Understanding the Appalachians

The Appalachian mountain range stretches across the northeastern United States.  It is a very old (i.e. 480 million years) and well-eroded range, mostly very green.  This ridge and valley system is familiar to anyone who has driven through the region…highways either must curve dramatically around the mountains and weave through gaps, or take you up and down white-knuckle, gear-grinding slopes.

I’ve lived and hiked in various parts of the Appalachian mountain range, but I still don’t understand all of the various local names and regions.  So today I sat down and pored through maps (one of my favourite activities) until I could figure it out.

Regions of the Appalachian mountains, courtesy of wikipedia.org

Regions of the Appalachian mountains, courtesy of wikipedia.org

The Adirondacks of New York are left out of the map above because they are geologically a part of a different range.  But people often speak of the Adirondacks as if they were part of the same range.

A map showing all the local names for the mountains, also courtesy of wikipedia.org

A map showing all the local names for the mountains, also courtesy of wikipedia.org

The Adirondacks are included in the above map.  You can also see how the names would get confusing.  For example, the Catskills and the Poconos are both technically part of the Allegheny Plateau (misspelled above), while the Taconics and the Hudson Highlands are both names for the Taconic mountains.  The “Ridge and Valley” Appalachians seem to have no common name, but the southern Green mountains are also known as the Berkshires.  And those weird people in Maine call the White mountains the Mahoosucs.  (just teasing, Maine people)

Now to figure out whether it is app-ah-LATCH-ee-ah or app-ah-LAYSH-ee-ah (I swear people pronounce it both ways, depending on where they are from).

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Understanding the Appalachians

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: