FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Denver Post:With a plan to get the majority of its power from renewable energy by 2026, Xcel Energy Colorado on Tuesday celebrated the completion of one of the projects that will help realize that goal — a 300-turbine wind farm that sprawls across five counties on the Eastern Plains.The 600-megawatt Rush Creek Wind Project covers nearly 100,000 acres in five counties: Lincoln, Arapahoe, Elbert, Kit Carson and Cheyenne. It is the largest wind farm in the state and the first large-scale wind farm owned and operated by the utility. Rush Creek was built with all made-in-Colorado turbines, produced in Vestas plants in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor.“It’s a billion-dollar investment. It’s a huge investment for us,” said Kent Larson, Xcel Energy’s executive vice president. “There’s enough wind in these wind turbines that it will serve over 300,000 homes.” Larson, speaking at a site near Limon and to a crowd of Xcel Energy employees, state and local elected officials, construction workers and area residents, said the electricity generated by Rush Creek will cost three cents per kilowatt hour, which should save customers money. He said the wind-fueled power will also eliminate about 1 million tons of carbon dioxide annually that would otherwise be produced.In August, Xcel Energy got the go-ahead from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to pursue its Colorado Energy Plan. The company, Colorado’s largest electric utility, says the plan will cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 60 percent, increase its renewable energy sources to 55 percent of its mix by 2026 and save customers about $213 million.Larson of Xcel Energy said the utility, which operates in eight Western and Midwestern states, plans to have 10,000 megawatts of wind-generated power by 2021. The company currently has 6,674 megawatts of wind power across its system. That doesn’t include Rush Creek. The new wind farm has been generating some electricity the past several months and will begin commercial operations Oct. 31. Construction began in early April 2017. The last turbine was installed early this month. There were about 350 workers at peak construction.More: Xcel Energy opens huge, billion-dollar wind farm on Colorado’s Eastern Plains Xcel completes 600MW Colorado Wind Project
Monthly Archives: December 2020
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Last week, one of the largest solar and battery projects in the world just got one step closer to approval. On Friday the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the colossal Gemini Solar Project, a behemoth planned for 11 square miles of the Nevada desert northeast of Las Vegas off Interstate 15.The paperwork shows few exact details of the project, and it appears that the developers are not even sure if they will use standard or bifacial solar panels. However, buried in the description is a casual mention that there has been an upgrade to the scale of the battery storage component, with a mammoth 531MW /2125 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery planned accompany the 690MWac of solar that will be deployed.This would make it the largest battery system known to pv magazine; larger even than the 409MW/900MWh battery that Florida Power and Light is planning, or the 495MW battery that is planned as part of the Juno Solar project in West Texas – neither of which have yet been installed.It’s not clear exactly who the developer is for the Gemini Solar project, and which of the companies involved are playing what role. The site of the project was originally chosen by concentrating solar power (CSP) developer BrightSource Energy for the APEX Solar Energy Generating Systems. BrightSource appears to have sold off the project in 2017 along with the Solar Partners XI, LLC, the company that is on the paperwork as building Gemini Solar.The publication of the draft EIS now opens a 90-day comment period, which will end on September 5, and will include a series of public meetings. And while President Trump has made public comments dismissing the significance of solar and his administration has openly favored fossil fuels, this does not mean that the Trump Interior Department necessarily plans to put any roadblocks in the way.Assuming it can get all the approvals in time, the developer plans to begin construction in October 2019, and could complete the first phase in 2021, with the remainder of the project planned to come online in 2022 or 2023. Construction is expected to employ up to 900 workers at any given time.More: World’s largest battery system planned for Nevada solar plant Largest battery storage project moves forward in Nevada
