The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
With an interest in fine art and a dream of owning his own business, Rick Turner felt like he didn’t quite belong at his job with the federal government. So, in 1973, Rick left his office gig behind and took a risk by opening his own shop. Settling into a quaint historic building, Rick enlisted his sister Lorraine to work in the shop. When the two started feeding large frame mouldings through a back window, they realized they needed a bigger space.
Today, at Turner Framing locations in Sterling and Seneca Square, the certified picture framers preserve children's artwork, needlepoint pieces, photographs, diplomas, and hole-in-one golf balls with museum-quality materials similar to those used in protecting King Tut's vacation photos.
Bob Wollam's life is in full bloom. Since 1989, the gardener has surrounded himself with 11 acres of fresh flowers, more than 80 varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials, and a volunteer army of green-thumbed interns. And the plants aren't the only beauty to fill the grounds. A federal house dating back to 1819 features antique furnishings and was fully restored over Bob's first ten years on the farm. Guests are welcome to spend the night, and get full old-fashioned experience with fresh-baked goods from Bob's sister Karen, who lives next door, and eggs or career advice from the farm's chickens.
River & Trail Outfitters owners Lee and Eunsook Baihly have been acquainting customers with the area's natural beauty since 1972. Their outdoor-exploration company's more than 70 friendly staffers accompany customers on relaxed, informative rafting, kayaking, canoeing, biking, and tubing excursions. In addition to having mastered river- and boat-safety skills, staff members are experienced in first aid, CPR, and the correct way to ask dolphins for directions. River & Trail Outfitters also accommodates businesses, organizing team-building events and rock-climbing excursions or hiking trips. The Baihlys' environmental commitment extends to an in-house recycling program and the use of biodiesel fuels.
Most obstacle courses are challenging enough without adding the undead to the mix. During the approximately 5K Blood & Guts Run, however, that's exactly what participants get. As they go sprinting through the Virginia woods, they'll have to traverse gore-drenched hay bale pyramids, climbing walls, tire gauntlets, and cargo nets while brain-hungry zombies slog after them. These creatures don't just moan and move, though—they take aim at runners with water guns filled with fake blood, creating a crimson-tinged scene reminiscent of classic horror movies or particularly gruesome ketchup fights.
At the end of the course, runners will collect prizes for the most creative costumes before dancing to live music and DJ-spun tunes. A portion of the profits go towards The American Cancer Society, the Military and Veterans Association, and local school districts.