Best Hiking Practices

Hiking pic


Robbinsville, NC resident Robert Rankin enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, and has made this love into a career overseeing Snowbird Mountain Lodge. When not spending time in Robbinsville, NC, Robert Rankin experiences the North Carolina wilderness through activities such as hiking.

One important concept in hiking is to leave no trace. This means prospective hikers should take only photos of the locations they visit rather than artifacts of the trip and leave nothing behind. Disposing of waste properly includes measures like maintaining only small campfires, keeping human waste far away from water sources, and packing up all items and scraps–even biodegradable material such as food leftovers.

Traveling on durable surfaces including sand, dry grass, or snow minimizes the impact of footfalls on the local environment as well. Plan to walk through some mud or puddles, as going around can widen the trail. If you hike with pets, be sure to keep them away from local wildlife, and avoid disrupting the feeding practices of these native animals.


Things to Do in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo pic

Santo Domingo

Robert Rankin has served as owner and operator Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC for the past 22 years. When he isn’t hiking or taking in other Robbinsville, NC, leisure activities, Robert Rankin also enjoys traveling to international destinations such as the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has become an increasingly popular Caribbean destination, and as a result, the tourist industry there is booming. The attention is well deserved, as the island offers many wonderful experiences to both first-time and repeat visitors. For those new to the island, here are two aspects of the Dominican Republic that are worth exploration:

Santo Domingo is not only the capital city of the Dominican Republic, but is also the Western Hemisphere’s oldest recorded European settlement. As one might expect from a city with such a pedigree, Santo Domingo is brimming with historic districts that serve as an homage to the colonial period. The island also has more modern appeal as well, boasting arts and cultural museums as well as some of the country’s best fine dining. For the first-time visitor to the Dominican Republic, a trip to Santo Domingo should be at the top of the list.

There are also plenty of things to do outside the hustle-and-bustle of the big city, though. In fact, the Dominican Republic is home to numerous ancient cave systems. Tourists can hike, horseback ride, or even swim through some the caves located throughout the country’s various national parks, many of which are populated by native bats and turtles and adorned with stalagmite formations.

Mountain Attractions in the Dominican Republic


Pico Duarte pic

Pico Duarte

Robert Rankin has owned and operated Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, NC for twenty two years. Although Robert Rankin likes to hike the mountains around Robbinsville, NC, he also enjoys traveling and climbing mountains in other places, such as the Dominican Republic.

Situated on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is known for its beaches and mountains. The tallest and most popular mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte, is part of the Jose Armando Bermudez National Park. Another popular mountain, La Pelona, lies close to Pico Duarte and rises to a similar height. Captivating views of the Caribbean Sea can be seen from the tops of both mountains.

On the western side of the Dominican Republic, overshadowed by Pico Duarte, Ciguapa Cascading Falls is reached by hiking a path through the mountains and over rough terrain through dense forest. The falls themselves are actually a number of waterfalls dropping over a series of cliffs to deep pools below. Adventurous visitors jump from the cliffs to the pools. Others simply admire the views and the seclusion.

Stecoah Valley Center Supports Robbinsville’s Young Musicians

Stecoah Valley Center pi

Stecoah Valley Center

Robert Rankin, of Robbinsville, NC, owns the Snowbird Mountain Lodge, a scenic destination for guests looking to enjoy the beauty of Graham County, North Carolina. Robert Rankin, a Robbinsville, NC, resident, enjoys contributing to his community through civic involvement.

The Snowbird Mountain Lodge serves as a sponsor of the Stecoah Valley Center, an arts, crafts, and educational facility located in Robbinsville. Stecoah Valley Center’s music program centers on preserving local traditions for future generations. The Appalachian Musicians Program caters to fourth through 12th grade students in Graham County. They are introduced to musical customs on instruments traditional to the area, and they perform a recital of the material they have learned at the end of each program year.

The Center’s spring bluegrass festival in early May features a performance from the Appalachian Musicians students. Area youth are also encouraged to showcase their musical talent during the festival in the Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest, which is open to children ages 5 to 18.

Visibility Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Robbinsville, NC, resident Robert Rankin has spent more than two decades leading operations at the Snowbird Mountain Lodge. When he is not leading activities at the Robbinsville, NC, lodge, Robert Rankin enjoys riding throughout North Carolina on his motorcycle.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) provides new and experienced motorcycle enthusiasts alike with invaluable safety courses and resources. While motorcyclists should attend a local class to receive a complete safety education, the MSF provides general guidelines that should be adhered to at all times. Operating a motorcycle with visibility in mind is one safety tip no rider should forget. The motorcycle’s headlight should remain on day and night, and motorcyclists should check all lights prior to a ride.

Individuals can further improve their visibility on a motorcycle through the use of reflective tape on their attire and decals on the bike. Further, riders can flash their brake lights prior to a stop or use their bike horn to draw attention as needed. Lastly, bikers are especially susceptible to a car’s or a truck’s blind spot and should be aware of the distance required to stay out of this area.

Visiting the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo

Robert Rankin of Robbinsville, NC, currently oversees all activities at Snowbird Mountain Lodge, which is located in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. When vacationing outside of the Robbinsville, NC, area, Robert Rankin enjoys traveling to domestic and international locations. He has recently spent time in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has become a sought-after destination for travelers, thanks to its warm tropical weather and a diverse, visually engaging landscape. Tourists who find themselves spending time in the country are often directed to the city of Santo Domingo as a main attraction. One of the most historically and culturally rich cities in the Western Hemisphere, Santo Domingo offers distinct Spanish architecture dating back to Colonial times as well as countless restaurants and eateries.

Santo Domingo’s central square Plaza de la Cultura is home to the Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Palace, and a number of additional places of interest. Historians can also enjoy the city’s Colonial City district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other popular stops in Santo Domingo include the National Botanical Gardens and the city’s storied Malecon, a seaside promenade famous for its scenic views.

Preventing Mountain Bike Injuries

A resident of Robbinsville, Robert Rankin has been leading Snowbird Mountain Lodge in southwestern North Carolina for more than two decades. In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing all operations at the lodge, which covers 100 acres of the mountain, and ensuring the company meets the four virtues of courage, compassion, grace, and fortitude. Outside of work, Robert Rankin enjoys a variety of hobbies, such as mountain biking near his Robbinsville, NC, home.

As with most types of biking, mountain biking offers a range of health benefits; however, there are risks of injury. A few ways of minimizing injuries are discussed below.

Getting in shape and staying in shape is one of the best ways of preventing normal wear-and-tear injuries, especially those related to the back, which are common among mountain cyclists. Cyclists who have a strong core and legs are better able to handle the repetitive strain of cycling than those without.

Keeping the hands protected limits the risk of muscle strain or numbness in the hands and wrists. Before starting out, warm up the hands by spreading out the fingers and curling them into a fist a few times. Also, wearing padded gloves prevents any blisters and ensures cyclists stay in control of their bikes.

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of injury when mountain biking, but it is easily avoidable if cyclists plan their ride before setting out. Determining a clear path keeps rides within a reasonable time frame and prevents cyclists from tiring out and possibly crashing.

Making sure the bike is functioning properly prevents injuries that may result from parts breaking during jumps or flat tires getting caught on the terrain. Cyclists should check all the bolts and screws on the bike’s body and keep an eye out for any cracks or fractures along the frame.