Sunday, January 29, 2017
-- Albert Einstein
Above: Pine Ridge Falls. To the left is a photo of the forest service road through Clark's Creek. And below, a photo of Blue on the trail to the falls. Click here for directions and a full description of the hike. Occasionally I've seen this waterfall referred to as Longarm Branch Falls.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Took advantage of the warm temperatures yesterday by going for a hike along the Appalachian Trail on Unaka Mountain. As the sun was setting I met two south-bound thru-hikers with the trail names of "Tonic"(from Massachusetts) and "Bright Spirit" (from Texas). They both got a bit of a late start on their 2,190 mile trek and hope to avoid heavy snows as they complete the remaining 350 (or so) miles to the southern terminus of the AT on Springer Mountain in Georgia.
Click here for a helpful Appalachian Trail distance calculator.
Friday, November 18, 2016
-- Lin Yutang (1895-1976) Chinese author.
Above: Seeger Chapel on the campus of Milligan College.
Friday, November 4, 2016
Here are some recent photos from Rocky Fork State Park. The transition to a state park is making good progress on this huge tract of land in southern Unicoi County. It looks like the parking area is nearing completion (but not open yet) and trails are now named and marked with signs. Hiking the Flint Trail, I came across a lovely meadow (left) after crossing the interesting footbridge you see at the top. The bridge was made from a tree that had fallen across the creek.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Sunday, October 2, 2016
The view from Horseback Ridge on Unaka Mountain looking toward Erwin, TN. The autumn colors are beginning to appear at the highest elevations. Click here for directions. Below is the view looking out toward Buffalo Mountain in the distance -- in the foreground is Stone Mountain and the ridge behind it, Little Mountain.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
No Pain, No Rain, No Maine.
–Appalachian Trail saying.
–Appalachian Trail saying.
Talking with those AT thru hikers that pass through this region in early spring, there are days they wake up to knee-deep snow or weeks when the rain just won't stop. Still the hardy and determined (and possibly insane) trudge on, though the weather will thin their ranks. I appreciate what they do and admire them, but I like my comfy bed and hot shower too much to ever do what they do. Six months is a long time to sleep out of doors. And 2,180 miles is a lot of miles to walk. I often ask them why they're out there. It seems you can put the thru-hikers into two camps: those who say they do it for the bucket-list-worthy, physical challenge of the trek and those who've come to clear their minds and get back in touch with nature. For both groups the pain and rain on the way to Maine is an essential part of this challenging and cleansing experience.
Above: The Appalachian Trail as it crosses the summit of Unaka Mountain in eastern Tennessee.
Friday, August 5, 2016
Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.
--Ruth E. Renkel
Hiked up to the summit of Unaka Mountain yesterday around sunset. Such an eerily beautiful place. No majestic mountain views, just spruce pines as far as the eye can see. When the fog and mist move through the trees, it's one of my favorite places to visit. The hike back in the dark was a little treacherous but made for a fun adventure. :) Pictured here is my friend Peter Nelson hard at work -- visit his gallery here.
For directions and a description of the hike, click here.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
--Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist.
Above: Rhododendron Gardens Overlook, Roan Mountain.
Monday, July 11, 2016
--Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) American psychologist.
Above: Fern illuminated by early evening sun
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
--Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) Roman philosopher and statesman.
The road to the top is narrow and difficult. But worth it. Not having time (or more accurately, energy) to complete the entire 9 to 10 mile Pinnacle Trail (round-trip), I drove to the parking area near the top. The Forest Service road starts out wide and gradual and in pretty good shape, but it gets narrower, steeper and increasingly pot-hole ladened. The good news was that from the parking area, it's a much shorter hike -- 3/4 of a mile walking up the rest of the road from the gate (steep!), or 1.5 miles via the upper section of the Pinnacle Mountain Trail (gradual). We took the trail up and the road coming back down. For a full discussion (with directions) of the Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower and Trail, click here.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
All in the dark we grope along,
And if we go amiss
We learn at least which path is wrong,
And there is gain in this.
We do not always win the race
By only running right;
We have to tread the mountain's base
Before we reach its height.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American Author and Poet.
Click here for directions and full description. Once at the parking area, the masses head straight up the bald ignoring the 'trail closed' signed which is intended to preserve the bald by minimizing erosion. I recommend heeding the sign and turning to your right or left. This loop trail takes you around the bald and then meets up with the Appalachian Trail which will take you to the summit. Most people head straight up the bald, and in the past I've been guilty of that myself. But taking the trail less traveled will really help you to appreciate the scope of Max Patch and give you amazing views everybody else (except thru-hikers) misses. The top photo is the view of the bald coming in on the AT from the north. The people at the top look like ants! The second photo shows the view once you climb the bald from the south on the AT.