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Coal mined from the Powder River Basin, the most productive coal-producing area in the U.S., is expected to decline significantly next year and could pressure companies to close “at least a few” mines there in the early 2020s, Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a note issued Wednesday.Multiple bankruptcy restructurings and a planned joint venture between Arch Coal and Peabody Energy in the PRB have recently changed the region’s competitive landscape. But that has not fundamentally altered its poor overall long-term trajectory, wrote Benjamin Nelson, a vice president and senior credit officer with Moody’s.“Demand for [PRB] coal had surged in the 1990s as an environmentally friendly alternative to higher-sulfur coal from the U.S. east, but coal-fired power plants’ adoption of scrubbers and the retirement of many older units built before the passage of the Clean Air Act has diminished the appeal. [PRB] producers’ credit quality depends heavily on delivered costs, which means some significant factors influencing the competitiveness of [PRB] coal are largely beyond the producers’ control.”The basin produced 342 million [short tons] in 2018. On an annualized basis, based on weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration data through early October, production this year would total 306 million [short tons].Nelson also pointed out that the entire coal industry faces significant risk due to investors increasingly focusing on issues related to environmental, social and governance factors. The PRB is particularly susceptible because the coal mined there is used primarily for power generation.With many generators phasing out coal use in the U.S. and relatively few export outlets for the area, producers may have little choice but to throttle back production. Nelson noted that all of the companies rated by Moody’s are focusing on metallurgical coal production from other regions.More: Moody’s expects Powder River Basin coal mine closures in early 2020s Moody’s expects coal mine closures in U.S. Powder River Basin region in near future
A massive toxic waste spill has flooded the creeks and rivers of Transylvania County in North Carolina. Anyone coming into contact with the polluted water exhibits “zombie-like” behavior (pale skin, excessive moaning, eating of human flesh), so authorities are urging people to stay indoors. But the water levels are up, so naturally, kayakers go boating.That’s the premise of Night of the Living Donkey, the latest film from pro kayakers-cum-movie makers Spencer Cooke and Joey Hall. Several years ago, Spencer Cooke broke new ground in the kayak film industry by helping to create Lunch Video Magazine (LVM), a video-based paddling magazine you could subscribe to and have delivered straight to your home. Today, after selling his share of LVM, Cooke is hoping to shake up the industry yet again by eschewing the standard paddling porn formula with his feature-length movies and giving kayakers what they really want through his new website: free, high-quality paddling movies.“The same old kayaking movie keeps getting made over and over,” Spencer Cooke says. “All the antics in both videos, including the zombie scenes, are my way of breaking up the formula. To me, without the fun stuff in between the paddling, kayaking videos lose their luster. I do enjoy watching kayaking, don’t get me wrong, but I’d much rather watch some paddler doing some cool rapids, surfing some nice waves, and then see them pull down their pants and sit on a birthday cake.”Cooke hasn’t filmed that particular scene yet, but he has filmed pro kayakers getting eaten by zombies, a paddler giving a public service announcement while wearing a penguin suit (“Kids, don’t hug strangers. Even if a stranger is wearing a penguin suit, don’t hug him.”), and interviews with the great Heehaw Jones, a fictional “uber pro boater” who is so overwhelmed by his own awesomeness, he’s convinced himself he’s the first kayaker ever to paddle China. Scenes like these are spliced together in Cooke’s two most recent films, Enter the Donkey and Night of the Living Donkey. Long-time LVM boater Chris Gragtmans also helped produce Enter the Donkey. The Donkey films manage to avoid the stale paddling porn formula by infusing kayaking footage with Saturday Night Live-style vignettes. Night of the Living Donkey even includes a thread of plot: zombies are attacking boaters. It is the world’s first kayaking horror film.“The concept was completely ridiculous, so we had to do it,” Joey Hall says. “A lot of people aren’t gonna get it, and that’s cool. As much as we like entertaining people, we like irritating them just as much. It’s kayaking. It’s supposed to be fun.”Cooke says the vignettes were as much fun to film as the paddling footage and believes they’ll make a lasting impression on the viewer. “Ask people what they remember about Enter the Donkey or Night of the Living Donkey, and they’ll say Heehaw Jones, penguins, cat whisperer. Even I forget what paddling footage made it in the movies.”Cooke and Hall wanted to breathe new life into the paddling porn formula with the Donkey series, but Cooke hopes to break entirely new ground with his website Rapid Transit (rapidtransitvideo.com), which hosts short paddling films produced by professional videographers hand-selected by Cooke himself. Forget the shaky paddling films you see on Youtube; Rapid Transit features high-quality shorts produced by some of the best up and coming filmmakers in kayaking. And you get to watch them for free.“Thanks to our sponsors Mion and Riot, viewers watch nicely produced kayak shorts for nothing,” Cooke says. “Some videos may be two minutes, others may be ten, but they’re all free. You can even get the featured videos onto your iPod if you subscribe to the free video podcast.”Cooke hopes that by gathering several different producers on one site and eliminating the $25 price tag often associated with paddling films, he can create a new hub for kayaking films and fill a much-needed niche in the industry, just as he did by creating LVM.“With Rapid Transit I’m doing something completely different than LVM, but it will have just as big of an impact,” Cooke says. “It’s a completely new concept. And let’s face it, if kayaking videos are free, paddlers are interested.”Watch the Video
