The Newfound Mountains
The Newfound Mountains are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which stretch from Georgia to Maryland. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains which stretch from Georgia to Maine and are considered to be the oldest mountains on Earth at an estimated 500 million years old. The original inhabitants of these mountains, the Cherokee people, refer to the area as Shaconage (pronounced Sha-Kon-O-Hey)which translates to “Land of the Blue Smoke.”
Historically, The Newfound Mountains have been an island of unprotected land located between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the southwest and Mt. Mitchell State Park to the northeast. Recently, though, organizations like ourselves and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy have protected large tracts of land in the Sandy Mush Bald area of the range.
The Newfound Mountains, like the rest of Appalachia, are incredibly diverse. Hundreds of animal and plant species call the range home. The lower elevations along the range are home to cove hardwood forests and the upper reaches are tinged in an evergreen fringe of Canadian spruce-fir forests. Wildlife in the Newfound Mountains include animals such as black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats, falcons, owls,
Sandy Mush Bald
The name, “Sandy Mush” is as Appalachian as it gets and is derived from an anecdotal tale of an early European hunting party which endured a meal of mush unintentionally laden with sand from the nearby creek. They named the body of water “Sandy Mush Creek” and as local tradition goes, the mountain from which the headwaters of sprang eventually adopted the name and became known as Sandy Mush Bald.
Sandy Mush Bald is the highpoint of our property at 5,138 feet in elevation. The summit marks the tricorner between North Carolina’s Buncombe, Haywood and Madison counties. Little Sandy Mush Bald marks the northwestern corner of our property and our cabins are nestled between the two Balds in what our founder, Doc, liked to call “The Saddle.”
In Appalachian vernacular a “Bald” refers to a grassy, mountaintop meadow. There is great debate about how Appalachian Balds were formed–some folks say they were prehistoric grazing grounds, others say the Cherokee created them for hunting grounds, some say they occur naturally, and many of them were known to have been cleared by European settlers to graze livestock–but regardless of their origins, there is no debate about the beauty of the views they offer!