How to Survive "Hill Country": The ESSENTIAL Guide

Ozark Mountain folk in the 1940's
Ozark Mountain folk in the 1940s

At age 20

I thought that I was tough. From mind to body, I would try every fool-stunt with or without the influence of alcohol just to show my buddies how tough that I was. Needless to say, I failed more stunts than I conquered.

At my age today, 61, I would not try any of the brand of stupidity I did at 20. Firstly, I can't. Secondly, I want to continue drawing breath. The things my wife's brother and our friends did were very dangerous. Thank God we are still here.

Appalachian Mountain Range

Black bear are plentiful in these mountain ranges
Black bear are plentiful in these mountain ranges
1906 Goodloe Store and residents of an area in the  Ozark Mountain
1906 Goodloe Store and residents of an area in the Ozark Mountain
Beautiful Appalachian Mountains
Beautiful Appalachian Mountains

Before I continue

let me just say this: "I am in no way making light of any race of people anywhere in these particular mountain range locales. Furthermore, I am not making light of those United States citizens such as myself, who are not residents of these mountain ranges."


The people, our early immigrants, who settled the Ozark, Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain range areas, were not wimps. But the toughest men, women, and children God ever created. These people knew how to live without any comforts at all. No electricity, running water or inside plumbing. Living was beyond rough for these early settlers. But they learned to value their freedom by having each other's back and minding their own business.

When I say that these three mountain ranges were "tough," I am standing by that statement. I can even be safe in saying that these mountain ranges would be the ideal training grounds and environment for the Navy SEALs, Marines and Army Rangers. To make the training more challenging, have these elite military forces trained by the seasoned veterans of hard times and rough lives. I promise you that our country would be a lot stronger because these older "hill people" were survivors, not whiners.

Story continued below the Amazon specials

Early hill country musicians paving the way for today's Blue grass music style
Early hill country musicians paving the way for today's Blue grass music style
Moonshining was an early means for hill people to make a living for their families
Moonshining was an early means for hill people to make a living for their families
Blue Ride Mountain Range
Blue Ride Mountain Range

From the publication Bittersweet

by Russel L. Gearlach

  • The origins of the Ozarks' population are far more complex and varied than most people realize. The Ozarks are more than simply an "Appalachian West." Those who settled the region came from many places and represented many cultures. Sometime glance at the place names represented in the Ozarks of Missouri: River Aux Vasse, Rhineland, Swedeborg, Rosati, Pulaskifield, Swiss, and so on. These names suggest the presence of French, Germans, Swedes, Italians, Poles and Swiss. In fact, descendants of all these groups plus others can be found in the Missouri Ozarks.
  • Those who settled in the Ozarks came for a variety of reasons. There is of course the oft told story of the pull of the frontier--the legendary ax wielding frontiersmen seeking adventure in the unknown wilderness of the west. No doubt there is some truth in this, but many if not most moved for more practical reasons. Daniel Boone, for example, had to move--someone filed a claim to his land in Kentucky, something he had intended to do but never got around to. Many Settlers in the Appalachians found themselves facing similar circumstances. Many veterans of the War of 1812 came west of the Mississippi River only because that was where the free bounty land for veterans was located. Some left the old areas because they could not conform. A good example of this was the pioneer distiller who would not succumb to the efforts by government to control whiskey making. Following the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania in 1794, many pioneer distillers packed their stills and other belongings and headed south and west where they could be free of government interference. Some, as we know, made it all the way to the Ozarks where they continue to resent government interference.