Let’s get one thing straight: Recumbent bicycles aren’t for nerds. Sure, these odd-looking bicycles may have gotten that reputation somewhere along the way (maybe it’s because recumbents typically look like patio loungers on wheels, or maybe it’s the tricycle association–most recreational recumbents have three wheels), but the recumbent bike that I’m riding at 32 mph down a country road on the edge of Pisgah National Forest is not nerdy. I’m going too damn fast and having too much fun for this thing to be considered nerdy. I come out of a corner, lay on the throttle to push the electric motor to its limit and start pedaling hard. On a long straightaway, I get a kick out of watching the speedometer creep up…33, 34…before pulling up to the stoplight next to Tommy Ausherman, who’s also rocking a recumbent.“Well? he asks.“I feel like I’m 12, and I just discovered go-karts,” I tell him.24-year-old Ausherman is the founder of FFR Trikes, a company that builds these very sleek, very fast, decidedly non-nerdy electric-powered recumbent bicycles. The machines are geared to top out in the 35 mph range, will go up to 40 miles on a single charge, and can be plugged into any wall socket and recharge within an hour. The model I’m riding is the Transition One, so-named because Ausherman and his partners think this is the vehicle that can help Americans transition out of their cars.“The average trip Americans take is under 10 miles,” says Jesse Lee, one of the FFR Trikes partners. “Commuting to work, going to the coffee shop, the grocery store…this thing is perfect.”Ausherman created his first electric trike out of a very practical need. He was going to school at Appalachian State University, commuting five miles each way on his mountain bike, and getting blown off the road by cars and trucks. But a parking permit at the school was $500, so getting a car was out.“I wanted a bike that could keep up with traffic, so I built this 22-pound electric engine and threw it on my steel Trek mountain bike,” Ausherman says. “Going that fast on an upright is a bit scary, and you’ve got wind drag issues, so I looked into the recumbent.”Recumbent bicycles are far more aerodynamic than upright bikes, more stable at high speeds, and typically go much faster even without the assistance of a motor because the cyclist is using larger muscle groups (pedaling a recumbent is like doing leg presses). Ausherman bought an off-road steel recumbent, attached his self-designed rechargeable engine, and FFR Trikes was born.He’s put 8,000 miles on that first model and sold half a dozen others to customers in the last two years. The model I tested has a solid steel frame, burly BMX tires, mountain bike components, and a three-pound, svelte engine designed by Ausherman and Lee and built by one of their partners in a machine shop in Charlotte. It has a rack to hold panniers, and another attachment to tow an upright bike off the tail. And it corners like a dream. Lean into a turn and squeeze the inside differential brake, and you can whip these little machines around a tight mountain switchback like a redneck on a crotch-rocket. You get all this for just under $6,000, roughly the price of a really, really nice mountain bike.Given the versatility and speed of the trikes, Ausherman is hoping his machines will catch on as an alternative to the second family car. “This model addresses a lot of the stumbling blocks that have kept other electric bikes from catching on in America,” he says. “Most electric bikes top out at 20 mph, not fast enough to ‘take the lane’ on surface streets. But the Transition One was designed to keep up with traffic. It bridges the gap between the electric bike and the electric car. Plus, it’s a blast.”Therein lies the true genius behind the FFR Trike Transition One. It’s fun in a way that other practicality-minded electric bikes and electric cars aren’t. On the Transition One, you’re low to the ground, you’re going fast, and you’re completely exposed to the elements. It’s a combination that is absolutely exhilarating and it makes me believe this trike would shine on a Blue Ridge Parkway ride or ripping along a forest road deep inside Pisgah National Forest.“I’d love to see this catch on as an adventure vehicle,” Ausherman says. “It’s a great shuttle vehicle, and it’s a lot more fun to get to the top of a trailhead in this than in a car. It’s like riding a motorcycle, but there’s more physical involvement.”He’s created a road-worthy, pedal-assisted vehicle that you can ride for 40 miles on a single charge, plug into any socket for an hour and ride 40 miles back. And the Transition One is just the beginning.“I’m always pushing in the shop, trying to figure out how fast and how far we can go.”To the LimitStill think recumbents are geeky? Consider this: recumbent bicycles are so fast, they were banned from international racing in the ‘30s. And the human-powered bike speed record was set by a recumbent cyclist. Sam Whittingham pedaled his svelte recumbent to a top speed of 82.3 miles per hour on a very flat road in Nevada in 2008.Watch the video of Whittingham’s record ride.
