Entries For: May 2008
Yesterday I turned over my book Hiking North Carolina's Blue Ridge Heritage to my publisher Milestone Press. Officially, they're Milestone Press but really they're Mary Ellen Hammond and Jim Parham. It's a small operation with lots of skill and personal attention. But they don't try to do it all; they hire expertise.
Turning over a guidebook to your publisher is not like turning over a novel. Besides the actual manuscript, i.e. the text, there are pictures, captions for the pictures and maps from my GPS. I wanted to make sure that they had all the pieces. Also, I gave them input for their marketing effort.
So I put everything on a thumb drive, loaded everything on my laptop as well and drove two hours to their office in Almond, west of Bryson City. Handing over the manuscript was a cathartic experience.
But it's not done. That's why they call it a draft. After they edit, they're going to have lots of questions. No matter how much I checked and rechecked, Mary Ellen and Jim will find inconsistencies and mistakes. I may have to rehike one or more hikes. That's OK. That's the best part.
Pinkshell Azaleas on Pilot Mountain
If you go on the Art Loeb Trail toward Pilot Mountain right now, and I mean now, you'll see a spectacular display of pinkshell azaleas. These native bushes have bright pink flowers which open before their leaves come out.
These pinkshells are considered rare because they're native to only ten mountain counties in Western North Carolina. But when you go there at the right time, they're not rare at all. Everywhere I turned as I climbed from Gloucester Gap, I saw pink, pink and more pink. I met Elizabeth and Heinz Feil, serious hikers and nature lovers, who were hosting family members from overseas. They took them up the mountain to show them what was special about the North Carolina mountains.
The view from Pilot Mountain is awesome - from Mt. Hardy and further into Nantahala National Forest on one side to Mt. Pisgah and Looking Glass Rock on the other. But that view can be enjoyed anytime. Now is the time to see the pinkshells.