Who Am I

Who Am I

My name is Jeff Clark. If you hang around here for awhile, you will learn that I am passionate about hiking and the beauty that Mother Nature blesses us with. Living in Western North Carolina as I do, I am in an area that is a Mecca for hiking and biking enthusiasts, and nemophilists like me. I am a mere half hour drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and just another half hour beyond that to mountain summits that exceed 6000 feet elevation. Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are right out my door, and there are thousands of miles of trails found within them. Yep, I’m in the right place.

I’ve had two different careers in my time on this beautiful Earth. For the first thirty years of my working life I was involved with Information Technologies, spending the latter stages as a system administrator and performance analyst for large mainframe and mid-range computing environments. My 2nd career was in retail sporting goods, first in management, then in online fulfillment for an outdoors outfitter. I retired in April 2014 and have discovered that retirement is the best job I’ve ever had. Oh, and there is that Time 2006 Person of the Year thing.

With my new-found time and freedom, I volunteer for the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway and on a phenology project at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I also recently became a North Carolina Waterfall Keeper. With budget cuts in Washington affecting the services at our national parks and national forests, it is incumbent upon volunteers to preserve and protect our treasured landscapes and wild places for future generations. I am also a member of several conservation groups in Western North Carolina.

As I spend more time away from work, I enjoy the arts. My long time favorite musician is Todd Rundgren, but my favorite styles are smooth jazz, neo-soul and R&B. You will likely find me listening to the Pat Metheny Group, The Rippingtons, Fourplay, Moonchild or Sade. I like to read Leon Uris, Michael Chabon and many others who write historical fiction. I don’t know very much about fine art and poetry, but with the help of a caring friend, I am working toward opening that side of my brain more completely. I play golf, travel and explore, love the Internet and its potential; but my favorite hobby is hiking.

Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics

Trained and Certified

Take a look at my storytelling page on the captivating Maptia, a beautiful way to tell stories about places. It is a platform designed for thoughtful, inspiring stories that make us want to get out there and explore the world, and each story has its own unique map. A story could be told by someone living just over the road or traveling many thousands of miles away. It could be told by you.

That’s the reason for this website. I hope to share the experiences I have on frequent hikes in the mountains and forests of western North Carolina. Whenever I venture out into a new wilderness, I like to be prepared. I do my homework by searching the Internet for trail descriptions, maps, safety concerns, degree of difficulty, and length and elevation gain information. Sometimes, there just isn’t much out there. I will try to add to the trail and hiking documentation for this area.

Here’s a little trailer my brother, the other Internet Brother, put together. Don’t laugh too hard.




  1. Hi Jeff, just checked out your blog. Really enjoyed reading your posts will be back soon do read some more. Lots of great info on your blog. Found you on Apalachia and Beyond.

  2. Jody Townley

    I am currently working on moving down to North Carolina from New York and plan on doing a lot of hiking. I currently do a lot of hiking, but since the terrain is so much different up here, I’ve never needed anything more than a rugged lowtop sneaker. Since I will be living in flatrock, the gamelands are in my backyard and the terrain is very steep and rugged. I wont always be going on trails and I will come upon creeks, thick brush and what have you, so I am torn between what footwear to use. I narrowed it down to a very specific hiking boot that meets my feets many needs, but am unsure as to how practical a hiking boot vs. a snake boot is. Will I be encountering many snakes that would warrant a snake boot? I really would prefer a hiking boot to snake boots because of the flexibility, and I don’t want to be weighted down on such a rugged terrain. This may be a no brainer to someone who has resided in NC, but being from NY, we don’t encounter poisonous snakes ever. Thanks for any input, I appreciate any input anyone may have.

    • Jody, snakes don’t want to see you anymore than you want to see them. They tend to keep to themselves.

    • For the summer time I’d highly recommend a pair of Chacos. The thick sole keeps your feet from getting sore on a long hike and water crossings are a breeze. I also wouldn’t worry about snakes.

      • Jody Townley

        Thank you, although my crazy daughter has this idea that if she deliberately gets bit by snakes, then she will build up an immunity. I really don’t believe she will have 10 fingers and 10 toes when she reaches 20, but this is something that I came to terms with when she was very young, lol. She’s a handful, but I feel a little better as far as not worrying about snakes after reading your post. I think that when you hear things from other people, they tend to make you have vissions of what things are like, when in fact it’s not so true. I will also look into the Chacos; hiking down there is a lot different than in upstate NY, there are hills, not mountains, and most of where I hike is mostly flat.

  3. Bill Wortham

    Jeff, I had a question about your hike from Sassafras Mountain to Gum Gap. Would it be possible to camp at Gum Gap? Is it flat enough for tents, and is there a reliable water source? Thanks in advance for your reply. We are wanting to do a two night backpacking trip from Sassafras to Caesars Head. Plan are to camp at mile 2.4 and at 9.3 (Gum Gap).

  4. Todd Hughey

    Jeff, I enjoyed spending a little time talking with you and your hiking buddy on the Oakridge Trail in the Conagaree National Park on Wednesday. I hope you find time to pay the park another visit in the future. Todd Hughey

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