Month: December 2020


Total SA: Another Oil Major Veers Into Renewables


first_imgMore: ($) Total becomes latest oil major to make a renewable play FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Financial Tribune:Oil major Total moved forward with its plan to expand in the renewable energy sector on Tuesday with investments in EREN RE and Greenflex.Total said it was buying a 23% stake in renewables company EREN RE for $285 million and added it could later acquire full control of the business, Reuters reported.It also announced the takeover of Greenflex, a French company specializing in finding ways to use energy more efficiently, which is forecasting 2017 revenues of more than $420 million. Total did not give a value for that deal.The company said the deals formed part of its strategy to expand its solar energy and wind power business.“EREN RE’s momentum will allow us to accelerate our growth in solar energy and move us into the wind power market. The agreement with EREN RE is a major step towards our objective of achieving 5gigawatts of installed capacity in five years,” said Philippe Sauquet, president of Total’s gas, renewables and power units, in a statement.Sauquet added Total wanted GreenFlex to be the “linchpin of its growth in the energy efficiency industry in Europe.”Europe’s biggest oil companies, which have been bruised by pressure on oil prices over the last two years, have been intensifying their push into renewable energy as they hunt for new sources of future revenue.Last year, Total’s startup ventures unit acquired a stake in wind turbines company United Wind, while Total also announced plans to install solar panels at 5,000 of its service stations.More: Total SA Steps Up Renewables Drive GreenFlex offers sustainability solutions to 600 clients worldwide and is expected to reach more than €350 million in revenues by the end of this year, according to a Total press release. The deal is expected to close sometime during the fourth quarter. The two deals align with Total’s strategy to address climate challenge and become a “responsible energy major,” Sauquet and Total chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné both said in separate statements. Paris-based EREN RE has a portfolio of 650 MW of renewable energy projects in operation or under construction and plans to install more than 3,000 MW worldwide by 2023, according to a Total press release. Total will invest €237.5 million once it receives regulatory approval and will have an option to fully acquire EREN RE after five years. SNL:Another oil major is investing heavily in renewable energy. French energy giant Total SA said on Sept. 19 that it is purchasing a 23% stake in renewable energy company EREN and acquiring energy efficiency company GreenFlex. Total SA: Another Oil Major Veers Into Renewables “EREN RE’s momentum will allow us to accelerate our growth in solar energy and move us into the wind power market,” Philippe Sauquet, president of Total’s gas, renewables and power group, said in a statement. “The agreement with EREN RE is a major step towards our objective of achieving 5 GW of installed capacity in five years.”last_img read more


New Mexico utility moves up carbon-free goal, reaffirms San Juan coal plant closure


first_imgNew Mexico utility moves up carbon-free goal, reaffirms San Juan coal plant closure FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Albuquerque Journal:Public Service Company of New Mexico says all its electric generation will be carbon-free by 2040, five years earlier than required under the state’s new Energy Transition Act.PNM President, Chairman and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn announced a plan to accelerate its clean-energy goals Monday afternoon during an event at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, members of the state’s U.S. congressional delegation, and local and state officials attended the event, timed to coincide with Earth Day.The Energy Transition Act, which the state Legislature passed this year and the governor signed into law, requires New Mexico’s public utilities to derive 50 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040, followed by a transition to completely carbon-free generation by 2045.PNM said it has since realized it can achieve those goals five years early, Vincent-Collawn said at the event.Coinciding with the announcement, PNM released a general overview of how it plans to achieve the goals. It reaffirmed previous commitments to completely shut down the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station outside Farmington in 2022 and pull out of the nearby Four Corners Power Plant by 2031. That alone will cut emissions by more than 70 percent, according to PNM.Starting in 2028, the company will also begin closing natural gas plants around the state, with the last ones shuttered by 2040. It will replace lost generation with renewable resources like wind and solar, and possibly geothermal power.More: PNM to be carbon free five years soonerlast_img read more


