Friday, October 28, 2011

FGR - 10/28/2011 - Who's Ready to Win Some Stuff?

Seriously, who's ready to win some stuff? There's a few great giveaways going on in the outdoor blog-o-realm so let's get right down to business shall we? First up over at Live Free and Hike New Hampshire, our buddy Karl has two copies of Following Atticus to give away to two lucky readers. It looks like these are hard back copies and they would make for a great gift for someone, or better yet a wonderful edition to your own personal library. You have until Nov. 11 before Karl picks the two lucky winners so get over to his blog for all the entry details.

Next up, Trail Sherpa has launched it's first gear review, offered by none other than our lead sherpa Tim Miner. He's reviewed the Geigerig Hydration System and in so doing has decided to celebrate the first gear review post on Trail Sherpa by giving away a Geigerig 1600 day pack with inline filter. How awesome is that? Pretty dang sweet if you ask me. Like the first giveaway mentioned, there are multiple entries available for this one, but you only have until Nov 3rd to get them in so head over to the review post and get entered now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

Robin and I have been very fortunate in our outdoor blogging exploits. We've won some sweet gear, been on some wonderful hikes, seen some awe inspiring places, and above all else, have met some really great people along the the way. One person in particular that we have had the pleasure of getting acquainted with and knowing more and more is Tom Ryan and his four-legged companion, Atticus M. Finch. For our Tennessee fans and readers, as well as any of our fans and readers, if you've been living under a rock or somehow missed our postings on Facebook and Twitter about Tom and Atticus, then let us take the opportunity to tell you why you should get and read their book, "Following Atticus".

Tom Ryan is a master wordsmith. An ex-newspaper man from Newburyport, Mass. Tom has an uncanny knack for writing in a way that makes you feel as if you were there with him in his recently published book "Following Atticus." Considering that I can only dream to be half the writer Tom is, I can't begin to convey how wonderful this book is. I think Tom's words speak for themselves. But let me warn you, this is not just a book about a dog. It's not just a book about adventure. The mystery is never rectified. But you will be left with a heart-warming sensation - a newly acquired approach to the way you view life - and probably even the lives of the pets you love.

To be quite honest, for me to try and describe the book wouldn't do it much justice. It really does speak for itself and you'll just have to read it to see. However, I guarantee once you have read it, you'll be glad you did, for it will fill you with so much joy and inspiration.

This book definitely has it all. It will send you on a roller coaster ride of emotions in just a couple of chapters and back again. The relationship shared by Tom and Atticus, and between the two of them and everyone and everything they encounter together along the way is something not to look lightly upon, for this is the way I believe we should all live our lives.

Seriously, go buy the book. Then go home, put on your pj's, grab a mug of cocoa, and lose yourself in the White Mountains, the bond between man and beast, and the world they share from their eyes. Better yet, hike to a mountain or a forest glen and read it. If you don't fall in love with these two "characters" then maybe I'm missing something. You can order a copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or from various other merchants. Also be sure to check out their blog: The Adventures of Tom and Atticus. You can also keep up with the duo on Facebook and Twitter for that matter. If you're still not convinced, check out the trailer for their book below:

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin

P.S. To Tom and Atticus: Thank you guys for sharing your adventures with us. It's always refreshing to see you two facing the impossible and showing us all that it's really not as bad as it seems. In reading the book, I see so many similarities in my life in so many ways that you have described in yours, Tom. It's actually kind of heartwarming. Continue the good work and keep up the good fight you two. We look forward to the next adventure.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why no posts??

I know what you're asking... "Hey Appalachia and Beyond! Where've you been?? Don't you do anything fun anymore?!?" Well, to be quite honest, we've been really busy with baby, and I suppose it's time for me to air out the nest a little bit. There's been quite a bit going on that we've kept to ourselves - or rather, I've made Tim keep to ourselves - mainly because I've been hoping it would clear up on it's own, blow over, go away, miraculously disappear, etc.

But now it's time to realize that it's not going to be so. Because of that, we want our readers to know that if they sense a lack of involvement on our part, it's only because we are being very diligent and involved in the health of our baby girl. There are certain things I can't do right now - and certain things Tim doesn't want to do without me because he feels the need to stick close to home in case we need him. All of this is so very new to me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our First Trail Post On Trail Sherpa

As some of you may know, we are contributors for We were invited by Tim Miner to join the team of contributors and we gladly accepted as it would be a mutually beneficial relationship. Well our first trail report has just been posted on the site. This trail is the Ewing Trail up to White Rocks in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.

Once you see the trail report, you might be wondering, "How on Earth did Robin make it up that trail and 8 months pregnant?" We did this trail last year and decided since we haven't been out on the trail since our trip to Judge Branch, we'd do a write up on White Rocks. We hadn't done a report for this hike because we hiked up to White Rocks well before the "Blog Revitalization" effort back in October last year.