The World’s Waters Are Becoming Corrosive to Critical Marine Life. Is Time Running Out to Save our Oceans?The oceans do a lot of the Earth’s dirty work. On a given day, they will absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), a third of the global output. In doing so they help to keep climate change in check, but they also pay a heavy toll as a result.Increasing levels of carbon in the ocean are making the water more acidic, and that’s beginning to have an impact on shellfish, corals and some of the tiniest shell-making marine organisms that are essential to the ocean food web. The June 2012 issue of E – The Environmental Magazine (now posted at www.emagazine.com) takes a closer look at the phenomenon of “ocean acidification,” the process by which levels of CO2 are rising, changing the chemistry of the ocean, and the ways this is impacting sea creatures on which mankind depends.Shellfish farmers in Washington and Oregon were some of the first to sound the alarm about ocean acidification. In 2006, hatchery-produced oyster larvae began to die off, despite their controlled and monitored environments. The two largest oyster hatcheries — which supply seedling to the majority of West Coast oyster farmers — lost between 60% and 80% of their larvae. Through ocean monitoring, the farmers discovered that the pH had fallen enough to make the water too corrosive for the oysters to form shells.Once the problem was identified, shellfish farmers were able to take precautions — such as waiting to fill tanks following a north wind when upwelling causes corrosive water to rise to the surface. But in the open ocean, there are no quick fixes for ocean acidification.“A lot of things we like to eat have these calcium carbonate shells and they’re very sensitive to acidification,” says Richard Feely, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). “Just a small drop in pH can cause the shells to begin to dissolve. It turns out that for many of these species, the larval and juvenile stages are much more sensitive than the adults. And we’re finding that they can die off quite rapidly even with the kinds of changes that we’re seeing right now.”One of the most serious threats posed by ocean acidification is to corals — marine animals that need carbonate ions to form their skeletons. During ocean acidification, CO2 sinks into the water and releases hydrogen ions which combine with carbonate ions, making them unavailable to the shell- and exoskeleton-making creatures that need them.“There have been a lot of studies showing that under ocean acidification scenarios corals and other organisms on the reef calcify at a slower rate,” says Davey Kline, Ph.D., a coral reef ecology expert at the University of Queensland in Australia. “Even with just a little less growth, the corals can be tipped into these situations where they’re getting eroded faster than they can grow and the reefs start to dissolve.”Coral reefs are already at risk from pollution, development, overfishing and warming waters as a result of global warming. Ocean acidification may be the final stressor that pushes them into extinction. The most recent report on reef health — Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008 — found that 19% of coral reefs were already lost, 15% were in a critical state with loss possible within a decade or two, and 20% could be lost in 20 to 40 years. “If we continue on the trajectory that we’re currently at,” says Kline, referring to unchecked global emissions, “we will lose reefs as we know them.”The impacts of a world without reefs would be profound. The estimated net global value of reefs is $29.8 billion per year, and reefs provide essential work in protecting shorelines from storm damage, providing a home to one million species and offering new sources of medicine to treat everything from cancer to arthritis.There are certainly local solutions, including designating marine protected areas to at least minimize the stresses on coral reefs in light of global warming and ocean acidification. But any major solution to keeping ocean acidification from further threatening our oceans and its inhabitants needs to involve a global agreement for keeping emissions in check — something that, despite the warning signs, seems oceans away.————————————————————E – The Environmental Magazine distributes 50,000 copies six times per year to subscribers and bookstores. Its website, www.emagazine.com, enjoys 150,000 monthly visitors. E also publishes EarthTalk, a nationally syndicated environmental Q&A column distributed to 1,850 newspapers, magazines and websites throughout the U.S. and Canada. Single copies of E’s May/June 2012 issue are available for $5 postpaid from: E Magazine, P.O. Box 469111, Escondido, CA 92046. Subscriptions are $19.95 per year, available at the same address.
