Issue #002

Summer 2015


Summer is winding down and Montreat has seen its last barn dance, the staff and rangers have departed, the summer cottagers returned to their busy lives.  During the flurry of activity we got to see some of you for the dutch oven dinner or at the Fourth of July.  Some of you we haven’t seen since spring.  However, despite the quiet that has descended upon the valley, the mountains and trails remain.

A number of projects were worked on or completed this summer.  The rangers and other volunteers helped to remark the East Ridge Trail following the fire damage.  The Lookout reroute below the Old Trestle Road is now accepting foot traffic. The rangers also put strong new railing on the Harry Bryan bridge.  Your membership dues helped pay for some of the necessary lumber so if you haven’t had a chance to see the new railings, you might want to wander up that way.  We look forward to finishing up the Lookout Reroute, doing some other important conservation projects, and just hanging out with you this fall.

-Jason Nanz- 

Wilderness Director




Montreat Trail Club

Meeting minutes

August 26, 2015


Time: 7:00-9:00

Location: Pisgah Brewing

Attendance: Reid Kirkpatrick, Summer Kirkpatrick, Jason Nanz, Alex Hutcheson, Sarah Hutcheson, Erin Paparazzo, Jason Paparazzo, Kevin Dagostino, Becky Headly, Hunter, Margaret Willard. (total 11)


  1. Service weekend- Dates set for Friday October 2- Saturday October 3.

    1. Friday Afternoon tour of Lookout Trail to assess trail

    2. Friday Evening Dutch Oven Dinner- Open event for folks who can’t make the whole weekend

    3. Friday Night- camp out at Montreat Campground. Jason Nanz to look into reserving 4 to 5 campsites.

    4. Saturday morning Breakfast

    5. Saturday morning work crew

      1. Native Plant Relocation near the new fences (?)

    6. Saturday lunch

    7. Saturday afternoon work crew

    8. Saturday evening dinner at the Trail Head

    9. Sunday optional trail work (?)

  2. Hike- Location Joyce Kilmer on Saturday, November 7th. 2 hour drive, 1 hour hike, picnic lunch, 2 hour return drive.

  3. Education ideas- (week day afternoon/evening)

    1. Birding (Jim Poling)

    2. Native Fish (One Fly)

    3. Raptor Migration viewing from the parkway (Bill Sanderson)

    4. Endangered Mammals (Friend of Becky Headly)

    5. Edible Fungi (Loris, Friend of Sarah Hutcheson)



Notes on Collecting Firewood;

As the dog days of summer are given relief by the cooling nights, many may find themselves in a flurry of panic as they look out upon their depleted and not yet replenished woodpile.  Those who find themselves in this predicament have postponed the hard, yet rewarding, ritual of collecting their winter's fuel for too long.  Counterintuitive to our instincts after a long winter of stoking the wood stove, your labors are not yet over.  In fact April is the time for wood collecting.  Yet, most find themselves in the cooling days of Autumn looking for seasoned wood to split.   If you are one of these, do not beat yourself up, as I have done, for we all fall guilty of this lack of foresight.  The warming spring outdoor recreation seems to take precedence over outdoor manual labor.  It does bring to mind for me some writing from Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, that I would like to share with you here:  

There are two dangers of not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue.

To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shin while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside.  If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the weekend in town astride a radiator.

In other recollections of human relationship to fire, the Cherokee believed that there was once a large sycamore upon an island, and that it was struck by lightning and that the animals held a council in the darkness of the world to try to decide what to do about it.  Various animals volunteered to attempt to capture the strange fire.  The crow flew across the water to the island and dove on the fire, but it was burned and so is today black and caws with a smoke choked voice.  The black snake went to climb the tree, but was turned back by the heat and remains black to this day.  The raccoon, too, and we know this because of his burned mask.  It was the little spider that scattered across the waters, much to the great doubt of the animal council, and was able to weave a web bowl and pitch a hot coal into it. It struggled to return back to the council, but prevailed, and has ever since born the black body and a red spot that marks where the fire coal had rested, and her bite, too, burns like fire.  She is the black widow, of course.  Then man became the keeper of the fire, and since that time, has been separated from the other animals by it, and can no longer hear them.  

These are things to think about in the season of splitting wood as you let that hickory handled slide down through your hands, and the weight of the maul separate the log into fuel and kindling.  And since the fall is a good time for gathering around the warm light of the fire, below is a diagram on a different sort of fire to lay for your gatherings.  

Building a Top Down Fire

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