Anyway, head on over to and check out our report. While you're there, if you aren't already a member, sign up and join the fun. There's plenty of like minded people who love the outdoors and hiking. You won't be disappointed.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin

Friday, October 14, 2011

FGR - 10/14/2011 - Fall Portraits and Festivals

Ahhh, the weekend is almost here. Another few hours and we can all breathe easier and relaxing knowing that the outdoors awaits our presence. This weekend should have plenty to offer for most, it is fall after all and there's plenty going on if you know where to look. Trails abound with color, and I'm sure there are plenty of Corn Fields that have mazes carved into them that you can try out. Just don't end up lost like the one couple we've heard about this past week (Thanks Dave for the heads up on that one. I agree with one blog I've read on that one, the dad has lost his man card permanently). We will likely be heading up to our favorite little town of Rogersville, TN for their Heritage Days festival at some point. We also have some fall portraits to make of Ashby and possibly our other rugrat, Jodi, not to mention some maternity portraits of Robin and the babe. So we hope you all get out and enjoy the weather and the colors. Until then, here are the latest, spectacular giveaways in the outdoor blogosphere this week.

5 Tips for Fall Foliage Photography

We've all seen them. Those gorgeous fall photos that easily make it into magazines but don't seem to easily reproduce themselves on our memory cards. What we see with our eyes is rarely what we bring home and plug into our computer. So, how can you get your camera (yes, ANY camera) to soak in all those glorious autumnal pigments?

Diffused Light
Don't discount those overcast days. In fact, they are the best ones to photograph in. You've probably heard this time and time again, but if you haven't tried it yet, now's the time. The diffused light cuts down on the contrast, and the soft, diffused light actually enhances color. But don't put your camera away if it's bright and sunny either. Just make sure you are shooting with the sun at your back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apples, Oranges, and 5K's

We hope everyone had a chance to get out this weekend to enjoy the perfect fall weather. It was perfect for most of us out in the east here, but I did see where there was some snow out west. Yikes! Snow in October?! I know that's not totally unheard of here but it would be unusual. Anyway, the leaves are turning color more and more each day. We are nearing peak around here in the East Tennessee Valley. From Cumberland Gap to Cherokee National Forest and down to Knoxville, the colors are magnificent. It won't be long before "Old Man Winter" is knocking on our doors. So if you haven't yet, you better get out and enjoy this weather before it gets too cold.

That's exactly what we did this past weekend, and look forward to doing just that over the next few weekends. We started the weekend by heading out to Coalfield, TN for the Coalfield 5K supporting the Coalfield Cross Country team. The race started at 8:00am and ran through a subdivision next to the school then through the cross country trail on the school grounds, back in front the school and down another road before turning around and heading back to the school for the finish. It was a pretty fast course with a nice little uphill just after the start. Then there was a nice 1.5 miles or so on the trail the cross country team uses to practice on. It's a graveled trail with a couple of foot bridges and two covered bridges. After the trail, it's back to the road and a slight up hill just before heading back to the finish at the school.

Friday, October 7, 2011

FGR - 10/7/2011 - Who's Racing This Weekend

The weekend is finally here and tonight we eat pasta. I can't wait. If you haven't read the last post then you maybe wondering why I'm so excited to be eating pasta. Well aside from it being one of my most favorite things next to peanut butter, funnel cake, need I go on? It's the pre-race meal. You see, tomorrow I'm running in the Coalfield 5K tomorrow, so tonight is fueling night and pasta is what the doctor ordered. Is anyone else participating in any races or events this weekend? If so what are your pre-race rituals/meals/activities? With all this talk of races and stuff, I think it's time to get down to the real business of the post and start highlighting the giveaways going on in the realm this week.

Okay, well to be quite honest, I haven't seen a whole lot of giveaways going on this week. There are a few going on at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine online. You can head over and get entered for those. They always have some pretty cool prize packs including trips, etc.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Autumn Activities in East Tennessee

October is such a great month. It's almost as good as September. You start to feel a little nip in the night air. The leaves start to change colors, and harvest festivals are available to all who look for them. Football season is already well underway, but hiking and festival season is just getting cranked up.

Last weekend was the Newport Harvest Street Festival. We went, walked around the town center, and quickly left. I hope this doesn't set a precedence for the other festivals we plan on attending for the next few weekends. Honestly though, we went last year and this time around, it really seemed to be more of a junk sale or there were too many booths for those who wanted to make a small buck selling by their gold, and not near as many crafters as we remembered from last year. Anyway, we decided people-watching in Gatlinburg would be more fun and I had an itch to check out NOC's new Great Outpost in Gatlinburg, located on the main drag just before you enter the Great Smoky Mountains. That place is huge and has all the outdoor gear you could possibly want, albeit at a much higher price than you can normally find online for most things.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello October - Thank You Bloggers

October is here and we all know that means time for leaf peeping around these parts. Here the leaves are starting to turn. The Dogwoods have turned their normal dark red and other low lying trees as well. Up high in the mountains, the leaves are turning as well. Another week, and the autumn colors will be in full regalia showing off their grandeur. If you're anything like us, then you are out and about every chance you get hiking, attending festivals, or any other outdoor activity that affords you the opportunity to enjoy the brilliance of Autumn. So if you haven't already, get those plans together to get outdoors and enjoy the show. You can always check here for ideas and events for where to find prime leaf color viewing spots and of course any of the other numerous outdoor blogs out in the web-a-sphere.

Speaking of other outdoor blogs, that brings to the main reason for this post. Being that the first of October has finally made it here, it's time again to say thank you to the many outdoor bloggers with whom we've forged relationships with and in turn send traffic our way via links on their sites. So without further ado, let us thank the following blogs/outdoor websites and their owners for doing what they do best and for being our friends:
Thank you all for linking to us and sending traffic our way. We hope that we have been able to do the same for you all, and keep doing what you are doing. See you all outside.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin