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Yosemite of the East

first_imgFor an excellent tale of hiking and reviving ones sense of adventure, click here! It’s not as easy to get lost in Panthertown Valley as it used to be. At one time, the 6,300-acre tract of land inside the Nantahala National Forest was renowned for stupefying hikers and mountain bikers hell bent on exploring the 50-plus miles of user-created backcountry trails that criss-cross the high-elevation valley and its surrounding 4,000-foot high mountains. But as more hikers and bikers have discovered Panthertown, an exhaustively researched map has been published, and trail signs have been implemented. Panthertown’s evolution from local’s secret to backcountry hot spot was inevitable, particularly when you consider the sheer drama of the landscape. High elevation bogs and skyscraper-tall pine forests dominate the valley floor while 400-foot granite cliffs act as boundary markers. And waterfalls are everywhere. It’s a suite of characteristics that has led the valley to be dubbed “the Yosemite of the East.”“Some people consider it a national park all on its own,” says Jason kimenker, executive director of the Friends of Panthertown, the volunteer organization that maintains the popular destination. “The sheer rock faces dropping into a bowl with waterfalls falling down the sides of mountains… it’s a unique place, but it’s not a national park. even with the increased popularity, it’s still very much a backcountry destination.”Below is a suggested three-day itinerary that takes in a handful of the valley’s highlights. This is an all-inclusive backpacking getaway with sandy beaches, natural water slides, and big views from bare knobs.Day OnePark at the Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead on the east side of the valley. Pick up Panthertown Valley Trail (actually a gravel road) from the trailhead and head straight for your base camp, a sweet campsite at the junction of Powerline Road Trail, roughly 1.5 miles from your car. Here, you’re just a couple of hundred yards away from the Sandbar Pool, a unique sandbar in the middle of Panthertown Creek that makes for primo swimming and sunning. Set up camp and switch to a day pack with lunch and swim gear. Choose your route to Carlton’s Way, an unofficial piece of singletrack that twists through mountain laurel as it climbs the side of Blackrock Mountain. Top out at the sloping, granite overlook (4,200 feet) and soak in the all-encompassing view of Panthertown valley flanked by Big and Little Green Mountains in the distance.After enjoying the view, take Powerline Road Trail to five spectacular waterfalls along the Tuckaseegee River. The sliding and swimming potential at waterfalls like Riding Ford and Red Butt is stellar, so block out a chunk of the afternoon for swimming shenanigans, then retrace your steps to the Powerline Road Trail, which you’ll take south back to your campsite.Day TwoHike east on Panthertown Valley Trail for a mile, then head south on Mac’s Gap Trail to Granny Burrell Falls. Next, climb steadily through a rhodo tunnel before summiting 4,200-foot Big Green Mountain. The summit is shrouded in hardwoods, but take the second man way on your right to a killer view from the top of “The Great Wall of Panthertown,” a 300-foot high granite face that stretches for nearly a mile. Carry on the Big Green Trail as you drop off the mountain, then go north on Mac’s Gap Trail for less than a mile to Little Green Trail.The trail hugs the edge of the mountain, moving along gray granite with veins of green moss and tiny potholes that hold water after a rain. Continue to follow the trail (faint white arrows painted on the rock) to your camp for the night, a flat spot inside a sheltered pine forest.Day ThreePack up and drop off the east side of Little Green Mountain on Little Green Trail, which ends at the base of Schoolhouse Falls.The swimming and photo potential at the bottom of this 25-foot waterfall is some of the best in the valley. If you have time and brought a fly rod, cross the river at the base of Schoolhouse Falls and take the man way upstream for great casting options and more solitude. Even if you don’t fish, this is a great side trip that will take you to Pothole Falls and Mac’s Falls. From Mac’s Falls, connect with Greenland Creek Trail for a quick jaunt back to the Cold Mountain Gap Trailhead and your car.last_img read more

Bolivia’s Morales accepts political asylum in Mexico

first_imgThe deputy head of the Senate said shewill take over as interim president until new elections are held. He has won plaudits for fightingpoverty and improving Bolivia’s economy but drew controversy by defyingconstitutional term limits to run for a fourth term in October’s election,which was alleged to have been rife with irregularities.(BBC) Morales, a former coca farmer, wasfirst elected in 2006. Former president Evo Morales left Bolivia in a Mexican Air Force plane on Monday. AFP/MEXICO FOREIGN MINISTRY LA PAZ – Evo Morales has accepted anoffer of political asylum in Mexico a day after resigning as president ofBolivia amid election fraud protests.last_img

