Our Team: Tim and Robin Bird of Appalachia & Beyond

A  Q&A with Tim and Robin Bird from Appalachia & Beyond, who have just joined Trail Sherpa.

Q: What is your blog about?

Tim and Robin of Appalachia & Beyond

Tim and Robin Bird of Appalachia & Beyond

A: Appalachia & Beyond is our way of sharing the Southern Appalachian, and more specifically, the East Tennessee region with our readers. There are so many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the wonderful resources that God has provided for us. Within an hour’s drive in any direction from our house are a multitude of parks and trails to hike on, bike on, run on  and play in. What’s more, almost every weekend there is some sort of outdoor event. The Southern Appalachians are forever offering outdoor festivals and get-togethers. We like to share our experiences with others so that they may be inspired to go outside and see what’s available in their areas, or to show them what’s available in ours.

Q: What types of content will readers find on your blog?

A: We provide a plethora of Southern Appalachian information, hints, tips, and know-how, but readers will likely find  trail reports on the trails we hike that include a technical description, a GPS map, and whatever else we can throw in: local lore, history, charm. We also feature a new park every couple of months to highlight what they have available, and we even provide a featured destination every once in a while: usually a quaint town or out-of-the-way restaurant. These destinations include places we find fascinating, fun, charming, or special in its own way.

Also, from time to time, we will offer up honest gear reviews. In the outdoors, having the right gear makes all the difference in the world. Since the first time we met, Robin and I have been exploring the outdoors — sometimes with the most minimal of gear and sometimes with the most “newfangled” equipment technology had to offer. We find that people like to see good honest reviews on gear so they can make an informed decision on what they’re purchasing, and we don’t blame them! We like to see this, too.

Lastly, you will likely see lots of posts and tips about raising a baby outdoors in the near future, as our newest addition joins us December 2011. And we can’t forget to mention that we have the occasional giveaway, too.

Q: Why did you start Appalachia & Beyond?

A: It wasn’t always Appalachia & Beyond. After a rocky startAppalachia & Beyond and barely any posts with another name, we made the commitment in 2010 to bring our pursuits to you, our readers. After a new look and identity, we really began focusing on sharing what our neck of the woods has to offer. We also decided that more often than not there were trails out there we wanted to do, but there wasn’t enough information on them online.

So we figured this would be an excellent opportunity to provide that information. Now it’s more or less a way for us to share our region with the rest of the world, and more importantly a way to inspire others to get outside. It’s also a way to show the locals and visitors alike where things are, how to get there, and what to expect once they get there.

Q: What kind of outdoor adventurer are you?

A: For the most part, we are day hikers. We crave the outdoors, whether it be for a quiet drive in the country, a walk/bike in the park, or a strenuous hike. We are inquisitive, peaceful and reverent partakers of God’s creation and majesty. We take our time when we are out so as to appreciate the gifts that we are given. We love to camp as well.

At least once a year we unplug and go tent camping for a week at our favorite state park. It gives us time to unwind and reconnect with the way things used to be, or rather, the way things ought to be. It rejuvenates us and at the same time makes us yearn for more. Mostly, we just love to be outside no matter how simple it may be or how ardent we decide to make our journeys.

Q: What outdoor topics interest you the most?

A: I guess what interests us most are the opportunities to learn while we are out and about. From cultural differences between hollers (hollows for the non-Appalachian) to the history of a site we may otherwise hike or explore. We like the challenges that are presented to us in the outdoors and the skills we obtain from the experiences. While you won’t catch us doing anything extreme ( bungee jumping, sky diving, etc. — well Tim might if he could get away with it :P), you will find us pushing our own boundaries, trying new things, new techniques, new/longer trails, etc.  As for a specific topic of the outdoors, I don’t know that any one topic stands out more than the other in our minds. So long as the topic is genuine, educational, or entertaining, then it just might grab our attention for a moment, that is before we are out the door again.

Q: What information can Trail Sherpa readers expect from you going forward?

A: First and foremost, we are flattered and honored that Tim Miner asked us to become members/contributors for Trail Sherpa. We are hikers, as previously stated, and we love to give accounts of our excursions into the woods and up the mountains. This is one thing you can be sure to see from us on Trail Sherpa. Accompanying those reports will be beautiful photography in a way that captures Appalachia’s beauty through our eyes. From time to time, you might catch a review on some gear and maybe even the occasional camp recipe. Finally, you may even catch some sort of editorial if Tim and/or Robin can find the proper way to put opinions into a well crafted post without sounding daft.

Q: How do friends describe you and your outdoor pursuits?

Tim and Robin on a camp-out.

A: This is a tough one. We’ll go ahead and admit it: we’re loners, sort of. We have a good reason for this. We spend all week with other people and away from one another. When the weekend arrives, we are family-oriented. It’s not that we don’t have friends, we just prefer the company of one another, the time to focus on catching up with our teen daughter, and the quiet time we can share as silence between the two of us hasn’t been awkward in years. However, our friends would describe us as loyal and accommodating, informative, intelligent, adventurous (but we don’t know where that comes from), and maybe a bit on the quiet side. That’s probably hard to believe, being that we’re bloggers and have outgoing personalities, but we are. If you ask each of us how we would describe the other, well check out our about page on our blog and you’ll have a pretty good idea.

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Our hearts are attached to the Southern Appalachia region. In our minds, East Tennessee is the only place to be, surrounded by the glorious wonders of the ages old mountains. During the week we lead frantic lives raising a family and working for the man. On most weekends, we are following our hearts and dreams, playing in the outdoors enjoying the mountains and the woods from two feet and capturing them on memory card to share with others from our blog Appalachia & Beyond. We try to share this love of the outdoors (hiking and camping) with our teenage daughter and our constant four-legged companion Clover always loves the adventures. In addition we have four cats, who are constantly trying to plan our untimely demise, and one cute as a bag of buttons hamster, Ms. Coo. Finally, we are in the works of expanding our family by one. This expansion project should be complete sometime in early December. Her name is Dinah, and we can't wait to meet her.