Togo, IFC to collaborate on African country’s first solar projects


first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank group, and the government of Togo have agreed to jointly develop several solar projects with a combined capacity of 90 MW.The government said in a released statement that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with IFC for the projects, however project details were not disclosed. It said that the projects will be developed under the umbrella of the Scaling Solar initiative, and that they will be finalized within two years.Scaling Solar is a “one stop shop” scheme, which supports privately financed grid-connected solar PV projects and supports project development with an initial legal, regulatory and technical analysis. The initiative prepares and holds the tender for the projects, while supporting developers with pre-approved financing.If implemented, these new projects will be the first utility-scale solar developments in the African country, which so far has mostly been rural electrification solar projects. In 2017, the Togolese Republic launched an initiative aimed at bringing solar energy to two million people in the country’s remote areas without connection to the power system by 2022. Since March of this year, the government began offering rebates to Togolese households to cover upfront costs of stand-alone PV systems. Earlier in 2018, UK based BBOXX won a tender to provide off-grid PV systems to 30,000 Togolese households. French energy giant EDF acquired 50% of the company’s shares in October 2018.Togo is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of approximately 7.5 million and frequent energy shortages. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Togo is currently being supplied its power from thermal plants, imported from Nigeria and Ghana, and some hydropower. The country’s access rate to power is currently around 28%. The government hopes to raise this percentage to 75% in 2020 and 100% in 2030.More: Togo joins Scaling Solar program for 90 MW Togo, IFC to collaborate on African country’s first solar projectslast_img read more


To Hell and Back: Bikepacking Pandapas Pond


first_imgI can’t speak for everybody, but first time I do anything, I always learn a lot. Those first lessons are important ones, they’re the foundation for the years of hiking, paddling, climbing or whatever that lie ahead of me.It’s no surprise then that I learned a lot on the first bike-tour I ever did. I just didn’t expect to learn as much as I did.  I know now that backpacks are for walking and that bushwhacking is hard enough without carrying a bike. I learned exactly how much a new helmet for Thomas costs and I also know that it would have been much easier if we hadn’t been determined to do an off-road tour.I’d found a blog post on some manufacturer’s website a few weeks previous, detailing a gorgeous, serene trip through the fire-roads of Michigan. The entry had pictures on pictures of spit-shined gravel roads that led straight into a world of sunshine and adventure, and all you had to do was pedal and coast underneath fiery, autumn leaves from campsite to campsite. I was really pulling for our trip to turn out like that blog, but, somebody decided that single-track would be more fun to tour on and the other one of us was dumb enough to agree. So we decided to load up our packs and meet on top of the techy trail that serves as an entryway into the Pandapas Pond trail system (Blacksburg what’s up holler at me ladies). I was late getting off of work, and was very late by the time I managed to drag myself to the top. Thomas, in addition to being patient, is about four times the climber I am and so had been waiting up there for some time. We scoped out each other’s gear setups (panniers? psh, we don’t need any stinking panniers) and then starting off into the setting sun.Which means it was pretty much a nightride to start with, and bombing down one of the fastest trails on the mountain, at night, with no lights was a recipe for disaster to happen. I was about five minutes into the descent when an overhanging vine caught my backpack and almost yanked me backwards off my saddle. According to a post-trip Wikipedia search, this particular species of vine spends much of its natural life growing slowly down towards pack level on mountain biking trails, praying the entire time for some poor bastard to try and slip under it. I still don’t know how Thomas, who is 6′ 5″, managed to miss it, but he did.It was full-on