I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content. -- Lin Yutang (1895-1976) Chinese author.
Above: Seeger Chapel on the campus of Milligan College.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. --Albert Einstein
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.
are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is
out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only
if there is light from within.
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.
No Pain, No Rain, No Maine. –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.
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.
If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.
--Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist.
The great lesson…is that the sacred in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's back yard. --Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) American psychologist.
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.
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.
It's a long and difficult drive to get to Max Patch (an enormous 300 acre bald about 50 miles west of Asheville), but it's well worth the time and effort. I wish it was closer, I'd be there all the time. 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.
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
--Bill Keane (1922-2011) American cartoonist.
What a gift! The eight mile long Kingsport Greenbelt offers such
beautiful scenery and provides great recreational opportunities for
walking, jogging and biking. The path runs from the Exchange Place on
the east side of town to Rotherwood Mansion on the west. Visit the
website here. To see a detailed map, click here. See a previous post of mine here.
The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.
--Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897)
Beautiful bluebell blooms blanket a byway at Winged Deer Park in Johnson City, TN. Click here for a map of the park and its many trails. The scenes above are found on the aptly named Bluebell Loop. The blooms are approaching the end of their spring show, so get out to see them in the next day or so if you're in the area.
Click here for a previous post describing the trails at Winged Deer.