Your daily outdoor news update for November 7th, the day the coolest guy to ever escape the Nazis on a motorcycle in a movie died in 1980:National Parks Free This WeekendThis Monday is Veterans Day in the United States, and in honor of the occasion the National Park Service will wave all national parks fees throughout the weekend, November 9 through 11, for all visitors. The connection between our military and our national parks is long and intricate. Places like Mount Rushmore, the National Mall, Civil and Revolutionary war battlefields, and other historic sites all fall under the National Park Service authority, and make up the fabric of the U.S. military veterans fight for and come home to. Check out this video featuring a combat vet and park ranger speaking to the connection, and check out the NPS event calendar to find Veterans Day themed events in Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, and other parks in the region. This is also a great opportunity to show support for our parks and our park rangers and staff following that unfortunate incident when the government shut down. Remember that? Feels like it was only weeks ago….wait….Honor our veterans this weekend by enjoying a national park, any national park, and if you see a veteran, shake their hand and thank them for your freedom.WNC Reps U.S. on WaterWe move from fighting for U.S. freedom, to fighting fish for the U.S. – a stretch of a segue, but whatever. Three western North Carolina anglers were named to the 2013 Fly Fishing Team USA, a team that consists of only 15 anglers in total. That’s 20 percent of the team from WNC, for those of you scoring at home. Paul Bourcq of Franklin, Brown Hobson of Black Mountain, and Scott Enloe of Hudson secured spots on the team at the National Fly Fishing Championships in Basalt, Colorado this past October, beating out 55 other competitors for the coveted spots. Team North Carolina was heavily represented at the Championships, with 11 members competing, more than any other regional team. Three more WNC anglers also qualified for the U.S. team, but were too young – under 18 – to compete in the Worlds, a testament to the rise in youth fishing in the Southeast. So what is it about fly fishing in North Carolina that makes these guys some of the best in the land? Must be something in the water. Right? Right? Right, guys?BRP Crack WeatherThat pesky crack in the Blue Ridge Parkway will close the byway again between milepost 376 and milepost 355, this is a section between Asheville and Mount Mitchell State Park. Parkway officials say this project will be a permanent repair, as oppose to the temporary bypass lanes and detours set up over the summer, when the crack first appeared.On a more positive note, the Blue Ridge Parkway will now have its own weather website. A partnership between the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Appalachian State University, and RaysWeather.com produces BRPweather.com and BRPwebcams.com to keep tabs on the weather along the length of the 469-mile road. Through a system of eight cameras and 22 weather stations, visitors will be able to view live weather and road conditions, custom forecasts, video, and radar images. Given the nature of the roadway, this will help visitors understand why the Parkway is closed in certain sections when there does not appear to be any bad weather, ice or snow. This will also help people plan outings and experience the Parkway more safely in general.