dark by the time we reached the bottom, and so we started to climb up to a campsite that Thomas swore he knew the location of. To cut a long story short, on the way there Thomas broke a spoke, got a flat and the Mystery of The Disappearing Campsite remains unsolved (we tried to call in The Hardy Boys, but all they sent us was two geriatrics on commuter bikes. We had to ditch them after they wouldn’t stop talking about how nobody makes nice lugs anymore.)We did, however, follow a rainwater rut uphill until it became clear that we had wavered dramatically from our planned course. After a brief discussion, we both decided to press on into the thorny underbrush, in the hopes that we’d eventually stumble across a suitable place to sleep. It took another hour of uphill bushwhacking (with bikes and gear, no less) before we found a flat-esque area in a patch of blueberry plants. It wasn’t until the next morning that we discovered the bear scat and clawed up trees that surrounded our campsite. There are not many bears in Pandapas Pond, but we’d definitely managed to find their living room.In any case, we woke up and bushwhacked back to the trail we’d been on last night, passing several pastoral campsites on the way. I had just finished fishing the bear poop out of my tire tread with a stick when we decided to ride out of Pandapas on a fire road that snakes it’s way through the park system. The gravel led out to one of those hilly back-roads that every cyclist in the Appalachians loves and/or hates, which would lead right back into our cars. We’d drive separately to Dublin, where we’d celebrate our successful excursion with bad food and worse beer.Unfortunately, during a feigned argument and subsequently fake battle (Those long climbs can get kinda boring) Thomas suffered a very real crash when I clipped his handlebar during retreat maneuvers. After he swerved around for a few milliseconds, struggling to regain control, his head hit asphalt just a few feet away from me. I was worried, but it didn’t look too bad initially; he crashed at a such a low speed and had almost avoided hitting the ground altogether. The end result, however, made it the most serious bike injury I’ve ever seen or been involved in. Thomas jumped up, swore and ripped his helmet off of his head and told me it was cracked. I didn’t believe him at first, and in a way, I was right to doubt; the foam insides were destroyed from the impact, not just cracked.I took some inventory on the situation, which means I fixed Thomas’s bike while he stood around and fought back the adrenaline rush. When I looked over at him again, his face was sheet white-I told him to sit down, in between apologies, and he obliged. After a few minutes, he hopped back on his bike and rode back to his car.By the time we got back to the house we both lived in, things seemed better. Thomas was talking like Thomas, which is this weird mixture of unrelenting optimism and weird aphorisms. We even laughed about airing his bourbon-soaked  gear out in the yard; the crash had claimed another victim in the bottle of Wild Turkey Thomas had packed.It was the next day that I had to convince him to go to the hospital after he related a brief anecdote concerning bathtubs and what I knew to be brain fluid leakage. To spare you the gory details, Thomas got a severe concussion and had to spend the next three months off his bike. I, like any good friend, bought him a new helmet and half a case of cheap beer. My memory is hazy, but the point is that the hatchet was buried under crushed PBR cans and 60 dollars worth of plastic and foam.Shortly after, I moved out of the house to live some 20 miles closer on my commute. That summer, Thomas ended up touring cross-country with only one significant crash. I ended up thru-hiking the PCT without causing anybody else serious injury, although I definitely ate it once or twice.I’ve since come to the conclusion that the harrowing incident can be classified into one of two categories; 1. Wrong place, wrong time or 2. Jackassery of the worst kind. I lean towards number 2 most days, but I also always factor in number 1. It’s a strange world we live in, and bad shit can happen in the blink of an eye, even to the most experienced or skilled people in any given field.We’re going on our second tour next weekend. Thomas is bringing a metal flask and a football helmet. I’m bringing a map and have promised to not initiate military maneuvers unless threatened by an enemy cyclist. Wish us luck.last_img read more


