Friday, April 29, 2011

What is Appalachia? - Guest Blogger Post

By Tim and Robin Bird @ Appalachia & Beyond

Back before the start of the New Year, Karl announced the need for guest posts as he would be starting his graduate studies and he and his wife Jill would be expecting the birth of their baby sometime in 2011. All of this of course would keep any father busy with honey dos and the like.

We were more than happy to volunteer to write a guest post for Karl; we don’t live in the Volunteer State for nothing. Since we really started to put a major effort into our blog back in October of 2010, we’ve seen a major increase in followers, readers, subscribers, etc. Karl was one of the first to jump on board and has since been a great friend to Robin and I. Hopefully one day we can all get together and spend a weekend or more on the trail sharing good times and baby stories.

Anyway, the other day Karl emailed and was ready for us to do a guest post. Since then we’ve been racking our brains on what to write. We thought maybe something along the lines of what it means to be Appalachian or whether New Hampshire could be considered part of Appalachia. We (us & Karl) have actually discussed this here and there a few times.

Robin and I are in the heart of Southern Appalachia, just 15 miles north of Knoxville, TN. Within an hour’s drive we can be at any number of trailheads ready to walk into the ruggedly beautiful wilderness that is Southern Appalachia. Around 50 miles away from our home in either a southern or eastern direction we can walk on the Appalachian Trail. I’m not sure how far it would be for Karl and the family, but I’d imagine it’s not much farther for them as it is for us.

Could that be used as an argument for being Appalachian? How close or far away from the AT you live? I don’t see why not. How about the fact that we both live within the Appalachian Mountains which range from Alabama all the way to Maine and into Canada? That sounds like a good indicator of being Appalachia doesn’t it? Well if you look at the socio-economic-cultural maps that depict the Appalachian Region, you will find that it stretches from the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia up to the southern regions of the state of New York. Why this is so, is completely beyond us, there’s obviously more educated people who settled these sorts of debates way before we were ever around. However if it’s due to the ruggedness of the area, I’m fairly certain that New Hampshire has its fair share of ruggedness. Heck, just looking at some of the pictures Karl and other New Hampshire outdoor blogger's posts can attest to that. If it’s due to the level of poverty or the education level of the area that defines it as Appalachia, well certainly there are arguments for and against that. I’m sure there are small towns in New Hampshire that rank the same with towns here in Tennessee. So why not consider them Appalachian?

Courtesy of:

We imagine this could be argued and debated back and forth for years to come and no one would get any closer to including the Northern Portions of the Appalachian Range into the socio-economical-cultural Appalachia region. I wasn’t born or raised in Appalachia but my parents were, and that makes Appalachia part of my heritage. I’ve lived in Appalachia now for nearly 15 years, and in my opinion that makes me Appalachian. Robin was born and raised here and has never left. She is definitely Appalachian. However, Robin and I have come to the conclusion that regardless of whether you were born and raised in the region, recently moved or have lived in the region for a while, if it’s in your heart, then you are Appalachian. If it’s in your soul and in your mind, then that makes you Appalachian regardless of locale. It’s kind of like that sayin’, “American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God.” Well just substitute Southern with Appalachian and there ya have it.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin @ Appalachia & Beyond

As Tim and Robin mentioned, I've gained a couple good friends when I stumbled upon the Bird's blog, Appalachia & Beyond. I love reading their posts and following along in their lives down in southern Appalachia. I send a very warm thanks out to them for taking the time to write a post for Live Free and Hike New Hampshire. I hope one day to get both of our families together to hike part of the Appalachian Mountains either in New Hampshire or Tennessee or maybe somewhere between. Please note that the content of this post (text and pictures) are property of Tim and Robin (unless otherwise stated and marked) and are protected under my copyright. - Karl



  1. Great guest post! As much as I love New England, it is very interesting to see a post from the perspective of hikers from other regions!

  2. Great post! I understand the time crunch, my husband is in grad school, too!

  3. Grant - I agree. I love Tim and Robins blog. It does exactly that for me...gives me another perspective of hiking in a different region!

    Summerset - I finally finished up this term and I'm taking a term off since the baby will be born soon. It's amazing how much time it takes, especially with two classes!


  4. Thanks again Karl for this opportunity. It was fun writing for another blog. Definitely a different experience. @ Grant and Summerset, thanks. We love reading about the Whites and New Hampshire as well.

  5. Tim / Robin, it was a pleasure to have you write a posting for LFAHNH. Hope to have you do it again sometime!