Cataloochee Wild Women Weekend Part 4 – 5/23/11 – Rough Fork Trail to the Woody House
The sun rose for another spectacular day in Cataloochee and the wild women opted for leftovers for breakfast rather than the time-consuming process of making pancakes. (Women always plan for more food than needed.) Seemed like we had only just arrived, but it was already time to break camp and pack all that stuff back into the cars, maybe a little less carefully this time.
Today I planned a shorter, easier hike on the Rough Fork Trail to visit the Woody House. The total length of Rough Fork is 6.4 miles with a bit over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, but we were only hiking in the first mile over a very rocky road bed. The excitement was in crossing Rough Fork several times on footbridges.
Crossing a footbridge
Suzi and me modeling the latest hiker attire
As we walked the women constantly regrouped to chat with each other. No one in this group knew everyone else before the weekend (except myself, of course) and I enjoyed so much seeing the interaction and new friendships forming. A unique experience outdoors forms great bonds. I must figure out a way to do this for a living.
Joan, Ellen and Leida and lovely mountain laurel
Mountain laurel up close
Sometimes the trail is a creek
We explored the Woody House and its spring house, the only buildings remaining from an extensive farm. The house began as a one-room cabin in the 1800’s and it grew as Steve Woody’s family grew, adding bedrooms, porches and a kitchen between 1901 and 1910. Rough Fork flows past the front yard about 50 yards away. I have visited this house numerous times and can never resist sitting on the front porch listening to that water bubbling, closing my eyes to imagine living there.
A cute photo of Cindy (with me) that I could not resist including
We backtracked to our cars, and before leaving the valley we stopped to look at the Beech Grove School. I had hoped to investigate a couple of cemeteries in the valley but time was against us. I know I will be returning!
Too soon we had to head for home, with stories and photos proving what wild women we were. What made the weekend so successful? One, perfect weather! Two, women filled with eagerness and flexibility and open-mindedness. Three, the Smokies magic that cannot be explained, only felt and treasured.
I have been so very fortunate to spend many nights with friends camping and hiking, and this will be forever one of my favorite trips. The joy of watching someone experience the outdoors in a new way is inspirational to me and I want to do it again and again and again.
A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse