Wednesday, September 17, 2008

High Mercury Levels in NC Mountain Fish

A sampling of walleye taken from lakes Fontana & Santeetlah in the western North Carolina mountains last fall were found to have high levels of mercury. This testing was the first of its kind in over two decades, according to Jeff DeBerardinas, environmental specialist with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). "This was a one time shot to help fill in data gaps in our data base." There are no plans to collect more at this time, because as DeBerardinas says, "we are limited as far as our resources go".

Walleye were the only fish sampled and only from those two lakes. One has to wonder if other lakes in the region, like Glenville, Nantahala, Chatuge and Hiwassee, and other species of fish aren't contaminated as well. It was only at the urging of toxicologists with the state Health Department that got DENR to conduct the testing in the first place.

Mercury enters the food chain at the bottom by attaching to the lake sediments and works its way up through the process of bioaccumulation. The major factor in high levels of mercury found in fish around the world are coal-fired power plants. Even though many politicians and government officials these days are using the term "Clean Coal" it's questionable whether that term is even viable. Perhaps the term is actually an oxymoron as Dan Becker the director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program states.

"I say this based on my experience as the former head of the TVA, which bought and burned more than 30 million tons of coal a year. I was deeply involved in the strip mining, underground mining, trucking, and most importantly, the burning of huge quantities of coal. No one who has been deeply involved with coal can rightfully say it is clean."

S. David Freeman in "Winning Our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How"

Originally inspired by the article, "Mercury In Mountain Fish" by Becky Johnson
Smokey Mountain News

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The ease of recycling

Recycling does not have to be a hard. Really, it is quite easy to recycle those items we throw away every day.

First, check with your local recycling center on recycling requirements. Here in Highlands, NC, we have a pretty easy task. All they ask is that we rinse them out and make sure they are sorted into the right bins. Oh, and throw away the lids as they are not a recyclable material. Some places may require you remove the label but ours does not. Also, check to see what they take as recyclable. Our center takes type 1 and 2 plastic, clear and colored glass (which we sort), aluminum cans, cardboard, newspaper, and tin cans (like soup & moist pet food come in). They have a bin for each of these types of items.

Ok. I can do this, can you? Rinsing a bottle or container is not hard. All you need to do is put a small amount of hot water in a bottle, cap it, and shake. Dump it out and rinse again.

Now, the one thing I have found to be a bit of a pain is the peanut butter containers. If you have ever got peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth, you will know why I say this. But there is an easy way around this. Simply fill the jar full of hot water, maybe a little soap, and let it sit for a couple of hours. The peanut butter will literally melt off the sides of the jar. Then just hit it with your dish rag, sponge, or wand and rinse!

For sorting, you can do it one of two ways. Either at home or when you go to the recycling center. Our recycling center is at the dump so it makes it very convenient to do an all in one stop! I personally sort my stuff when I take it to the recycling bins. But through the week, I simply rinse the containers as they become empty and put them in a tote with no lid. This catches the water from them being wet and also allows them to air dry without clogging up the strainer.

Now, if you are required to remove the label, I have an easy solution for you. Fill your sink with hot water like you are going to do dishes, put the item(s) in the sink, and let it soak. Then you can just peal the labels off. If they do not want to come off, let them soak longer. There will come a point that the labels will release from the bottles.

Happy Recycling!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Highland Hiker 1/2 Price Warehouse Expanded Labor Day Sale

The Highland Hiker 1/2 Price Warehouse, which carries discontinued merchandise from our retail stores, will be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday (8/29/08 - 9/1/08) for Labor Day. If you're in town, or planning to be for the Labor Day Holiday stop by and check us out. We're located upstairs in The Falls on Main Building just above our shoe store.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Be sure and check us out online too at

Highland Hiker Labor Day Specials

Now Through Labor Day
Buy One Get One 1/2 Price on Select Summer Merchandise
  • SS Polo Shirts
  • Cotton Shorts
  • Teva Sandals
  • Teva Water Shoes
  • Merrell Sandals
  • Tsonga Sandals
  • Bathing Suits
  • Water Shorts
  • All Sunglasses
  • Men's Woven SS Shirts
  • Lady's Cotton SS Tops & Camis

Sale applies to in-store purchases only.

Cashiers Store
47 Highway 107 South
Cashiers, NC 28741
(828) 743-1732

Highland Hiker (Cabin Store)
601 Main Street
Highlands, NC 28741
(828) 526-5298

Highland Hiker Shoes
547 Main Street
Highlands, NC 28741
(828) 526-2511

Visit us online at

"Come for the great weather and take home some bargains"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Help Improve Outdoor Water Quality in North Carolina

On April 26th, the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River unveiled the Scotts Creek Mud Meter.

What is the mud meter? Well, the mud meter monitors the amount of silt in Scotts Creek. They have found that Scotts Creek has an extremely high amount of silt in the water following light rains and storms. Generally, the silt should settle out of the water several hours after the precipitation has ended. However, the levels are so high in Scotts Creek, which flows into the Tuckasegee River, that it takes days for this silt to settle out of the water.

Why is this increase in silt a problem? Simple. Trout and other water creatures reside in our creeks. The increased silt content leaves them in a state of despair.

If you would like to learn more about what the Watershed Association of the Tuckaseegee River does, please visit their website at

We at the Highland Hiker enjoy the beauty of Western North Carolina. Please join in to help keep the environment beautiful for generations to come.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Why Every Man Needs A Robert Graham Shirt

Beyond creating exquisite and intricately detailed fashion for men. Robert Graham is passionate about the many cultures around the world and the global situations that face us all. These influences and inspirations gave birth to the phrase "Knowledge Wisdom Truth". This message is sewn into each and every Robert Graham garment sometimes hidden and sometimes obvious.

As each fashion designer is unique, so is the meaning behind "Knowledge Wisdom Truth". These three words conjure up different and unique meanings to each individual who reads them. Like art, the definition evolves and changes with what is special to each observer.

Robert Graham uses the finest imported fabrics and combines different prints together to produce contrast details on the collars and cuffs, side v tabs and placket for a cohesive fashion statement. In addition to coordinated contrasting prints and solids embroidery plays a major role in fashion perception by incorporating the classic look of stylized embroidery with exceptional prints for an aesthetically pleasing fashion combination.

The Robert Graham Tan "Nash" - Was $170, Now $119
Features multi-colored stripes on a beautiful tan base. The cuffs and placket are patterned with brightly colored polka-dots.

The Robert Graham Blue "John D" - Was $160, Now $112
Featuresblue and white stripes and a colorful bold floral pattern on cuffs and placket.

The Robert Graham Light Blue "Sachs" - Was $170, Now $119
Features a light blue checked base pattern with striped detailing on cuffs and placket.

The Robert Graham Multi-Colored "Taylor" - Was $160, Now $112
Features multi-colored stripes and a colorful floral pattern on cuffs and placket.

The Robert Graham Blue "Becket" - Was $160, Now $112
Features blue stripes and a colorful pattern on cuffs and placket.