More About the Author
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Peter Barr moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family when just seven years old. His parents fostered a love of the mountains in him by taking the family on day trips all over western North Carolina, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Barr learned about the Appalachian Trail at the age of 8 after reading a sign in the parking lot at Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains and was endlessly intrigued by a 2,000 mile footpath leading from Georgia to Maine. After his return home, Barr visited the public library the next day and checked out every book on hiking and camping he could get his hands on. Soon he was hooked and even built a hiking trail in the backyard behind his home. Barr would walk back and forth with his school book bag filled with textbooks.
While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Barr began pursuing the Congressional Award Gold Medal, a congressional honor given to young Americans who complete extensive projects in four different fields of personal development. In addition to fitness and public service, the award required a 4 day self- planned outdoor expedition. Barr planned a trip to hike 70 miles in 5 days on the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a college friend. According to Barr, they did everything wrong: 60 pound backpacks, tennis shoes, all cotton clothes, a cooking stove they didn't know how to use, a false sense of physical conditioning, and chips on their shoulders. They thought of turning back several times, but completed the trip as scheduled. Barr now intends to hike the Appalachian Trail in the coming years.
During his college years at UNC, Peter Barr worked as an assistant leader for Carolina Adventures, the campus outdoor club. The club led WAFFYS (Wilderness Adventures for First Year Students), week long backpacking trips for incoming freshmen as an optional addition to the college orientation program.
He later completed the "South Beyond 6000" challenge, climbing the 40 peaks in the southeast over 6,000 feet. After finishing the program, he joined the Carolina Mountain Club. In addition to leading hikes, he serves as Chairman of the club's challenge committee where he developed and implemented the "Lookout Tower Challenge", a program that challenges hikers to reach 24 of western North Carolina's lookout towers.
In addition to hiking, his hobbies include peakbagging and county high pointing. He has climbed the "Southeastern Highest 100" and "North Carolina Highest 100" summits, one of only two people to have ever completed these peak lists. He has also summited every southeastern peak over 5,000 feet, becoming the first person to ever do so, and has reached the highest point in over 90 North Carolina counties. He recently completed his next goal, hiking all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Barr has visited nearly every fire tower in North Carolina and is the director of the NC chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association. He is working to initiate multiple restoration projects for many lookout towers in the western part of the state and maintain and improve their access for hikers. His future outdoor ambitions include thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, climbing the Colorado 14ers, and hiking every state and federal maintained trail in western North Carolina.
Barr now periodically contributes outdoor articles for regional magazines and newspapers. He is presently working on a hiking and historical guide to the highest mountain peaks in the Southeast and wishes to pursue a career in land conservation in western North Carolina. Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers is his first book.
Visit his website and blog at:
-John F. Blair, Publisher