Yesterday made it official, spring really is here. That means it’s time to get out and enjoy some nature. Fortunately, I live in an area where just a walk down the road makes that happen, and a short drive can take me to numerous mountain trails.
These trails didn’t just happen. In the 1920s and 30s, hiking became very popular in this area, and in other parts of the Appalachians (ap ə ‘ lach ənz ). At the time there were few organized trails, no Great Smoky Mountains National Park, no Appalachian Trail. People interested in hiking began to form clubs in order to organize hiking outings.
Probably the most important club in the western Carolinas was the Carolina Mountain Club. It was partly due to their efforts that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed, and they were responsible for much of the building of the Appalachian Trail through North Carolina. In the days before the formation of the Park, the mountains were extensively mapped by member George Masa who was assisted by several women members of the club.
In looking at the archival photos of this club, it is interesting to note that there were almost as many women members as there were men. The days of women doing casual walking and calling it exercise were over!
I don’t have any photos of the Carolina Mountain Club, but vintage photos of hiking clubs are actually quite commonly found. I have several from the 1920s and 30s which are, unfortunately, unidentified. Still it is interesting to study them and to note the clothing. It would be fun to borrow an idea from the Pensacola Tweed Riders, and do a tweed hike!