These guys are from Hootenville somewhere in the Ozarks. They are out at night doing some frog-gigging

People of Blue Ridge, Appalachian and Ozark Mountains

Julie A. Campbell, Blue Ridge Mountains
Julie A. Campbell, Blue Ridge Mountains
Just taking life easy
Just taking life easy
Fiddlin' Bill Hensley, mountain musician
Fiddlin' Bill Hensley, mountain musician
Jean Wallace, a mountain legend. She claims to be a seer of the future
Jean Wallace, a mountain legend. She claims to be a seer of the future
Government agents carry an angry protester away from his stand against a dam the TVA came to build in the mountain area
Government agents carry an angry protester away from his stand against a dam the TVA came to build in the mountain area
There is no such thing as an unattractive mountain girl
There is no such thing as an unattractive mountain girl
Pretty mountain girl biker in 2015
Pretty mountain girl biker in 2015
The "outdoor plumbing"
The "outdoor plumbing"
Happy mountain resident
Happy mountain resident
Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
"Popcorn," a retired moonshiner who was never caught
"Popcorn," a retired moonshiner who was never caught

A lot of things, even people

in these rustic, historical mountain ranges have changed, but very little to be noticed. Even in the high-tech age we live in today, there are a lot of hill residents that still live and do things the old-fashioned way. They like it that way and one best be advised to just let things be if traveling through this gorgeous part of our great United States.

So I am, for free, going to share with you

A few crucial areas that you need to know from backwards to forwards if you are going to be traveling alone or with family and friends for any reason in these mountain ranges in your future days. And note. I am not kidding with these areas where I give you FREE tips.

Things You NEVER Say to Anyone in These Mountain Areas

  • "Whatcha doing there?" Mountain people despise people who pry into their affairs.
  • "You call this food?" This foolish statement will get you whipped.
  • "Hey, you are not talking correctly." See above reason.
  • "Let me show you how to do that." Are you really that foolish to say this to these expert musicians, cooks and craftsmen?
  • "I will do what I please up here." Will you? Well that to the muscular guys following you.
  • "Listen to me yell like wild animals." Again, see reason with the food question.
  • "Man, what a pretty girl you are." You will be told, not asked to leave. Most of the pretty girls up in the hills are married or engaged from age 10 to be married.

Things You NEVER Do While in These Mountain Ranges

  • Just walk into someone's cabin without being asked. This is grounds for whipping your butt.
  • Throwing rocks at the various animals you find here. This will get your butt whipped for all of the animals serve a purpose to the mountain people.
  • If eating with some hill people, DO NOT complain about what you are served. The hill people are a proud people and take their cooking seriously.
  • Never wink at ANY woman.
  • Joke with men by saying, "I am going to turn you into the law for moonshining." Need I explain why?
  • Never use your firearm (if you have one) unless you get permission.
  • Never over-dress in expensive clothing. This will embarrass the hill people.

Activities You NEVER Do While You are in These Mountain Ranges

  • Act like a bully and pick a fight with any male. Do you have a death wish?
  • Show your pride by bragging that you can out-drink any man in the area. You will wake in three days. I promise.
  • Never be so dumb as to ask a single mountain girl out for lunch.
  • Never try to be friends with a mountain man's dogs. The dogs are used for hunting and not to be treated like pets.
  • Chewing tobacco is fine. But spitting anywhere you please is forbidden.
  • If a man "calls you out," running like a scared rabbit will get you uninvited to visit again quickly.
  • Just walking around and never asking the residents if you can help them.

Words and Phrases You NEVER use in These Mountain Ranges

  • "Fool."
  • "Doofus."
  • "Bumpkins."
  • "Sheep head."
  • "Dimwit."
  • "Slow of mind."
  • "Slow thinker."

Words and Phrases You CAN Use in These Mountain Ranges

  • "I really appreciate this food. It is really tasty."
  • "Thank you for not beating my rump."
  • "That's fine for your five angry dogs to take turns biting me."
  • "No, sir. I do not think I would love to ask your wife out on a date."
  • "That horseshoe is great-looking."
  • "May I help you with that sweeping?"
  • "Here, try my beef jerky."

Places You NEVER Visit While in These Mountain Ranges

  • Barns
  • Storm cellars
  • Moonshine stills
  • Apple or peach orchards
  • Corn cribs
  • Root cellars
  • Basements of the residents' homes

* I wish you safe travels and hope that this list will prove useful.

The Old Crow Medicine Show doing an early song of the hill country

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Comments 2 comments

sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 21 months ago

tnx for sharing the experience


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 21 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

sujaya venkatesh,

You are very welcome. Thank YOU for the comment and come back for a visit anytime.

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