Published on April 7th, 2016 | by klem
Springtime Mountain Ramble
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a good friend’s birthday celebration. The icing on the cake, his awesome wife had rented a cabin in Bryson City for him and 10 friends. Road trip! To make the most of the mileage, I did double duty. The guys weekend was entirely too much fun to write about, so here’s how the Cape Fear Gear portion went…
First stop, breakfast at the Sunny Point Cafe in Asheville. At the advice of Jim Roberts, I ordered the Huevos Rancheros. Delicious. Can certainly see why it’s rated as one of America’s top breakfast spots. What made it even better was the opportunity to sit across from Bill Medlin, friend of The Outdoor Gear Builders (OGB) of Western North Carolina, helluva nice guy and wearer of an awesome set of chops. The OGB is a relatively new group comprised of local manufacturers like Eno, Astral and liquidlogic. Initially, they came together to market their wares more effectively, but now, about two years in, the community they’ve built is providing unexpected dividends in the form of shared expertise, shared manufacturing and a budding sense of community.
To get a better handle on the group, I traveled to Brevard to meet Kyle Mundt of SylvanSport, one of the OGB’s founding firms. Kyle wears many hats, both with his company and the OGB. He’s a designer, a dreamer and all around good guy. He gave me a tour of SylvanSport’s office and warehouse, where their entire trailer is American made. Kyle was not only able to talk more about the synergy the OGB have created, but was also able to show several elements of the company’s trailer that had benefited from the OGB’s formation. From both of these gentlemen, I took away great information, inspiration and a feeling that our paths will cross again, hopefully soon. What they’ve built out West, could be modified to work here in the East, with our mix of manufacturers, retailer and events. More on that at a later date…
Next, it was on to Bryson City, home to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, the Nantahala Brewing Company and a cool gear shop, Bryson City Outdoors, who was celebrating its first anniversary in business (Congrats guys! To celebrate I bought a sweet mesh hat…). Not far down the road from town is the Nantahala Outdoor Center. From whitewater rafting to mountain biking to hiking the Appalachian Trail, if it’s done outdoors, you can do it here. I’ve already told my family that this place is our next mountain vacation destination. Everything about the area was incredible.
Finally, after a long weekend with the fellas, it was time to head home. But not before I made one more stop to check out the area known as the Green River Gorge in Saluda. Call it serendipity, but the first place I stopped to photograph the gorge, was The Gorge, a Zipline park. I arrived to find a group shooting down the mountain and fired off a few quick shots. Then a manger suggested I try the motel next door for unobstructed views. Boy was he right. Blue Ridges as far as the eye could see.
We are so lucky to call this state home. It’s natural treasures are a gift to be appreciated and enjoyed. Traveling from one corner to another makes you really see all that North Carolina has to offer. I’ll look forward to a similar trip soon. But for now, I’m going to enjoy all the things that make our little Cape Fear corner of NC so special. See you outside!