Monday, July 14, 2008

Serene Beauty

You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.
--Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

As you start up Round Bald from Carver's Gap, you encounter a dense conifer forest with an other-worldly quality to it. It's like a scene out of The Hobbit - there's something mystical about this short section of the Appalachian Trail. I've heard some people say they think it's spooky, as if a thousand eyes were secretly watching. I actually find it to be a very peaceful, serene place. Even if the winds are whipping on the balds above, the woods are usually calm and quiet. Often there's a mist that settles in, casting a soft glow over the landscape.

It used to be you would take log steps up 1000 feet from Carver's Gap to the top of Round Bald. But hikers often chose to avoid the steep steps, instead walking around them, which caused a great deal of soil erosion. Thankfully, the TEHCC rerouted the AT through the forest, making the trail not only more gradual and environmentally responsible, but also more enjoyable and memorable. One thing I always wondered was, how did all that gravel get up on the trail over Round Bald? That was part of the trail location project that was completed in 2002 -- reading about the how 400 tons of gravel were hauled up the mountain in a low-impact manner, makes me grateful for all the work done by volunteers to keep the AT in the great shape it is in today.


  1. Hands down one of the prettiest parts of the hike up to the balds. I've been lurking on your blog for probably a month now. I'm from Kingsport but living in JC now and your blog has given me some new places to check out that I didn't know about!

  2. I've enjoyed your beautiful photography of both scenery and flowers. Will have to visit some of these places soon since I live a stone's throw away in Knoxville. Enjoyable blog. Thanks.


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