Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hike’ Category

My daughter was reminiscing about a backpacking trip we took when she was 20 years old. As I pointed out to her, I have always been bad with ‘when’s’ and am slipping with regards to ‘what’s’. So, she reminded me that it was in August of 2008 and that I had blogged about it (see “Casting Cares”). That former blog entry was more about a few impressions of the trip than a diary thereof. At her request I am posting more pictures. I can’t resist a little commentary, but I will keep it to a minimum. Check out the map of the route at the end.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 003

You can’t hide forever

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 004

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 005

I like lichen for the patterns and color variety.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 006

Beech Gap Trail

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01016-08-08 Smoky Mountians 00716-08-08 Smoky Mountians 00916-08-08 Smoky Mountians 011

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 013

Mutual Support

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01416-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01516-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01616-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01716-08-08 Smoky Mountians 02016-08-08 Smoky Mountians 01916-08-08 Smoky Mountians 026

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 028

Fir Cones

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 03316-08-08 Smoky Mountians 02916-08-08 Smoky Mountians 03916-08-08 Smoky Mountians 04116-08-08 Smoky Mountians 04216-08-08 Smoky Mountians 04316-08-08 Smoky Mountians 044

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 047

You can just resolve the fire tower on top of Mt. Sterling.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 04516-08-08 Smoky Mountians 04916-08-08 Smoky Mountians 05016-08-08 Smoky Mountians 051

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 053

Water Filter Blues

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 055

New Style Shelter

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 059

Old style blogging (trail journal)

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 06116-08-08 Smoky Mountians 06516-08-08 Smoky Mountians 06416-08-08 Smoky Mountians 07216-08-08 Smoky Mountians 07316-08-08 Smoky Mountians 07416-08-08 Smoky Mountians 077

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 078

“Why do we do these things? I will tell you…Tradition.” Based on the elevation and approximate sequence of pictures, the location is near Eagle Cliffs (elevation 5781 ft.).

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 081 (2)

Remembering former days on the trail

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 085

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 091

A goodly sized Red Spruce

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 092

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 096

The Happy, Rested Crew

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 097

Bee Balm or Oswego Tea?

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 098

Hog Wallow (Russian Bore, that is)

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 100

Tired turns to fatigue

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 10116-08-08 Smoky Mountians 10216-08-08 Smoky Mountians 103

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 107

I don’t even know.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 110

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 112

The Cucumber Magnolia seed pod begged to be photographed.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 113

Occasional Surprises in the GSMNP

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 121

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 122

When it is sharp or slick or both, you have to watch you feet.

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 124

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 126

Watching the wading crew

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 128

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 129

Spores Galore

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 130

16-08-08 Smoky Mountians 131

Cool looking mushroom; frustration of automatic focus camera

08-08-16 Backpacking

Trip began and ended at Round Bottom, hiking counter-clockwise. The first night we stayed at Laurel Gap Shelter. The second night we stayed at Pecks Corner Shelter.

Read Full Post »

The title comes from the notion that my extended family gathers every Thanksgiving at my oldest brother’s house for a meal and remembrance of God’s goodness to us. That is what feasts in the Old Testament were about, sacrificing animals to recognize and acknowledge one’s sin followed by celebration and feasting with family and friends over God’s goodness to forgive, provide, and protect.

Recently, because of growth within our family, we have had several additional gatherings for meet and greet. The latest one was planned for Independence Day, 2019. That comes under thankfulness for protection within this great country. Anyone thinking we could have what we do without God’s blessing is foolish, and anyone who implicates God in the evil that sinful men and women of this country have promulgated is without any sense. We are blessed and we don’t deserve it, therefore, God has been good to us. <-Period, read it?

On the way over the mountain, my wife and I stopped at the small westbound I-40 rest area in the highest gap for lunch. On our way to the bathroom, we saw several bunches of planted flowers. The edge of the woods had many wildflowers, notably Solomon’s Seal gone to seed. The entrance to the restrooms is the most busy corridor in the rest area, but it also has a dry ledge for mud builders. I took pictures and described to two ladies why it was a barn swallow instead of a cliff swallow, tree swallow, or swift. (Besides facial pattern the forked tail is a big give away.) Several Swallowtails landed among the plantain to warm their blood in the cool, sunny air. The traffic is close and noisy, people are coming and going, and the creatures just accommodate and adapt as needs be. I am sure some adapt by staying well out of range, but I was amazed at how others live so close.

20190704_123920
2 Beauties
20190704_123950
Barn Swallows
20190704_131917
Built on the Rock
20190704_125326
Eastern Swallowtail

Speaking of accommodating, my oldest brother and sister-in-law are very accommodating to have a family party. I think we are sensing the passing of the years, the incredible blessing of extended family, and the need to connect more often and more deeply. I was so busy talking and playing and eating that I almost forgot to take pictures. My wife and I counted 30 souls in attendance, the majority under 15. Many of my children and theirs were not able to attend. They have 15 grandchildren and I have 6.

20190704_205329
A Story, I’ll be bound
20190704_205444
Whack it hard! The “Birdie” is in motion just above her head over the white SUV.
20190704_205428
Get ready…seriously.

The next day, my older brother and I decided to go on a hike while my wife visited her sisters. The grandchildren wanted to go, but the pictures below reveal why that wouldn’t be safe. My brother wanted to visit a tristate marker on the way. It was a very unheralded spot, tying a point on a map to an actual location in the real world. Lines have thickness on paper, but lines in the world have only one dimension, length. It may seem as trivial to most, but the connection between the two is most fascinating, particularly as you stand over the spot.