20 Bands to Watch


first_img20 BLUE RIDGE BANDS ON THE VERGE OF BIGGER THINGSPeople’s Blues of RichmondRichmond, Va.Things get heavy with this psychedelic rock power trio that blends the power of Deep Purple with the quirk of Modest Mouse. A ripping live show has earned these upstarts recent support gigs with JJ Grey & Mofro and J. Roddy Walston & the Business.MipsoChapel Hill, N.C.The title of this fresh-faced newgrass quartet’s latest album Dark Holler Pop sums up its sound: a solid foundation in traditional picking mingled with the indie sensibilities of Nickel Creek.Erin and the WildfireCharlottesville, Va. The soulful vocals of front woman Erin Lunsford lead this quartet that sonically mingles bluesy roots rock with vintage R&B grooves. A contest win earned the group a stage spot at last fall’s Lockn’ Music Festival.The HoneycuttersAsheville, N.C.With a soothing voice steeped in heartache, singer Amanda Anne Platt fronts this acoustic quintet that plays authentic honky tonk tunes brimming with the influence of living in Appalachia. The band’s latest album, me oh my, drops on April 21.The Black CadillacsKnoxville, Tenn.These Knoxville indie rockers keep gaining fans with tight song craft and a versatile sound that moves between soulfully restrained and wildly anthemic.Matthew E. WhiteRichmond, Va.The multi-talented White started the independent label Spacebomb Records and led the lauded avant-garde jazz ensemble Fight the Big Bull. Lately he’s become indie famous for his solo work, which includes the new relaxed soul-rock effort Fresh Blood.American AquariumRaleigh, N.C.Fans of the Drive-By Truckers and Lucero should take notice of this gritty alt-country act from Raleigh. If you need an endorsement, Jason Isbell produced the group’s 2012 album Burn.Flicker.Die, but its best work just came out in the recently released Wolves. Front man BJ Barham kicked the bottle and poured out gritty confessions draped in distorted twang.Folk Soul RevivalWise, Va.This hardworking Americana outfit from Virginia coal country plays a rowdy, roots-swirling brand of acoustic rock, bringing in elements of delta blues and vintage country that complement the gritty soulful vocals from lead singer Daniel Davis.SunlinerNelson County, Va.This electric country-rock side project features Travis Book, bassist for The Infamous Stringdusters, and his successful singer-songwriter wife Sarah Siskind.Chamomile and WhiskeyNelson County, Va.This group’s boisterous mountain rock covers plenty of territory in the roots music landscape, moving deftly between old-time foot-stompers, gritty gypsy jams, and hard-edged country punk.this mountainJohnson City, Tenn.An easy sell for fans of My Morning Jacket, this roots-driven outfit has a sound that moves deftly between mellow alt-country and full-on distorted twang rock—all tied together with layered harmonies that add a soulful edge.SwampcandyAnnapolis, Md. This Maryland duo plays down-and-dirty acoustic blues, paying homage to hill country heroes like Junior Kimbrough. The group’s relentless attack of gritty slide guitar and stomping beats was impressive enough to take first place at last year’s On the Rise competition at FloydFest.Jim White vs The Packway Handle BandAthens, Ga.Members of newgrass outfit Packway Handle Band teamed up with underground psychedelic folk bard Jim for Take It Like A Man, a collaborative string-band set filled with White’s patented sublime strangeness.Kyle James HauserLouisville, Ky.Like fellow Kentucky-based versatile stringed songwriter Ben Sollee, the banjo-toting Hauser possess a haunting soulful voice that delivers open-hearted lyrics about love and loss.Gill LandryNashville, Tenn.A Louisiana native, Landry spends most of his time these days in a supporting role as a member of Old Crow Medicine Show. The self-titled effort is a dusty singer-songwriter set that’s highlighted by compelling introspection and a hint of Cajun mood.Lee Baines III & The Glory FiresBirmingham, Ala.Formerly of the Dexateens, Baines has put together a new crew to deliver Southern-fried garage rock filled with epic hooks and plenty of distorted twang.Annabelle’s CurseBristol, Va. The border town indie folk quintet blends soaring vocal harmonies with literate introspection akin to the Decemberists.Mandolin OrangeChapel Hill, N.C. This acoustic duo delivers poignant progressive folk tunes that draw on a range of influences, including early Appalachian mountain songs and vintage country ballads.Emily HearnAthens, Ga.Hearn got a big notoriety push after funnyman Bill Murray appeared in the video for her sunny pop song “Rooftop” back in 2010. Only 24, the Athens songstress is ripe for a breakout with her latest album Hourglass.PGrassRichmond, Va.Jam band tangents meet nimble-fingered picking in this new collaboration between Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove and Americana outfit James Justin & Co.last_img read more


