48 Hours in Blount County, Tennessee

first_imgBlount County, Tennessee, sits in a sweet spot in the Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) takes up the southeastern third of the county, forming a wild and formidable playground. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, to the northeast, offer a bit of flashing-lights-airbrushed-shirt-kettle-corn reverie (plus Dollywood, a legit excellent amusement park). Knoxville presents city distractions and is an outdoorsy locale in its own right. But Blount County and its pastoral charm, friendly faces and abundant natural distractions—fly fishing, cycling, hiking, tubing (hey, you gotta’ have a little lazy time, right?)—make it the place to be. Pack the cooler, put the bike on the rack and get your road trip playlist queued up, it’s time to head to Tennessee.TubingTownsend_Flickr_JaredTubing Townsend, TN.Day 1Show up early because one way or another, it’s a big first day. Anglers and those with the desire to try fly fishing in a place guaranteed to wow you with the scenery at the very least, head to Maryville, the largest town in Blount County (and home of the airport serving Knoxville and the region), where Frontier Anglers awaits. This fly fishing guide service can point you to some great spots or they can take you out on guided wading or float trips for trout and bass. They fish in the National Park (some prime streams there) or tail waters like the Clinch, Holston and Caney Fork Rivers. (You can also make your 48 hours simple and stick with Frontier for a two-day fishing and camping extravaganza, but save it for another trip). Spend the whole day or part of it on the water, then head to Townsend, 30 minutes east. Or start off with a big hike. How big? Iconic big. The hike to Rocky Top (yes, that Rocky Top) is 12 miles round trip and gets you on the AT, and it makes for a big day (or a speed hike with a return in the dark if you try to make an afternoon of it). The payout is a spectacular view where, on a clear day, you can get an idea of what the Smoky Mountains are all about. Take lunch at Barbob’s Burgermaster Drive-in where a monster burger—and fries ad a shake—will satisfy and fuel you up for the afternoon ahead. The hike to Abram’s Falls, in GSMNP’s Cades Cove, is an easy one—5 miles out and back—so make that the afternoon delight. Drive into the park, make for the 11-mile loop that is Cades Cove and enjoy the crowds (it can become a bit of a traffic jam as people who act as if they’ve never seen a tree or field stop for photos every 100 yards) as you circle to the halfway point of the park and the trailhead. The falls aren’t big, only 20’, but there’s a lot of water flowing over them, which means no swimming as the current is strong at the base of the falls. Hike back to the car and head out of Cades Cove, stopping for another short hike near the picnic area or campground.5810894102_012d65de9c_zCades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Camping in Cades Cove is an option, if you can get a campsite (it fills up fast), but go back to Townsend and stay at one of the cabins, a flashy mountain resort, or one of the bargain-priced chain hotels. Wherever you lay your head, clean up and grab dinner. Trailhead Steakhouse serves a decent steak (and an all you can eat salad bar if you’re feeling the need for roughage), Chicken House has some good fried chicken, and Riverstone Restaurant is one part down-home cooking, one part burgers. Day 2Get up early and go back to Cades Cove. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings from May to late September, the loop is closed to auto traffic until 10 a.m., which means you can rent a bike (get there early, like 6:30 a.m. early to rent a good bike) or bring your own and ride the loop at your own pace and without the threat of gawking drivers who aren’t used to cyclists being around. Riding this early means great photo opportunities, plenty of wildlife (deer, bear, fox…), and the chance to see some of the historic buildings—churches, homesteads, cabins, schoolhouses—before the crowds get there. Bear in mind it is an 11 mile loop, so if you’re not used to cycling, pace yourself.PalmerChurchCadesCove_JasonFryeThe Palmer Church in Cades CoveIf you are used to biking and you brought your own mountain bike, you can do something a little different: ride out of Cades Cove on Rich Mountain Road. You’ll want to shuttle one car to the parking area at the end, near Townsend, and drive you and the bikes to Cades Cove in the morning, but it would make for a fun ride. The road is a wide, gravel track up and over the mountains. Bear, deer and turkey are frequent sights on Rich Mountain Road, and there are a few good overlooks providing panoramic views of the Smokies and Cades Cove. (If you’re feeling like you need a little more of a leg workout, bring your boots and take one of the hikes to Indian Grave Gap or Rich Mountain Trail.) This isn’t singletrack riding, so don’t expect anything technical aside from the gravel surface and the chance encounter with a bear, but it is an unusual ride in the national park.RichMtnIndianGapTrails_JasonFryeRich Mountain Trail.That afternoon, cool off, after all you biked and it’s warm. In Townsend there are five places where you can rent tubes and go for a float on the Little River. It lives up to its name as it’s a gentle float with plenty of places to splash and swim and wash the trail dust off.You can also head underground to Tuckaleechee Caverns where it’s always 58˚. The tour groups can get a little big, but if you’re there later in the season, things slow down a bit (so much so they close for winter and reopen in spring). The cave was discovered by two boys who would slither in and play by the stream running through the cavern, but you don’t have to play nightcrawlers to get in, there’s a nice entrance and a steep set of steps leading into the depths, where you’ll be wowed by the dual nature of the cavern (there’s a wet and dry side) and one humongous room—seriously, it’s almost a cubic football field—where they turn out all the lights and give you a taste of real darkness. The Best of the RestStayDancing Bear LodgeTremont Lodge and ResortBest Western Cades Cove InnDineDancing Bear Appalachian BistroCountry Steak N’ EggsLittle River BBQLibations and NightlifeMake your own, brother. Stop in at The Casual Pint in Maryville for a good selection of bottled beers.Related Content:last_img read more

