HRI is hosting a full moon hike on December 19, 2021 at the Sandy Mush Game Land near the Buncombe/Madison County border. The two hour hike will start before sunset and finish after twilight under the full moon. We will meet at 3 p.m. at the end of Cedar Hill Road in Alexander, NC and plan to finish up around 6 p.m. It is about 1.5 miles to the end of Cedar Hill after turning off from Fletcher Martin Road. The road will turn to gravel and you will eventually reach a gate, which will be our meeting spot. The hike will be at an easy pace, mostly on gravel and old dirt roads, but there will be significant changes in elevation. While the hike will be short in mileage, it is long on views. It will consist of two legs: one to a small view overlooking the French Broad River and the second will be a descent down to the river before climbing back up to the top of the ridge.** Once back up top, there will be a surprise waiting for us and the chance to relax and talk under the moon-lit sky. 

Since 2016, HRI has treated thousands of hemlocks throughout the Game Land and we continue to find more as we discover new corners of the sinuous and winding waterways that flow through this scenic area. This hike will traverse through two small hemlock conservation areas where HRI is actively integrating both biological and chemical control. Participants can expect to learn about HRI’s work in Sandy Mush as well as general information related to hemlocks and their conservation.

Be sure to bring water and any snacks you may want. It is likely to be chilly (it is the ‘Cold Moon’ after all), so bring warm layers as well as gloves and winter hats. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots is recommended, though the trail should be fairly tame. Finally, also please bring a flashlight or headlamp. The full moon is likely to help light the way during our easy five to ten minute walk back to the cars, but it will be best to have some help from artificial light when needed. 

Near to the shortest day of the year, this hike will be a chance to celebrate the solstice and changing of the seasons, the full moon, the beauty of the woods at sunset, and of course, the beautiful hemlocks all around. We hope to see you there! 

**There is also a third optional bonus leg for those who are feeling ambitious–it’s a steep drop down to Sandy Mush Creek and a short, but strenuous hike back up. Please let us know if you are interested in this option when you register.

RSVP is required. Please sign up by Friday Dec. 17th by emailing or calling 828-252-4783. We hope to see you there!