The Enduring Legacy of Kayah Gaydish


first_imgThe December death of Asheville climber and conservation champion Kayah Gaydish sent a tremor of shock and heartbreak through the outdoor community of the Southeast.Gaydish lived a life that was defined by her stewardship and dedication to the wilderness of Western North Carolina, particularly within the 12,000 rugged acres of the Linville Gorge.In her years working as a volunteer and on a part-time basis for the environmental nonprofit Wild South, she forged a deep connection to this beautiful and complex landscape. The majority of her fieldwork involved the grueling task of eradicating exotic species, in particular the aggressively invasive Princess Tree, which had germinated throughout hundreds of acres within the gorge after the 2013 wildfire. Native to Japan, the Princess Tree can grow up to 20 feet in one year, and will release millions of seedlings once it reaches maturity. The shade created by its spreading leaves can threaten the survival of native flora. Species such as the Heller’s Blazing Star and Mountain Golden Heather are endemic to Linville; once their populations are choked out, they are gone forever.Using hand pruners and folding saws, Gaydish and her team uprooted thousands of saplings, hanging them to dry out on tree limbs to ensure they could no longer spread. She meticulously documented the hours they spent in the field, recording the names and locations of the many different non-native species that threaten the fragile ecosystem inside the river gorge.An avid rock climber, Gaydish celebrated Linville as a mecca of outdoor recreation, brimming with opportunities for climbers, hikers and kayakers. As a naturalist and trained herbalist, she recognized the intrinsic value of wilderness. She possessed a talent for conveying to others just how vital each individual species was to the landscape as a whole.So infectious was her enthusiasm that she was able to recruit an ever-expanding team of volunteers to join her in the field, a team that often included veterans and participants in therapeutic wilderness programs. Her magnetic blend of passion and sincerity inspired others to forge a lasting and meaningful connection to the Linville that was all their own.LinvilleGorgeWorkDayFULL_FIX“That’s the clarity she gave me,” recalls Kevin Massey, Linville Gorge stewardship coordinator for Wild South. “The work that I mostly did, trail maintenance, is all digging and hacking. You can do that with zero connection to the land. She taught me about plant lore, edible leaves, medicines—things that start to bind you to a place in a different way.”An eloquent and animated man who speaks with a deep sense of conviction, Massey has stepped in to continue Gaydish’s role of organizing and engaging the Linville conservation community. Even before assuming the title of stewardship coordinator, he spent countless hours in the gorge, maintaining trails, removing trash,  and conducting land surveys.Massey describes his friend and co-worker’s efforts as “an example of extreme self-sacrifice.” Despite the abundance of joy she found in her work, he finds it poignant that any one person could give so many hours to a task as demanding as invasive species removal—particularly a single mother already working hard to feed her family.In the six months since Kayah’s passing, Massey and others have worked even harder to continue the legacy left behind in Linville. Invasive species are being eradicated. Native plants habitats are being restored. And a wild gorge is protected by even more volunteers inspired by Kayah and her work.last_img read more


Trail Mix: On The Road With Lily & Madeleine


first_imgIndiana born sister duo Lily & Madeleine accidentally meandered into the folk music spotlight.Tabbed by Paste as “The Best of What’s Next” back in 2013, the sisters ended up in the studio with John Mellencamp and viewed on Reddit thousands of times based on the strength of their songwriting and homespun Youtube videos.Recognition and critical acclaim soon followed. While not anticipated, the sisters – still in their teens – were penning songs that certainly warranted the attention.2013 also saw the release of both an EP and the duo’s first full length record. A second record followed in 2014, and Lily & Madeleine released Keep It Together, their third long player, back in February on New West Records.September saw Lily & Madeleine sign on to tour across the country with folk icon Brett Dennen. The tour that began out in California will wind its way through the Southeast this month, including a stop in Asheville this weekend. A couple tickets are yours for the taking by answering the trivia question down below.I recently got to pepper Lily and Madeleine with questions about life on the road.BRO – No green room is complete without . . .Lily – A cheese plate!Madeleine – A dirty mirror and an assortment of tea bags.BRO – Favorite on stage libation?Madeleine – We drink room temperature water on stage, but if the venue has a fancy bar – and an open tab! – I like to try one of their cocktails.Lily – Yeah, I really just chug a ton of water on stage.BRO – Festival you have played that you really enjoyed as a fan?Lily – Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati! It was so fun. We go to see Kishi Bashi and Paramore perform.BRO – Who is the better on the road DJ?Madeleine – Lily puts in her headphones and shuts everyone out when we’re on the road. That’s totally fine with me. I usually use the aux cord to play true crime podcasts or the Savage Lovecast.Lily – I can’t spend all day talking to the two same people or I’ll go crazy! Plus, Madge doesn’t like rap much, which is usually what I listen to.BRO – Coolest thing you have ever bought at a gas station?Madeleine – Money’s tight on tour, but if I feel like splurging I’ll buy some green apple licorice, either the Australian kind or the Amish kind.BRO – More difficult – playing for ten people or one thousand people?Madeleine – Honestly, it’s more difficult play for ten people, in my opinion. I feel like I have to capture each person’s attention individually. It makes me feel more vulnerable on stage.Lily – It’s always most difficult for me to perform when there are people I know in the audience.BRO – Least favorite state to drive through?Madeleine – Kansas is somehow flatter and more boring than Indiana, but Illinois has all the tolls, which we just love.Lily – Yes! The tolls are so annoying!BRO – Favorite Brett Dennen song to hear live?Lily – I feel like my favorite song of his changes from week to week, but right now I really like hearing “Make You Crazy.”Madeleine – “Dancing At A Funeral,” from his album Lover Boy. It’s such a fun jam.Lily & Madeleine will be on tour with Brett Dennen for much of the rest of October. For information on dates and venues, please cruise on over to their website.Interested in catching Lily & Madeleine and Brett Dennen this Sunday at The Grey Eagle in Asheville? If so, take a chance on the trivia question down below. Email your answer to [email protected] A winner of two passes to the show will be chosen from all of the correct responses received by noon tomorrow (Friday, October 14th).Question . . . . Lily and Madeleine are sisters. Which one is older?Remember to email your answers in. Don’t post in the comments below!  Good luck!last_img read more