These 12 summer swimming holes in the Blue Ridge are beneath some of the most iconic waterfalls in the South. From roadside quick hits to daylong hiking trips, pack your towel, your suit, and a camera and get to dippin’!Blue Hole FallsHelen, Ga.Accessibility: Moderate / 2.7-mile round-trip hikeThe hike to Blue Hole Falls takes visitors past two of Georgia’s most scenic waterfalls, the 50-foot High Shoals Falls and the smaller 20-foot Blue Hole Falls. The rolling trail is lined with moss and fluorescent-green foliage, winding alongside High Shoals Creek. Although this is a popular spot in the summertime, if you can find time to hike out to the falls during the week or early in the day, you’ll likely have the place to yourself.COMPRESSION FallsElk Mills, Tenn.Accessibility: Strenuous / 1.4-mile round-trip hikeSituated about four miles downstream of the more-popular Elk River Falls, Compression Falls is an equally stunning waterfall on the Elk River that fewer folks know of. It’s a short hike down to the river, but it’s no walk in the park. Steep and rocky, the most dangerous part about swimming here is the hike in and out. The 30-foot falls are great for the adventurous kind to take the leap off of, and the river-left side of the falls provides just enough of a ledge to slide off of.CUMMINS FALLSCookeville, Tenn.Accessibility: Easy / 2.5-mile round-trip hikeStunning. That’s about the only thing you can think when you see the cathedral-like display at Cummins Falls on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River. Located in the heart of Tennessee’s Cummins Falls State Park, Cummins Falls drops 75 feet and trickles down over a series of stone stair ledges. This is a popular one, so don’t expect to come here and have the place to yourself (although if you get there early enough and don’t mind the cold, you just might be able to get a moment or two of solitude).BLUE HOLE FALLSElizabethton, Tenn.Accessibility: Easy / 0.5-mile round-trip hikeYep, there’s another Blue Hole Falls—this one in Tennessee. Although not nearly as large in size, this series of four cascades on Holston Mountain exemplifies the most picturesque combination of mountain laurel, rhododendron, and crystal clear water. Just a short hike from the trailhead parking lot, these falls can sometimes receive too much traffic, so remember to practice Leave No Trace principles when visiting (i.e. dispose of waste properly). Blue Hole Falls is the most popular destination for swimmers, but the other falls upstream of this one are just as idyllic.BAD BRANCH FALLSWhitesburg, Ky.Accessibility: Moderate / 2.5-mile round-trip hikeAt the heart of Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve in Kentucky stands this dramatic 60-foot waterfall, formed by the mighty Bad Branch River. Hikes to and from this waterfall destination can vary in difficulty and length, as the Pine Mountain Trail runs right through the preserve and out along the Pine Mountain ridgeline. Although the pool at the base of the falls isn’t deep enough for a total full-body submersion, you can always slide your way toward the roaring curtain of water for the most extreme shower you’ve ever had in your life.HARPER CREEK FALLSMortimer, N.C.Accessibility: Moderate / 3-mile round-trip hikeNestled in the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area, Harper Creek Falls affords swimming hole enthusiasts two large, deep pools at the bottoms of two very breathtaking drops. The upper falls are typically where adrenaline junkies will take their leap from since the lip of the lower falls are a little more difficult to access. Use caution when wading around here as the slippery rocks around the trail and at the top of the falls have been the source of a number of spills.LOWER FALLSRobbinsville, N.C.Accessibility: Strenuous / 6.6-mile round-trip hikeLower Falls in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness portion of the Nantahala National Forest is a must-visit for anyone looking to escape the crowds and find a little peace. The hike down to the falls is rocky and steep, involving two over-the-knee creek crossings. Pay special attention to the trail blazes; it’s easy to get turned around. Consider packing your goggles and snorkel, as this is a prime area to explore the diverse life above and below the falls.COURTHOUSE FALLSBrevard, N.C.Accessibility: Easy / 0.8-mile round-trip hikePowerful and peaceful, Courthouse Falls in Pisgah National Forest perfectly embodies the nature of rivers. This out-and-back hike takes you to the base of the 40-foot falls and the dense canopy of trees overhead makes this swimming spot one of the best places to cool down on a blistering hot day. The parking lot only fits about six cars, but due to the easy accessibility, this place gets packed on a sunny weekend.SANDSTONE FALLSSandstone, W.Va.Accessibility: Easy / 0.5-mile round-trip hikePractically roadside, these river-wide waterfalls are the largest in the New River Gorge and are a must-see for visitors in the area. Great for fishing, paddling, and swimming, Sandstone Falls literally spans the entire breadth of the New River (1,500 feet wide, to be exact) and is pockmarked with small rock islands that are great to explore when the river is low.KANAWHA FALLSGauley Bridge, W.Va.Accessibility: Moderate / 5-minute paddleWhy hike when you can paddle? Shed those boots for your bare feet and hop on an inner tube, SUP, kayak, whatever your craft of preference, and paddle out to Kanawha Falls. Formed at the confluence of the New and Gauley Rivers, the waterfalls at Kanawha stretch across the entire width of the river and form small alcoves that are great for exploring in the summertime. Because you need a floating craft of some sort (or really strong swimming skills) to reach the falls, this area is usually pretty tourist-free and you can often have the place to yourself even on a weekend.LITTLE STONY CREEK FALLSCoburn, Va.Accessibility: Moderate / 2.8-mile round-trip hikeThe Little Stony National Recreation Trail offers hikers the chance to make a day of exploring this Virginia gem and takes visitors along the 400-foot-deep Little Stony Creek gorge. The trail starts at the most recognized of the three total waterfalls here, the 24-foot Little Stony Creek Falls. It is here where you can chase that rush and jump from the top into the deep pool below. The two smaller falls farther along the trail are also great stops and are visited less frequently than the area’s namesake.ADAMS FALLSDingmans Ferry, Penn.Accessibility: Moderate / 2.3-mile round-trip hikeA tributary of the Delaware River, Adams Creek winds blissfully through Ricketts Glen State Park in northern Pennsylvania, one of the few state parks in the region that can boast over 24 named waterfalls. The hike to Adams Falls is incredibly scenic and relatively short, but visitors can connect to the main falls trail to view even more cascades and pool hop their way farther into the park. Although this spot is at the northernmost stretch of our region, it should definitely be on everyone’s waterfall bucket list.
