This past weekend my extended family celebrated two milestones – the second in honor of the first. My parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, and wanted their branch of the family tree to join them.
My love of hiking began taking trips with my parents over a decade ago. Kelly, my sister, must have been away at college, because I only remember the 3 of us going on hikes.
Today’s post is being a bit different than normal. I’m currently laying on a rock in the middle of the GSMNP.
Not sure how she stumbled upon it, but a few weeks ago my mother sent me a Facebook event notification she thought I’d be interested in. The Blount County Library was taking applications for their Foothills Voices class – combining two things I love: writing and my native Appalachia. Continue reading
This past Friday, I had the holiday off from work and decided to hit the trail with my friend Gretchen. She’s on a quest to hike all 900 miles of trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I invited myself to join her for part of the adventure.
I haven’t been hiking a lot lately, mostly doing shorter trails with my parents, and I’m just getting over a cold that kicked my butt for a couple of weeks. I asked Gretchen to take that into consideration when choosing our route, and she did a great job with the selection.
Our trek for the day was a loop, starting at the Little River trailhead, and taking Huskey Gap to the Laurel Falls parking area. Since the route was a loop instead of an out and back, we met at the end to leave her car behind, then I drove us to our starting point.
The park service is doing restoration in the Elkmont area, where our hike begins. In the early 1900s, summer lodges were built in Elkmont. Just recently, the park started taking most of the abandoned structures down, and returning the land to its natural habitat. A select few lodges will remain, as a reminder of part of the area’s past.
The first 2ish miles of our hike followed the river, so the incline was minimal. The weather was overcast and drizzly, but the sound of the rushing water made for happy hikers.
We saw a couple of other hikers on this trail, but for the most part we had the loop to ourselves. Good thing too, because we got a little goofy at times. I’d had to ruin anyone’s attempt to find serenity in the park.
At the Huskey Gap junction we turned left, and I can’t recall seeing another person until we got back to the car. We did, however, see wildlife. I noticed the chipmunk as I attempted to climb over a downed tree in the middle of the trail. A bit further up, I had to be told to stop (both walking and talking) when Gretchen saw a couple deer just off the side of the trail.
Gretchen has a YouTube channel where she posts her adventures, and I got to be an “on air” guest for the production. One thing I enjoy about hiking with Gretchen is that – even if it is for a video or a Facebook post – she has a knack for finding those things others might miss along the way.
About midpoint of the hike, we finally got a glimpse of sun. The views were few and far between, but we did manage to hit the sun being out and the open view a time or two.
Gretchen and I disagreed on the importance of laffy taffy in one’s life, contemplated the perfect way to eat and Oreo, and shared a chocolate covered peep. We disagreed on the effectiveness of the chocolate treat. (Don’t waste your time or money, stick with the original peep!)
At the final trail junction, we turned left for our final 3 miles. Unfortunately, the trail to the right is still closed because of damage from the Chimneys 2 fire in November of 2016.
This last stretch is the only incline to speak of on this route. I’m not a huge fan of ending on a climb, but given the relative easy of the rest of the hike I didn’t feel like I was in a position to do much complaining. After all, any day in the park is a good day!
In case you haven’t noticed, things have been quiet around here lately. I found myself focused more on blogging and less on actually writing. Continue reading
I haven’t joined the girls for #FridayFive fun in a few weeks, but couldn’t resist this week’s prompt: smiles.
In the words of Buddy the Elf, “Smiling is my favorite!”
As I’ve recounted on previous blogs, my life is full of thousands upon thousands of blessings. Every day things which Abba brings into my day which point me back to Him. Continue reading
In an attempt to live life on purpose, I started 2016 with 5 goals I wanted to work towards this year. Thankfully “check-in every month” didn’t make the final cut. As expected, January received a prompt recap and I’ve trickled out since then.
Though it injures my type A-ness, I’m kinda glad I haven’t been regimented about it. After all, I’d hoped to become a bit more flexible with my goals. Checking in on the first of every month like a good little soldier might have been counter-productive. Continue reading
For Valentine’s Day, Jay and I headed into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to log some more miles on our quest to earn our Hike 100 pin. The pin is in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park system. Continue reading
Our weather here in east Tennessee has been all over the place. We started winter crazy warm, then had a snow day, and then went back to crazy warm. While moods wings of this variety are common at the ole homestead, our weather tends to be a bit more stable.
My friend Melissa and I decided to take advantage of the weather before mother nature changed her mind again. Having never hiked with Melissa or her husband, I chose a moderate hike with a big payoff at the end.