Spring hiking season means plenty of programs at the library


Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

Authors, yoga, and photography will all be a part of Macon County Public Library’s “Walking with Spring” series, which corresponds with the Appalachian Trail’s section- and thru-hiker season. Franklin is 110 miles from the south-to-north AT starting point of Spring Mountain, Ga. 

The library’s Adult Services Assistant Kristina Lynn Moe pointed out that “Walking with Spring” launches with the Nantahala Hiking Club co-sponsored event: A presentation by author Nancy East on Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m. The Waynesville-based author of “Chasing the Smokies Moon” will focus on both her memoir as well as hiking safety. A teaser for the 2021-published book is: “Two lives lost too soon. When a search and rescue member’s unresolved grief is triggered by tragedy, will a life-changing hike end in hope?”

The avid hiker and veterinarian will share information on everything from bears to blisters to snakes and storms. Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing.

Other “Walking with Spring” events are on Thursdays and include:

– March 16, 5 p.m. – “Listening to the Land: Contemplative Photography Walk” with photographer Susan Patrice, co-director of the Kinship Photography Collective. This is a one-hour walk that begins at the Macon County Public Library and meanders along the Little Tennessee River. Moe explained, “Photographers of all levels are invited (camera phones are welcome) and even seasoned practitioners should find value in this unique approach to the medium.” Moe added, “Susan Patrice is a documentary photographer and contemplative artist. Her photography and public installations feature intimate images that touch deeply into questions of place, belonging, and ecological personhood.” 

– March 30, 6 p.m. – Yoga for Hikers (and everyone else!) with instructor Sandy Van Horn. The public is invited to the free event; bring a mat and plan to arrive by 5:55 p.m. before the doors lock at 6 p.m.

 April 13, 6 p.m.  – “When the Dogwoods Bloom,” by author Victor Truetel, Nantahala Hiking Club president. Truetel provides poignant insights about his soon-to-be-released book of historical fiction set in Western North Carolina.  “Atop the mystical mountain known as Standing Indian, in the Great Smoky Mountain wilderness, two unsettled lives collide. Grieving the death of his wife, Charley is guided by a mysterious symbol carved into the mountain’s summit to Mouse, who is searching for her own purpose along the storied Appalachian Trail. Trapped together during a freak blizzard, Charley tells Mouse the heartbreaking story of his Cherokee ancestor Tsali’s struggle to survive in early America — from the destruction of his village by an American militia, to the forced removal from his ancestral homelands along the Trail of Tears and climaxing with his heroic sacrifice.”

Truetel is an avid landscape and wildlife photographer. After discovering the story of Tsali, who was born in the Smokies in the late 1700s, Truetel researched Tsali’s life and then fictionalized the details in the writing of his novel, “When the Dogwoods Bloom.”

The Macon County Public Library’s “Walking with Spring” series is in partnership with the Nantahala Hiking Club and the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Council. The Macon County Public Library is at 149 Siler Farm Road, Franklin. All programs are free and open to the public. For information call 828-524-3600 or visit fontanalib.org/franklin.