48 Hours in Roanoke, Virginia


first_imgRoanoke, Virginia, has long been on the radar of outdoors enthusiasts, and for very good reasons. McAfee Knob, one of the most stunning and most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail is a short drive and short hike from Roanoke. Carvin’s Cove, the second largest municipal park in the USA, offers up more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, and it’s a short drive from downtown. The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the ridges that surround Roanoke, and as one of the most scenic and accessible drives in the southeast, some 15 million visitors cruise a few miles on this lovely motorway every year.sharp_top_mountain_virginia_hiking_7bb9a5b0-2981-4077-83bc-36c953a9e118But there’s more to Roanoke than just those big three. For starters, the dining scene in and around Roanoke is killer. Second, the craft beer scene has taken off like a rocket, and there are more than a handful of breweries and taprooms to visit. Third, it’s a great urban outdoor town thanks to a keen greenway project. Fourth, it’s family friendly thanks to that greenway, the trek to the Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain, and Center in the Square, a kid-centered science exploratorium in the heart of downtown. Throw in some top-notch museums and you’ve got reason to visit in any season. Day 1 AdventuresToday you have your pick of how to explore, on two wheels or two feet. Road cyclists and mountain bikers will find plenty of places to pedal. Section 12 of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, the 4,228-mile coast-to-coast bike trail, runs right by Roanoke, tracing a path from Christiansburg to Lexington, then connecting with the Blue Ridge Parkway and making its way to the coast. Along the Virginia section there’s tons of elevation gain, making the 368-mile section one of the toughest on the ride. Here you’ll most likely ride Routes 723, 785 and 779, a nearly 50-mile ride. Mountain bikers, look to Carvin’s Cove where some 50 miles of trails and fire roads make for some excellent loops. Dragon’s Back, a sister trail to Dragon’s Tooth (on the Appalachian Trail) is a strenuous 12-mile ride, and at the 7,190-acre Havens Wildlife Management Area you’ll find some amazing rides.fall_mountain_biking_3196829cIf you chose to explore on foot, the Appalachian Trail passes near Roanoke, and the hike to McAfee Knob is a bucket-lister, but the trek to Dragon’s Tooth or to Tinker Cliffs are likewise notable. Or, and this is a big or, you can try the 2-Day Adventure Option outlined below for a monster hiking trip. Day hikers, don’t sweat, McAfee, Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs are all doable and accessible, as are the trails in Carvin’s Cove. Explore Park, just across the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 115, has 14 miles of hiking and biking trails, and the Roanoke Valley Greenways make up some 30 miles of trails throughout the city and along the river. Day 2 AdventuresIt’s summit day, but fortunately, both hikes are mild compared to some of the bigger summit hikes—like The Peaks of Otter, Sharp Top and Round Top, near Bedford on the Blue Ridge Parkway—and both are in town. First, head to Read Mountain Preserve, a 243-acre recreation area with 5 miles of trails. Take the 2-mile hike to Buzzards Rock where you’ll be treated to tremendous views of the Roanoke Valley.mcafee_knob_roanoke_snow_0814aYour second hike is to Roanoke’s iconic star on the slopes of Mill Mountain. It’s true you could drive up and have a 5-minute walk to the Star, but this way you earn that Instagram post. Park on Walnut Avenue (yes, in town) and head up the mountain using first surface streets then a nicely graded and easy trail. This one’s perfect for the youngest or oldest in the group as there are plenty of spots to stop for a breather. At the top, just under 1.5-miles in you’ll reach the star and the platform overlooking Roanoke and the valley. Great view, especially on a clear day or at twilight.Before you leave town, make time to visit Black Dog Salvage, an astounding architectural