right, I didn’t necessarily have any life-changing epiphanies or amazing big ideas, but for the first time in a long time, I felt like I wasn’t on anyone’s schedule. Heck, I wasn’t even on my own anymore. I was at the whim of nature and the anticipation of what lay around the corner. I could pee whenever and wherever (within reason), I could take breaks when I got tired, wake up when I wanted to, go to bed when I felt tired (even if that was 8pm), or I could just simply sit and be. I was truly, entirely, 100% in the present moment.So, now that I’m all plugged in again, I’ve made a promise to myself that I urge others to adopt as well: disconnect from technology 100% at least one day a week. I’d say the majority of people reading this are not the President of the United States. The world will not end if you don’t check Facebook for one day or return your best friend’s text message 30 seconds after she sends it. Those things can wait. Be here. Right now.
“Picture You” 3:46 — Sturgeon City “Waiting On You” 1. — Jellyfish 2015, it’s good to see you!Welcome to a brand new year of Trail Mix, everyone! 2014 was a spectacular year here in our little corner of the BRO website, where the best in Americana and indie music awaits you. If this month’s mix is any indication, the next twelve months will be just as fantastic as the last.Worth noting in this January mix are tracks off of three outstanding releases from Omnivore Recordings, a label dedicated to revisiting tunes from the past and reconnecting audiences with bygone artists. Trail Mix has featured a number of Omnivore rereleases in recent months, including tracks from Camper Van Beethoven, Big Star, and Game Theory. This month, the mix has two tunes from Jellyfish, a glam rock band who caught fleeting fame in the early 1990s, and Ron Nagle, whose record Bad Rice is now available on compact disc for the first time since its early 1970s release.Trail Mix is also excited to feature “Me, Liquor & God,” a brand new tune from Night Beds, a Colorado indie rock outfit that now calls Nashville home, and the latest from Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, one of our favorite bands.Also on the January mix are tunes from Happy Fangs, The Amazing, Vision Fortune, New Line, Sturgeon City, and many more.The Trail Mix blog also has some good stuff cooking for this month. Stay tuned for interviews with Sam Lewis, Davie Smith & The Untamed, and Tom Baker of Packway Handle Band, who are releasing a record with Jim White.As always, stream and download the mix until you just can’t stand it anymore. Then stream it again. Tell a friend. Tell the irritating dude that sits two cubicles down. And, of course, seek out an album or two from these incredible artists. “I Need A Friend” — Ron Nagle 4:15 — The Night Beds 11. “American Beauty” “Gunsight” Those Green Shores Sturgeon City 12. “Me Liquor and God” — John Reischman & The Jaybirds — Jellyfish “The White Man Made Me Do It” 3:48 — Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors 3:22 2:38 — Sam Lewis – The Hotel Sessions 10. — Jim White Vs. The Packway Handle Band 5. 4. 2:40 4:46 — Happy Fangs “Gunsight” “Ma Mie Tant Blanche” 3. — Davie & The Untamed 13. 7. 7:21 — Vision Fortune 15. 3:17 “Controlled Burn” — New Line 4:00 — La Famille Leger “The Blackest Crow” — The Amazing 14. “Francine” 3:19
Departments QUICK HITS100-Mile Challenge • New A.T. Record • Professor vs. bear huntersFLASHPOINTIs fire better than logging for restoring the Chattooga River’s health?THE GOODSExpert-selected items that every angler needs.TRAIL MIXLong Journey Home: Lucinda Williams revisits her Southern roots.FeaturesFLY WAYSavvy anglers have long used the Blue Ridge Parkway to reach their favorite mountain streams. Next time you head to the mountains with a 5 weight in tow, use this guide to best fly fishing along the two-lane scenic byway.BEHIND THE LENSSeven top regional photographers offer their field-tested insights and their favorite places to shoot.WHY WE GOWhat inspires thru-hikers to tackle the A.T.? For Chris Gallaway, the answer is simple: love.BATTLEFIELDA white runner at Atlanta’s Kennesaw Mountain is an unexpected minority.WATER WARRIORSAfter visiting Africa to witness firsthand the life-saving impacts of clean water, Jess Daddio returns home to examine water quality in her Blue Ridge backyard.