Jol lauds match-winner Berbatov

first_img In truth Berbatov’s performance was hardly in keeping with the high standards he has set himself throughout his career. The Bulgarian’s passing was woeful at times and he spent much of the match with his hands on his hips or throwing them in the air in frustration at his team-mates. Jol admits Berbatov is a unique character who needs to be carefully managed, but the Dutchman maintains that the 32-year-old is still one of the best hitmen in the league. “He’s a remarkable boy,” the 57-year-old said. “He’s a different personality, but he’s said it twice now. Against Stoke before the match and he said it again today. The only thing he wants is a day off if he scores. I promised him a day off and he scores!” Spurs were poor throughout Sunday’s encounter. Even the simplest of passes went astray while Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe, and even the returning Gareth Bale were unable to test Mark Schwarzer until the dying stages. Manager Andre Villas-Boas has now lost three games on the bounce for the first time since he took over and he accepted responsibility for the defeat, stating that the 120-minute drain of Thursday’s defeat at Inter Milan had nothing do to with the loss. “It was nothing to do with the players today,” he said. “The effort and commitment were there. Probably the organisation wasn’t, and it is down to us to get to business and correct that.” Press Association Martin Jol hailed Dimitar Berbatov as the Fulham striker lived up to his promise to shoot down his former club Tottenham.center_img Tottenham’s hopes of Champions League qualification took a big blow as they lost 1-0 to the Cottagers thanks to Berbatov’s second-half poke past Hugo Lloris. The 52nd-minute strike was not one of the finest of his career, but it did not matter for Berbatov or Jol, who tasted victory over the club he used to manage for the first time since leaving White Hart Lane six years ago. Jol said: “Before the game you hope for a point… but Berbatov came to me and promised me… He said: ‘you have to trust me’. I thought he was joking. But he said it before the match against Stoke (where he scored the winner) and he is a wonderful player. It was one of the best wins ever.” last_img read more

Building offers new spaces, opportunities

first_imgThis article is part of the Daily Trojan‘s supplement issue, “If you build it, will they come?” This semester’s supplement focused on the impact of the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center and University Gateway apartment complex, both of which will open this fall.In his eight semesters at USC, Fabian Salas, a senior majoring in accounting, spent a lot of time exploring Los Angeles. He spent little time, however, exploring his own campus.“There have been semesters where I was working weekends at Leavey [Library], but most of the time I would just not be around campus if I didn’t have to be because the campus is always pretty dead,” Salas said. “When I didn’t have to work, I knew I would have a better time going out to other places in L.A.”The Forum (above) and Traditions are two features of the new campus center. – Carlo Acenas | Daily Trojan Salas is not the only one who feels this way. For years, students looking for weekend entertainment have had to look elsewhere — campus has been a virtual ghost town on weekends. But with the opening of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, that could be about to change.Administrators hope the addition of the campus center this fall will finally create a central, on-campus destination that students have been missing since the closing of the Norman Topping Student Center and Commons in 2008. When it opens, the campus center will include meeting rooms, performance venues and food options, and will hopefully host a number of student organizations’ events.“I really believe this building will transform the word ‘community’ at USC,” said Jason Cruz, project coordinator for the campus center. “[It] will become the hub of activity, and I think people will start saying, ‘Meet me at the campus center.’”For the past two years, student organizations have relied solely on Bovard Auditorium, Ground Zero Café and classroom lecture halls to host events and performances, and some have found it difficult to find an appropriate venue.Alexa Ekman, president of the USC College Republicans, said finding a venue for events has been very challenging. Ekman tried to book a room three months in advance for the group’s biggest event of the year, Teach-in to Oppose Obama’s Radical Transformation of America, but had to settle for a room in Taper Hall instead.Ekman said it is disappointing to bring important guest speakers to campus only to have them greeted with a classroom lecture hall, rather than a more welcoming venue.“It’s fine to have regular meetings in classrooms or smaller settings, but when you have a nice speaker, guests who donate to your club and people who travel to see your event, you want to host it in a really nice environment,” she said.According to Heather Larabee, assistant dean of students and director of Campus Activities, the campus center will make it much easier for organizations that have had trouble finding venues to host events on campus.Aja Heisler, director of external communications for the USC College Democrats, said the group is excited because the campus center will offer neutral venues.“Usually we can find a venue, but last weekend we held something at the USC Hillel Center. That could have possibly been misleading to people because our events are in no way associated with religion, they were just nice enough to let us borrow the area,” Heisler said.Cristina Pandol, executive director of Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, has also run into issues because of the lack of space on campus.“We had to hold our self-defense event in Exposition Park, and, being outdoors, we were nervous it would rain,” Pandol said. “With about 150 people, it’s not like we could have just used a classroom.”Students will be able to reserve meeting rooms, The Forum and Tommy’s Place for free, while the Ballroom will cost money, said Heidi Ippolito, scheduling production manager for the SCheduling Office. Student organizations will also be allowed to utilize the Ballroom for one event for free, except staffing charges.The campus center will also offer more than 30 meeting rooms for students and will have lounges on every floor.Visions and Voices currently holds a number of events in Bovard Auditorium, but the addition of the campus center will be beneficial since events can now be held in the Ballroom or The Forum, according to Mary Megowan, program assistant for Visions and Voices.The Ballroom can accommodate nearly 1,200 people, and can be divided into four sections depending on the number of guests attending the event, according to Bailey.For some organizations, like USC Spectrum, The Forum offers a much more intimate space.“We like doing events in Doheny [Memorial Library] because you feel like you really get to be in the same space as the guest speaker, and The Forum will be very similar to that,” said Dane Martens, interim director of USC Spectrum.Student organizations, such as Program Board, are excited to utilize Tommy’s Place because they believe the venue will help attract more students.Tommy’s Place offers its own distinct feel with a stage for performances, two pool tables and televisions that can be used by students and faculty for away  games.Adjacent to Tommy’s Place will be the new and improved Traditions, which will be available for all students to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. For those over 21, Traddies will still serve alcohol.“Our goal is for this area to be one big space. You can watch a live performance at Tommy’s and grab a drink at the bar if you’re over 21,” Cruz said. “The Greek Row is a popular place and we want this to be another option.”KSCR radio station will also broadcast from new facilities adjacent to Tommy’s Place.According to Karl Nickenig, KSCR’s incoming general manager, the station hopes to host a live show every Friday from its new location in the campus center.“I hope it brings more awareness of the local band scene to the overall student body,” Nickenig said.In addition to live performances, the campus center will host a wide variety of food options, including California Pizza Kitchen, Carl’s Junior, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, a marketplace, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Moreton Fig, according to Kris Klinger, director of USC Hospitality.Klinger said dining options will be available on the weekends, but the hours of operation will depend on student usage.Many at USC hope the campus center will provide a common gathering place for students.“You should feel comfortable here, and that’s the goal of this place — to have all of the communities of the university come together in one location,” Bailey said. “Like a community center, the campus center will bring all the facets of USC together.”last_img read more

