The Appalachian Irishman was on the verge of insanity! He was overworked and over stressed. He needed a week off. Instead, he took two days, Thursday and Friday, October 28 and 29. He had a plan. Destress. Unwind. Free his mind. Let nature, the woods, the ridgelines, work their healing. Four days off, counting the weekend, equaled four hikes in four different locations!
On Thursday, the Appalachian Irishman hiked his nearby, and beloved, House Mountain, for the 72nd time overall and for the eighth time this year. Some years ago, on the north bluff, a true patriot planted an American flag. Enjoy the views!
On Friday, I chose Panther Creek State Park, in Hamblen County. Regrettably, I had not hiked in the park before. I don’t know why. One trail led down to Cherokee Lake. Another followed an inlet. Walk along with me. Yes, I found a cactus in the woods!
The Saturday hike was at Norris Dam Park, north of Knoxvegas. This was my fifth hike there this year. I didn’t have many good photo opportunities, but I found the backcountry campsite, for future reference. The gravesite marks the presence of those who called the area home many years ago. My mind dwelt on how those folks must have lived back then. (I should have been born 160 years before I was!) I made my own trail along a ridge near the campsite and stealthily photographed the boat through the trees. The foundations of two structures indicate where a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was located in the 1930’s.
Well, on Sunday, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman braved the wilderness with me, on a hike in Cumberland Gap State Park. Last year, we visited the park around our birthdays, but we didn’t hike. We trekked along a trail that led past an old Civil War fortification. Signs of the earthwork lines are still present. A large hole, not photographed, marks where powder storage caught fire and exploded many years ago. I stood on the spot where the guvermint bureaucrats say three states meet. Again, I didn’t choose many photo opportunities. The shot of yours truly is on a knob near the cross roads of the Wilderness Road and the Daniel Boone trail. The large rock is called Indian Rock. Yes, I had to climb on it!
The time in the woods, over four days, restored my soul, rested my mind, and energized my body. It is my calling to hike, explore, camp, photograph, and write. Does anyone need an enthusiastic trail/camping guide and nature photographer/writer? May the dream become a reality for the Appalachian Irishman!