As someone who spent her entire life growing up in a large, bustling southern city, I had a hard time deciding what natural area I would be focusing my attention on for the coming weeks. There are so many to choose from, and so many with such rich histories! How could I possibly form an attachment to just one when they are all so new and exciting to my nature-deprived spirit?
However, after some half-hearted deliberation, I decided to explore the Uwharrie region of North Carolina, the first place that sparked my interest when contemplating this project. I remembered some story that my father told me long ago while passing through about these mountains being the one of the oldest and perhaps least well-known mountains in North Carolina. To the nature fanatic, these stout mountains don’t seem to offer much by way of exploration, challenge, or grandeur as perhaps some of the other mountains in the area might. However, these mountains, now shriveled by time and erosion, have piqued my curiosity like no other. Of course, there are some places which have much more well recorded histories, more interesting stories, and even spookier supernatural tales, but I think that with the Uwharrie, it is the mystery of the unknown that intrigues me the most. I welcome the opportunity to get to know this area deeply for both what it once was, and what it now is.
I suppose this first entry will simply be an introduction to my interests, and also some things that you may expect to see in my later, upcoming posts.
Firstly, I am really excited to be researching further into the history of the Uwharrie Mountain Range. Of course, there is a short, governmentally documented history of the State Park, which I will talk about at a later date, but I am much more intrigued by the history of this area prior to the incorporation into the State Park system. I am also curious to see what kind of digging I can do into the Indigenous history of the area. There is evidence that I have found indicating that the roots of Indigenous folks run quite deep in this area, but have yet to find any history on the possible communities themselves. I suppose my main historical inquiries will be into the non-institutional history of the area; what it was before colonists were there, what it was like before even people were there, the artifacts found there, and then later on the more recent human history of the area.
I am also hoping to delve into the mystery of the area even more by uncovering possible supernatural tales rooted in the area. It seems to be a common theme that humans, and particularly Americans in this case, impose a kind of mystic, spiritual quality upon natural areas, and I am wondering how much this area has been affected by these tendencies, both long ago, and more recently. I’m not quite sure how this will pan out, but I intend to inquire into this issue at least once over the course of the next couple months. I am anticipating that this will also include the religious energy of the area as a part of my discussion.
And of course, I am excited to make plans to visit these mountains myself throughout the duration of this project. I have camped there a couple times before, and am truly excited to be going back to the area, especially with a particular intent of connecting with and understanding this area much more deeply than I have thus far.
Later posts are guaranteed to include pictures, maps, artifacts, quotes, old magazine articles, and other fun tidbits for your enjoyment and engagement. Can’t wait to embark on this inquisitive journey with you, reader!