May 14th, 3:27pm

At Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville, NC, we attended a reading from the hot-off-the-press “Women of the Smokies,” with the author Courtney Lix.

Courtney told us about meeting Dolly Parton at Dollywood, her theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN, and being compelled by Appalachian music while growing up in the Smoky Mountains, so much that she was writing songs about heartbreak and cheating husbands at age 8. Of Margaret Stevenson, who began hiking in her 40s and hiked the equivalent of 5 & ½ times around the earth by age 83. And of Karen Wade, the first female superintendent of the Park.

All together, the book celebrates 16 female figures who have played an important role in the Smoky Mountains National Park. We’re working our way through this impressively researched book, as Courtney uncovers the stories of women whose achievements are often overlooked and underappreciated.