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LitCafe Experiences: History Hike with the RAIL Project

04/17/2021 @ 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM


This is one special hike you do not want to miss!

Book jacket for John Ehle's book The Road

John Ehle’s The Road

After reading and discussing John Ehle’s work of historical fiction The Road, join WNCHA for a special hike exploring the real history of the incarcerated laborers who toiled and often died constructing the Western NC Railroad. We are joined by a special guest presenter, member of the RAIL Project committee and mayor of Marion, Steve Little.

The Hike(s)

When: Saturday, April 17 at 10am

  • We will add a second hike Sunday, April 18 at 1pm should there be enough demand.

Where: We will meet at the Ridgecrest Trailhead (Mill Creek Road, Old Fort, NC 28762) near the Ridgecrest Conference Center. Our hike takes place on the Point Lookout Greenway, a paved trail following the route of former U.S Hwy 70.

Length: 2.5 Hours

Distance: 2 Miles

Details: We will hike just over one mile downhill to Point Lookout, and to the High Ridge and Lick Lock tunnels below. We will stop briefly at various points, and discuss along the way the history of the railroad and road construction and the incarcerated laborers who completed the project. We will walk back uphill to the trailhead afterward.

Bring: Sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes or boots, weather appropriate clothing for changing conditions, plenty of water (24+ ounces), a cell phone, sunscreen, snacks as desired

Note: Parking is very limited—7-8 cars—and we may contact participants to arrange carpooling depending on registration.

Covid Precautions:

Safety is the highest priority of this event. No hike is guaranteed to be safe, and no outing during Covid is either. To minimize risks, we will require participants to abide by these guidelines. Failure to adhere may result in cancellation or a participant being asked to leave.

  1. Participants must sign a waiver in advance virtually via Google Forms: https://forms.gle/uPRKvoWmfEQNNdd67
  2. We are limited to 10 participants total for each hike
  3. Nobody with visible symptoms will be allowed. Those who feel unwell or feel they may have been exposed are asked not to attend. Refunds are available.
  4. Hikers are required to bring masks and wear them any time the group is stopped or gathered. They must be worn any time participants are unable to maintain six feet of separation from others, including non-participants.
  5. Social distancing is required while we hike.
Rain Date:

Unless the weather is heavily rainy or presents another severe challenge, the hike will proceed. If we have to reschedule, participants will be notified by phone/email by 8pm the evening prior, and a new date will be announced in short order.

Hike Leader

Steve Little

Steve Little is the senior attorney in the Marion, North Carolina law firm of Little and Lattimore, P.A., a three-attorney law firm with emphasis in elder law / estate planning and real estate transactions. Attorney Little has extensive experience in civil litigation in the courts of North Carolina, and was admitted in 2003 to practice in the United States Supreme Court.

For many years, attorney Little has been a speaker at numerous estate planning seminars in North Carolina, speaking at many professional continuing education conferences for attorneys and also on many occasions for the North Carolina Baptist Foundation. He is the author of eight published stories and books, with two more in progress. Several are about the Western North Carolina Railroad, and his most recent is about a nature hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He often performed a dramatic presentation, in historical convict costume, about the construction of the railroad up the mountain and through solid rock tunnels, until being sidelined in 2020 with a vocal cord impairment.

Attorney Little is the current Mayor of Marion, North Carolina, having been first elected to that position in 2009 after serving 24 consecutive years as a member of the Marion City Council. He is an active member and Deacon at First Baptist Church in Marion, NC and has taught Sunday School to young students for over 35 years. He previously served as Trustee of several Baptist institutions, including NC Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Homes of NC, and Wingate University. He is a native of Smithfield, NC and graduated with honors in 1973 from Wake Forest University. After receiving his Doctor of Laws degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1977, he moved to Marion, NC. He is married to the former Alice Hobbs, formerly an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor, and they have two adult daughters and one granddaughter.

Tickets: $15 for WNCHA members/ $20 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Questions/concerns? Email Trevor Freeman at [email protected]

Trail Route in Red



10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
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Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)
View Organizer Website


Point Lookout Trail, Ridgecrest Trailhead
Mill Creek Road
Old Fort, NC 28762 United States
+ Google Map