salvage shop where you’ll find church steeples and stained glass, midcentury modern bar carts, Victorian-era hardware and treasures galore. Go Big or Go Home: The 2-Day Adventure OptionThere’s another way to do Roanoke, but it’s a big one. How about hiking Virginia’s Triple Crown in a brutal 32-mile, two-day loop that will take you to Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs? To do this, start at Dragon’s Tooth and make the hike to this 35-foot spire, then follow the Appalachian Trail north to McAfee Knob. You’ll have some camping options depending on how you like to approach things. Camp here tonight (at the Johns Spring, Catawba Mountain or Campbell shelter) for a short first day and intense day 2, or continue north along the AT to Tinker Cliffs, 5.5-miles distant, and camp there at Lamberts Meadow before reversing course and following the AT back to your ride at the Dragon’s Tooth trailhead.mcafee_knob_sunrise_fe02d10e-4Or you could cut this monster hike in half by parking cars at either end of the trail. This option gives you plenty of time and energy for celebrating your on-trail achievements with food and drink in Roanoke.FoodTexas Tavern, also known as Roanoke’s Millionaires’ Club, has been open since 1930 and serves one of the best, and cheapest (seriously, it’s $1.45), cheeseburgers you’ll find. The menu is as small as the restaurant, which seats less than a dozen, but it’s cheap, charming and authentic. How cheap? So cheap you’ll find it challenging to eat $5 worth of food. And best of all: it’s delicious.One of the best restaurants in Roanoke, Lucky, also serves some top-notch cocktails, so they’re a must-dine. On the menu you’ll find everything from roasted bone marrow to fried chicken to boiled peanuts to Rappahannock oysters.screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-2-53-40-pmScratch Biscuit Co. keeps it simple with a menu of biscuits, toppings and sides, but there’s so much to chose from. The Jerry Garcia—a biscuit with smoked or regular tofu—The Cotton Hammer—a biscuit with chicken and Alabama White barbecue sauce—are good options, but so’s Bless Your Heart—biscuit, fried green tomato, bacon and chipotle—and every other biscuit on the menu. Blue Apron Restaurant & Red Rooster Bar, located in Salem, is outstanding in every way. It’s got a chic interior and serves equally-chic food. Foie Gras, lamb shank, a to-die-for seared salmon grace the menu, so come here hungry and ready for a memorable meal.If you’re in the mood for simple, get to Benny Marconi’s where the pizza is New York-style (read: huge pies and huge slices), the beer is cold, and the place is open late.Libations and NightlifeLucky. It’s no surprise that one of the best kitchen in Roanoke has a bar to match. Cocktails here are boozy, flavorful and surprising. House made bitters and syrups, bar-infused liquor concoctions and even smoked ice cubes grace the menu, so whether you want something floral and spring-like in your glass or whether you want something to put a little fire in your belly, the barkeeps here have you covered.10285836_1413966512208382_3725258687390534394_oRoanoke’s beer scene is bustling. In Roanoke you have Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers and Big Lick Brewing Company; in Salem, Parkway Brewing Company; and in Vinton, Twin Creeks Brewing Company. Plus there’s Roanoke Craft Beer Tours, who’ll pick you up, pack you around and fill you full of beer before dropping you off at your hotel.The Community Inn, or CI to those in the know, feels like it’s been around forever because it has. Not literally, but it’s got a great, authentic vibe that so many throwback bars try to achieve. The bar food is good—burgers and tots, square pizza like you’d get in the school cafeteria—and the beer’s good and so are the people. LodgingThe Hotel Roanoke will take you back to the days of Gilded Age opulence without that Gilded Age price, so take a look at staying here, just a block off the heart of downtown. Black Lantern Inn and King George Inn present two solid B&B options.For camping, look to Salem where you can set up at Dixie Caverns.last_img read more