Passionate curiosity trumps IQ

first_imgAlbert Einstein said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Intellectual curiosity, the passion to grow and to learn, can actually help to develop intelligence and ability. Dr. Carol S. Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, who has researched development, motivation, and personality for decades, tells how those with a “growth mindset” are able to increase their talent, ability and even intelligence. Her research shows that these traits are not fixed, but can be developed and cultivated. With a growth mindset, mistakes and struggles are opportunities to learn and evolve.  Conversely, a “fixed mindset”, the belief that our personal endowments are fixed and that native ability cannot be changed, actually limits our growth. A growth mindset doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is the same or that anyone can be Einstein, but it does mean that almost anyone can become smarter if they work at it.Adopting a growth mindset can begin a transformation. When mistakes are used by leaders and teams as learning opportunities and not judged negatively, this can serve as a foundation for achievement. When leaders set the example of continuous learning for themselves, they enhance the total environment for learning. A culture of learning becomes part of the fabric of the organization and the organization will prosper through everyone’s disciplined commitment to personal and organizational growth.Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence (described as IQ and EQ) are qualities that help us manage complexity. They can be further developed if you are open to developing them and disciplined in their pursuit. Complex environments are overflowing with information, creating more demand for the cognitive and psychological skill to navigate this complexity. A higher IQ enables faster learning and problem solving. Even intelligence can be developed through disciplined perseverance in learning new things.   Neurological research shows that anatomical changes occur in the brain when we learn something new. Additional neural pathways are created and the brain network becomes better integrated.EQ involves the ability to recognize, manage, and express emotion. A mindset of openness to continuous learning can improve these skills as well. Growth in interpersonal skills allows for better navigation through increasing complexity and enhances leadership abilities to create stronger and more trusting interactions. Learning from mistakes allows people to take smart risks to advance themselves and their organizations. They can be more entrepreneurial, proactive and able to exploit opportunities. Increased EQ is also associated with less stress and anxiety.As New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman aptly reports, “The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. They will those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime”.   Einstein’s observation to be passionately curious will serve us well. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Stuart R. Levine Founded in 1996, Stuart Levine & Associates LLC is an international strategic planning and leadership development company with focus on adding member value by strengthening corporate culture.SL&A … Web: www.Stuartlevine.com Detailslast_img read more

