Saturday, June 4, 2016

AT in TN: No Surprises



Appalachian Trail in TN – 12/11/15 – FR 293 Northbound to Dennis Cove Road – 10.8 miles

Today’s hike fits in a category I’ll call “no surprises .”  No death-defying ledges, no summits, no animals, no injuries.  Still, an AT hike on a chill winter day is a meditation walk.  Jim offered to keep me company for the long drive to and from, with a bike ride for him during my hike.  His planned ride route ended up being a bust (too much traffic) but he found alternatives. 

First, though, we spent too much time looking for my trailhead.  My memory of starting from the same spot a few weeks ago proved unreliable as we drove up and down the mountain backroads of almost-NC-but-really-eastern-TN.  We had to go to Mountain Harbour Hostel to ask directions. In our defense, road names and signage were not consistent.  Bottom line is we finally got there.

Nondescript trailhead.  Don’t blink.

Looks like this will be impressive... Hmmm… tongue-in-cheek name because apparently I didn’t take a photo of it

My favorite overhead composition of blue sky, scattered white clouds and bare winter hardwoods with a splash of evergreen

Five miles in sits Moreland Gap Shelter in a nice broad gap with ample room for tents to spread out

But I don’t much care for the artist’s work inside.  In an appropriate urban setting I am a graffiti enthusiast, but I vehemently disapprove in nature’s setting.  Ditto for carving into stuff. 

The trail ascends partway up White Rocks Mountain and skirts around it, then eventually down to Dennis Cove Road, passing through a small meadow where an old barn sits and ponders what happened.

The car was waiting for me at the designated parking area.  As I was removing my boots, a local couple drove in.  The wife was dropping off hubby and doggie pal to hike a few miles, then she would retrieve them at the other end after stopping at the grocery store.  Must be nice to live close to these mountains. 

And there you have it.  Some days what is most needed is a gentle ramble in the woods, a little stream to sit beside, a winter sky to gaze at.  God is good.

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more.”  ~John Burroughs




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