Mountain Mama: How Sarah Ruhlen is Redefining Kayaking Videos


first_imgAt last year’ Tallulah Fest Sarah Ruhlen was standing in a crowd, excited to see the kayaking videos. All the movies featured guys running big waterfalls, doing amazing tricks, and paddling big water. They were fantastic, but I didn’t feel part of the narrative. None of the videos featured women. They didn’t capture the experience of regular paddlers.So she decided to make an all-women edit for this year’s Tallulah Fest.Sarah majors in biology at Western Carolina University and paddles whenever she can. During the summer she teaches canoeing and kayaking at NOC, and she’s also an avid whitewater photographer.Sarah sent out a group message to all the women paddlers she knew and shared her idea, asking for footage that she could use to create a video that showed what being part of the community is like. Over thirty people responded.Sarah hadn’t done much with editing, but was excited to get so much cool video footage from rivers across the Southeast including the Tallulah, Chatooga, Rocky Broad, Horsepasture, Green, and Cheoah. Sarah had a hard time trying to find music. “I wanted something that didn’t misrepresent the story. It isn’t the right platform for something relaxed, the crowd wouldn’t pay attention,” Sarah said. “I found a song I really liked, something more playful and light, sort of happier.”She hopes that her edit helps create a more expansive view of what it means to paddle whitewater.  Sarah said, “Yes it’s a women’s edit. The point isn’t to exclude men – it’s to be inclusive and push away cliques that often happen when people run harder whitewater. I want to help create a more expansive community. For people to go to festivals and see themselves and the rivers they know when they watch the videos.” The feedback Sarah’s received about her edit has been really good.  Some have told her that the video is something that they want to show their kids or their mom, that they’ll watch it again. A lot of guys have rallied around the video and cheer on all the women crushing it. Sarah’s video was shown at the Tallulah Fest this past weekend, which was still held despite the cancellation of the scheduled release. She’s thinking about making a longer edit for the Banff Film Festival. “Perhaps with a different story, but the same vibe. I have so much footage from so many people that might not be seen on another platform,” Sarah said.last_img read more


Jennifer Pharr Davis Releases Her New Book, The Pursuit of Endurance


first_imgIn her new book released yesterday, Jennifer Pharr Davis, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, shares her secrets on how to persevere and push through life’s challenges both on and off the trail.“It takes one to know one. Jennifer Pharr Davis, the first woman to set a speed record on the A.T., provides powerful and personal insights into ten of the world’s most accomplished and inspiring endurance athletes in her new book. Among them are two pillars of Appalachian adventure: 16-time A.T. thru-hiker Warren Doyle and former A.T. speed record holder David Horton. Both Doyle and Horton have stunning outdoor achievements, but they have dedicated themselves to helping others reach their goals—including Pharr Davis. She also ventures out on the trail with ultra legends Andrew Thompson, Scott Williamson, Heather Anderson, and Scott Jurek, following the highs and lows of their record-chasing journeys. Best of all, Pharr Davis shares her own experiences and reflections on and off the trail. All of these phenomenal athletes are also everyday human beings who stumble, divorce, fail, and struggle like the rest of us—and also find a way to persevere.” – Will Harlan, Editor In CheifI’m excited and crazy nervous. The people and message inside of this book are very dear to me. I appreciate any orders, shares, and encouraging words. Thanks y’all! – Jennifer Pharr DavisJennifer Pharr Davis is an American long-distance hiker, an author, a speaker, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, contributor to Blue Ridge Outdoors and an ambassador for the American Hiking Society. She has hiked more than fourteen thousand miles on six different continents. In 2011, Pharr Davis set the unofficial record for the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail with a time of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes, an average of 47 miles a day, a record she held for four years. Pharr Davis lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, Brew, and their daughter and son, Charley and Gus.  Jennifer Pharr Davis will be hosting several events over the next couple of months including trail runs, readings, and Q&A sessions. To learn more, check out her Facebook Page or Author Profile Page.Hardcover | $27.00Published by VikingApr 10, 2018 | 320 PagesGrab Your Copy Today!last_img read more




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