Brashear edges Allderdice, USO wins first game

first_imgBIG GAME —Jaylen Coleman of USO rushed for 174 yards and one touchdown in the 25-0 win over Oliver. (Courier Photo/William McBride) by Malik Vincent For New Pittsburgh Courier Allderdice’s trickery on a fake field goal attempt ended their chance of a win with tragic results Sept. 16 at Cupples Stadium.Brashear’s Jamil Smith stepped in front of and caught a lateral on the play that he returned 13 yards for a score with 1:08 left in the game. The 13-10 final margin gave them a 2-0 start in league play. “We knew we were starting off with a tough three games to begin this season,” Brashear Coach Rick Murphy said. “But we still have a lot to do before we can really consider ourselves contenders in the city.”Jesse Irwin opened the scoring for Allderdice (1-1, 1-2), who got off to a fast start, on a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter. They would quickly add to that on a 55-yard interception return by Cornelius Raye. At that point, the Dragons had a 10-0 advantage.Braden Hoffer, Allderdice’s quarterback, was hit at the end of the first quarter and was taken off the field on a stretcher, after suffering a concussion. After that, the Dragons were forced to rely on junior running back Patrick Ferguson to pace the offense. He carried the ball 24 times for 77 yards.It was all Brashear in the second half, who scored on a 15-yard connection from quarterback Adam Lynch to Smith. He finished 8 of 13 passes for 96 yards and two interceptions.“You’ve got to give him credit for being a good athlete,” Murphy said. “(Lynch) is a smart kid who is making good decisions. He’s running around, trying to make things happen with some of the inexperience that we have on our defensive line.”University Prep, Sci-Tech, Obama 25, Oliver 0In the first win in program history, USO shut out a traditionally defensive-minded Oliver team that surrendered 170 yards on 10 carries, including a touchdown run from 65 yards away, by senior Jaylen Coleman during the Sept. 16 afternoon game at Cupples.Coleman dedicated his performance to a friend that he made while he was a student at Gateway over the summer, Darrell Turner.Turner was murdered during the “Team Swag” 7-on-7 tournament summer tour in Raleigh, N.C., during a visit to Duke University. The team was travelling to help the students get looks from Division-I coaches at these visits.“Every time I would get tired or fatigued, I just thought about Darrell,” Coleman said. “He was so heavy on my mind. And I kept thinking to myself throughout the game, ‘do it for Darrell’.”Coleman was also involved in 15 tackles on defense.Miles Catlin opened the scoring for USO with a 44-yard touchdown run. Kevaun Frenzley and Abner Roberts added touchdowns of 13 and 61 yards, respectively.Other games:There were two nonconference games played by City teams on Sept. 17.Langley blew out Homer Center, 45-15. Quarterback Jaquan Green threw 7 touchdowns for the Mustangs. Receiver Marc Wilson was involved in four of them for 94 yards.The defending champions Perry lost big to Fort Hill, Md., 50-13.(Follow our continuing coverage of the city league and add your comments to our website at www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com.) (Malik Vincent can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more

Thurston Regional Planning Council to Conduct South Sound Travel Study

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Thurston Regional Planning CouncilHow should Thurston County and neighboring regions invest in roads, transit options, bike lanes, and other transportation improvements in the coming years? This fall, Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) will be conducting a travel study to help answer that question.Beginning the first week of September and ending in November, thousands of residents throughout the South Sound region will have the opportunity to participate in an important travel study sponsored by TRPC and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The South Sound Travel Study will help transportation agencies better understand the travel habits of residents throughout Thurston County and parts of Pierce County. The information collected in this study is vital for planning and prioritizing improvements to the transportation system.An accurate and up-to-date picture of regional travel patterns in the area will help planning officials at TRPC, WSDOT, Intercity Transit and other local and regional agencies evaluate and prioritize different transportation projects, including highway improvements, expanded bus service, bike and walk improvements, and other projects. “Planning for the region’s transportation system requires data about local travel patterns,” said Lon Wyrick, TRPC Executive Director. “The South Sound Travel Study provides important information that will guide infrastructure and service investments for years to come.”TRPC will use the survey results to evaluate current travel patterns of the resident population, identify local transportation trends, and help develop models to estimate future travel behavior for this region. For example, these survey data will allow TRPC and WSDOT to understand how local household characteristics impact daily travel patterns and how travel patterns of households in rural or south county communities differ from those in the north metro area. It will also help planners understand differences in the travel characteristics of military households compared to non-military households.Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG) and ETC Institute, independent research firms, are administering the survey on behalf of TRPC and WSDOT. A random sample of the region’s households will be invited to participate in the survey. Households are receiving invitations by first-class mail and have the option of completing the questionnaire via an advance web-based survey instrument or via telephone. All individual and household information collected in this study will remain strictly confidential. Planners will use aggregated data for analysis and modeling purposes.For more information on the South Sound Travel Study:–    Study e-mail address: [email protected]–    Phone number: 1-800-401-9786–    Study website: https://southsoundtravel.org–    TRPC project contact: Thera Black (email) [email protected]  (Phone) 360.956.7575last_img read more