Women of Troy kick off ITA Regionals

first_imgThe Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Southwest Regional Championships kicked off on Thursday in San Diego, Calif. in what is shaping up to be an action-packed event featuring 81 participants in the women’s singles bracket and 39 teams in the women’s doubles bracket. Six Women of Troy are competing in the tournament, which runs through Oct. 23.Junior Danielle Lao is the defending singles champion and entered the tournament as the top overall seed. She remains undaunted, however, by the prospect of attempting to repeat as singles champion.“The only pressure here is to really just go out and compete well,” Lao said.Lao isn’t the only ranked player from USC in the singles bracket. Sophomore Kaitlyn Christian is the No. 5 seed, freshman Zoe Scandalis is No. 10 seed and senior Alison Ramos is the No. 13 seed. Freshmen Gabrielle DeSimone and Sabrina Santamaria round out the participants for the Women of Troy. USC coach Richard Gallien offered some sound advice for each member of his team.“You just want to keep getting better at competing,” Gallien said. “It’s always easy to say we want to get better in the running game or you want to get better in the passing game, but the object for us is to continue to become better and more consistent competitors.”In the doubles bracket, Christian and Santamaria are ranked as No. 2 duo, Ramos and Scandalis are the No. 9 seed, and Lao is teamed up with DeSimone as the No. 12 seed. Ramos was part of the championship-winning tandem in last year’s event, but Valeria Pulido, her partner in 2010, is currently playing in the Pan-American games. Ramos, however, remains confident in her new partner’s abilities.“I feel really comfortable with [Scandalis],” Ramos said. “Our games really compliment each other. Zoe is an awesome doubles player so we’ll see [what happens].”As for her outlook on the singles bracket, Ramos is eager to improve on her finish in the 2010 Southwest Regionals.“I feel like I’ve improved a lot mentally and physically,” Ramos said. “I’m in much better shape than I was last year. I’m more focused, and excited to play.”All six members of the Women of Troy will be careful not to underestimate any of their opponents. To make a run at a title, however, Gallien knows who USC’s toughest challengers will likely be.“It usually comes down to us and UCLA,” Gallien said. “Arizona State has an excellent team. Arizona is much improved. I think it’s going to be a nasty weekend with a lot of upsets.”The three freshmen in the field — Scandalis, DeSimone and Santamaria — are looking to successfully navigate through their second tournament as members of the USC tennis team.Coach Gallien has been impressed with the group of newcomers thus far, and understands the learning curve they face while growing accustomed to a new level of competition.“[The freshmen] are used to winning from their junior tennis days,” Gallien said. “They look at this as the next step in their own success. They’re taking it in stride. For the first time, as a college freshmen, you’re playing in tournaments where you might play somebody who is four years older than you are.”As for his expectations for the entire Women of Troy team at the Southwest Regional Championships, Gallien has a goal in mind.“If we’re able to get someone into the finals in singles or doubles, that would be a very good finish,” Gallien said.last_img read more