Jack of all trades, master of all.Those words came to mind the first time I saw Will Carter play.Carter had come to town with Knoxville singer/songwriter Erick Baker to play a house party at the home of one of my best friends. When I walked into the living room, where the music was to take place, there was a rack of instruments lying in wait that would have made most bands envious and a host of roadies tired; guitars, a dobro, a mandolin, a trumpet, and maybe even more than I can immediately recall. Not knowing all of the logistics for the show, I had to think for a moment about where all the guys playing all these instruments were going to stand.Turns out that wasn’t a worry, as they were all played by Will Carter, and he kicked ass on all of them.Hailing from Knoxville, Carter has made a name for himself as a sideman and session player extraordinaire. His instrumental dexterity has earned him time in the studio or on the road with the likes of Jackson Browne, Ashley Campbell, Avicci, and Sturgill Simpson, among many others.Now, though, Will Carter has mosied over to center stage, having released his debut record, Half Past Heartbreak,” last month. Rooted in Carter’s prodigious playing and singer/songwriter sensibility and delivered with a delightful country twang, this new record serves notice that, while always fantastic playing other people’s music, Carter’s music deserves all of our full attention.I recently caught up with Will Carter to chat about the new record, his switch to center stage, and his incredible beard.BRO – How are you handling the transition from side man to front man?WC – I keep waiting on someone to tell me to turn it down.BRO – You play a number of instruments. Do you have a go-to for songwriting, or do certain songs call for certain instruments?WC – I prefer to start songs without any instruments at all. Just vocals. Usually, a melody or a couple of lines will come into my head while I’m driving or something. Then, I take that idea to an instrument and work it out.BRO – Got a particular guitar in your collection that you have a hard time keeping your hands off?WC – It’s always the ones that aren’t in my collection YET that seem to be my downfall! Out of the current stash, it would be a tie between my 1947 D-18 and a recently acquired 1965 Gibson Trini Lopez.BRO – We are featuring “Cadillac” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?WC – It’s a true story about a friend of my grandparents. Everything else you need to know is in there.BRO – And I have to ask you about that epic beard. When’s the last time you saw your face?WC – My mom made me shave for my tenth birthday party. That was the last time.You can catch Will Carter – and his glorious beard – in Johnson City, TN, on September 9th and in Knoxville on September 17th. For more on Will and his new record, make sure you check out his website.Also, be sure to check out “Cadillac,” which is featured alongside tracks from Amanda Shires, Chatham County Line, Luke Winslow-King, and more, on this month’s Trail Mix.
This is it, the ICEMULE Pro™ backpack cooler, clocking in at 23 liters of beer haulin’, ice-keeping performance. The Large Pro can easily load up with 18 cans + ice, making it ideal for a day on the boat or a tailgate before the game (don’t worry – if you need to haul more, ICEMULE offers two larger sizes). No other soft cooler out there is easier to carry, easier to load up and easier to unload. Plus, the Pro is built out of extra tough 1000 denier tarpaulin, so it can take a beating as well as any hard cooler. Price: Starting at $99