20190705_090453
Grandchildren saying ‘goodbye’
20190705_102838
Another Tri-state intersection: The arch says, “Tristate Corner Paradise Point Resort”
20190705_102430
Which state is the camera in? And which way is north?

My brother had been to Foster Falls previously in winter when there was abundant rain. I was not surprised to find it simply dripping. This is the way of streams and falls on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. The pool was quite deep and must be well sealed to keep so much water with so little input. It was a beautiful sight, nonetheless.

After the falls, we walked about a mile along the base of the cliff, reconnoitering the sport climbing for a possible future push. I attempted a few pictures but the quality was sub-par due to contrast of shade at the base and full sunlight on the cliff. With the heat it would be best attacked in Fall. The walk back along the sandstone caprock was significantly flat with sandy spots and intermittent seeps, all dry and baked this summer day. And yet a succulent was thriving on the rocky, shallow depressions, Fameflower. My sister-in-law, who is very knowledgeable about wildflowers, named it and described it from this picture I texted her. She said she had never actually seen one in bloom in nature owing to the fact that it only blooms a few hours in the mid-day heat. You frequently don’t know what you are looking at until someone points it out later. I saw 10 or more blooms at the edge of thicker grasses, but only stopped to take a picture of this one because of its extra-ordinarily stressed environment- kinda a “bloom where you’re planted” scenario. It turns out that they are just tough as nails and out compete other plants for such sites.

20190705_113404
Foster Falls- capstone, shallow soil, and infrequent rain result in a boom or bust flow
20190705_115538
Mud Daubers? Cliff Swallows? Dried Mud? No, it’s pitted limestone!
20190705_134604
Topview of Foster Falls
20190705_140223
Phemeranthus calcaricus, Limestone Fameflower
20190705_140504
Natural Pavement, aka Sandstone Cap; Unnatural Meadow, aka Powerline Right-of-way

We made it home late that night, tired but blessed by the family time and brushes with nature.

Read Full Post »

I awoke this morning with a number of thoughts rolling around in my mind. Of the ones that rose to the top, I skimmed off the following in a poem that came fairly quickly:

Running fast was once a thing
But now I have grown old
Working ’til the break of dawn
But now I early fold

Once I walked with heavy pack
Many miles in a day
Now I sit in rocking chair
Recalling hard won play

Recovery was quick then
Endurance that would last
Injury slight problem when
Healing would come so fast

Now there is strength in wisdom
Knowing when best to stop
Working smarter not harder
No need to be on top

Much there is I’ve yet to learn
New vistas I would see
But lack of energy
Means that I am not free

My good days are not done yet
Though now I slow the pace
My hope is not in sprinting
But finishing the race

If it were in my own strength
Long since I would have failed
For God is my provision
Or long since I’d have bailed

As life begins to wind down
Vigor begins to wane
Glimpses I see of heaven
Through a dimly lit pane

One day before God I’ll dance
I’ll sing and serve and praise
In His strength forever there
His glories I will raise

Read Full Post »

Keeping the Thanksgiving tradition alive on a day after hike is one of the enjoyable ways of renewing our family relationships. I find that the quieter, slower pace and distance between hikers perpetuates more personal conversation. It’s when I really catch up with where family members are at. And I met one new extended family member, too.

The best time to see waterfalls and cascades is when there is plenty of water. This must have been a record rainfall year. Chuck said the area is 10 inches above normal so far. And there had been a big storm just two days before.

The hike we took was on Rhododendron Creek in Greenbriar. I’m told it is not an official trail, but given the traffic, it might as well be. Toward the end of the 2.6 mile stroll we came to cemetery that had numerous Whaley’s in it. There was a curious story about how two distant cousins in my family meet, genealogically speaking.

When we got back to the road, my niece and I ran about 1.3 miles down the gravel to retrieve the cars. I am so happy that I can begin to run again. It was a pleasant hike all around.

101_1552

Ready for a hike even on a damp day

101_1554

Every little stream full to overflowing

101_1555

Hi-ho, hi-ho!

101_1558

I like to slow it down a little

101_1559

Plenty of water

101_1561

The crew at a destination

101_1564101_1566

101_1573

A very bushy lichen (Anyone help with the ID?)

101_1574

101_1579

Leon and Chuck

101_1590

To read and see my brother’s description of this and another hike, click on Chuck’s Description of the Hike 

While at one of the seven cascades, my niece decided to take a selfie. As she described it in her e-mail with the attached picture, this is the picture with my ‘crazy uncle’. That crazy uncle was trying to go see the next cascade up that was hidden in the rhododendron above. My nephew followed and you can see the site below.

 

Emily with me in background

My Niece’s Photo Bombed Selfie

101_1575

‘Crazy Uncle’ Cascade

Some people reading this blog may say that Leon (aka ‘crazy uncle’) seems to think that he has to tag on a thanksgiving or praise to God at the end of a blog entry. I don’t always, but if you look at the title and subtitle of this blog, you will see that it reminds me that He is the one worthy of praise and thanksgiving for our existence, provision, and salvation. I intend never to stop praising His glorious name, and enjoying and thanking Him for His provision of all things good and beautiful. Among those provisions are good health, the beauty of creation, and the warmth of family.

 

Read Full Post »