Bike parks are a growing trend, especially with ski resorts. Utilizing facilities during warm months for a bike park has turned out to be a win-win situation for the parks, and those who crave the downhill excitement. Two Ski Resorts that have taken advantage of this trend are Bryce Resort located in the Shenandoah Valley, just a short distance from Mount Jackson and Massanutten Resort 15 miles from Harrisonburg, VA.I traveled to Bryce Resort to find out what it’s like to be a member of their Bike patrol. Glenn Jackson, the Patrol Director, who also actively patrols the mountain, was my contact and subject of my interview. When I arrived I was greeted by Glenn and fellow Bike Patroller, Rodney Torp. Glenn has been with Bryce for 13 years and Rodney, 30 years. These two veterans welcomed me in and Glenn gave me the run down and insight into the mind of a bike patroller. Bryce Resort | Glen JacksonSirens sounding, kicking down doors leading to blazing infernos and carrying people to safety was Glenn Jackson’s life as a firefighter for many years. Today, along with 25 other bike patrollers, Glen is using his safety training and experience on the mountain at Bryce Bike Park as the Patrol Director. Don’t let the tough guy exterior fool you though, where many bike patrols can be strict and enforce rules with an iron fist, this Patrol Director at Bryce is all about helping you safely enjoy your time in the park.How old are you and what did you do before you joined the bike patrol?I’m 52 years old and a retired firefighter. I was with the Fairfax County Fire Department for 30 years prior to coming on full time with the patrol. When I first came onboard there wasn’t a bike park. I was with ski patrol. Five years ago Bryce Resort invested into this Mountain Bike Park. During the cold months, I’m ski patrol and when it gets warm, we change the lifts to accommodate the bikes and patrol the mountain as bike patrol. “When I first came, as a veteran firefighter I was impressed with the level of professionalism and depth of training I received at Bryce Resort.” How was the transition from Ski Patrol to Ski & Bike Patrol?I wasn’t a mountain biker until five years ago when we started developing the mountain bike park. Since then I’ve come to love mountain biking. During the development of the bike park Bryce Resort included me throughout the entire process. That made it a lot easier for me. I had input into the park safety measures. The way our park is designed allows us access in and out throughout the park to easily respond to injured bikers.What are you currently riding, and what does the park offer visitors who want to rent a bike?I ride a Trek Remedy 9 RSL. I gave my old bike (Trek Remedy) to Cory, my 13 years old son who has become an advanced rider. He’s actually getting ready to purchase a new Trek Slash 9.8 when the 2018 bikes come out. As for the park, they are a Trek authorized dealer and rent the Trek Sessions, Trek Slash and the Trek Daytona.What does a typical day on patrol look like?We get on the trails everyday and check for debris and obstructions. We also check all the wooden structures to ensure they are tight and safe. If there are new riders in the park we like to spend a little time helping them get familiar with the trails. If someone is being reckless or failing to follow park rules, we’ll stop them and re-educate them on safe riding practices. (Rodney Torp added) We don’t want people to see us as mean or even the authority. We want visitors to know we are concerned for their well being. We are here to help them have fun. We’d rather have them on the mountain than in the first aid room. What’s the biggest difference between Skiers and Bikers?Well, bikers have a tendency to leak a lot more (bleed). But they’ll also walk themselves off the mountain (Rodney: we call them the walking wounded). When skiers get injured, they are more likely to stay put on the mountain waiting for help. What frustrates you the most?I get frustrated when riders don’t use good sense. There’s a gamut of injuries we run into everyday. We treat several hundred abrasions and small wounds every season. Most could be prevented by wearing the proper protection and being smart.What do you like most about being on bike patrol?My two favorite things about the job are; the people I work with and getting to meet and know park visitors. One of the things I liked about Bryce from the get-go, was they’re like a big family. I’m especially close with the patrol team. You know, a lot of time when people come to a park like this, they look at the patrol as though we are police, and we’re not. We care about the people who visit the park, just like we care about each other. We want them to feel safe and see us as approachable. What do you want to say to people preparing to visit the bike park?Prepare to have fun, but be safe.
Andreas Fath set out on the morning of July 27 from Ijam’s Nature Center in Knoxville to swim the 652 mile length of the Tennessee River. He completed the swim 34 days later, setting a new world record—and also conducting important scientific research.Fath’s first swim for science was three years ago. He swam and sampled the Rhine River in his home country of Germany, where he swam 776 miles within 25 days, setting a marathon swimming world record. He swam through six countries from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea to set a record—and to study the effectiveness of wastewater filtration systems on water quality.Before his swims, Fath struggled to get funding for his water quality research. So he decided to combine science and swimming. “It was a huge success because it reached more people than you would reach with a scientific paper,” says Fath. “It’s important to reach a large amount of people because they have a big impact on water quality.”While the Tennessee River swim is shorter than the Rhine by 112 miles, the current is much slower with an average current speed of 1-2 mph compared to the Rhine with an average of 3-4 mph. Even with this obstacle, Dr. Fath aimed from the beginning to be finished in 31 days, which would break yet another world record. With Fath’s 22nd wedding anniversary approaching on September 1, it provided him with extra motivation to finish by the end of August.Along the way, Fath and his team sampled for common water quality indicators such as temperature, nitrates and phosphates, as well as pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals. His research team used a technique pioneered by Fath himself to detect microplastics on the water’s surface. Less than 5 mm in size, these tiny fragments are either made at such a size or are broken down from larger plastics that enter the waterway. The size of the microplastics enable them to enter the food chain and can end up in our own bodies.“Water is a gift,” says Fath. “We take it from nature, we borrow it, and everything that you borrow from nature you should return the way you borrowed it.”Toward the end of the Tenneswim, Fath was joined by his wife and sons who jumped in the water to swim in solidarity alongside him and saw him to the finish line in Kentucky.He will analyze the results from his water samples to create a comprehensive report card for the overall health of the Tennessee River.Why did you choose the Tennessee River?FATH: The Tennessee River has 4.8 million people living within its watershed. We are looking specifically at the microplastics in the water, especially after Obama’s ban on micro beads from cosmetics. We can establish a baseline of where we are now, and maybe in 2 or 3 years we would do the same testing, only without swimming because by then I will be 50-something years old. But then we can begin to answer a fundamental question: how long does it take for legislation to be transported into nature?What has been the most rewarding part OF your long distance swimming and research?It’s teamwork, the nature experiments, and the dialogue with people. More and more people were standing at the shore expecting me for hours. Chasing the record is secondary to getting the results and making people aware of what impact they have to improve the water.What safety concerns were on your radar during your one month swim?On the Rhine, I almost had to stop because of an infection on my neck where the wet suit was not closed enough. Infections were always my biggest concern.When people think of your research and these extraordinary swims, what do you hope they take away or remember from your efforts?Only one answer for that: No effort is big enough for water quality improvement.What river might be next? Any other big goals we might see you reach for in the future?The last time at the Rhine, I promised my wife that it would be my last river, but then I swam the Tennessee River. I think now that I am 52 years old, I will dedicate more to research in the next years. Maybe next time a boat, but for swimming full rivers, I think this is the last.