Harper Creep Falls

Harper Creep Falls
Harper Creek Falls

Monday, September 19, 2022

A Good Beginning

 I like hiking. I have done several thousand miles over the many years since I was a teenager. The last year or so life has gotten far too busy for leisurely or any kind of hike. My daughter has decided to get in shape by various means including hiking. So, last Saturday was the beginning of a goal and challenge. As you can plainly see we started at Carver's Gap on the NC-TN border. Her son was not having any of the photo op. I had another almost identical picture of the sign with him looking down in the opposite direction. It reminded me of the Dancer "5" on "A Charlie Brown Christmas" who does a two-dimensional head turn (A Complete Guide to the Dances of A Charlie Brown Christmas | Top Hat Sasquatch).

Part of the getting in shape is carrying the Boy.

Do you recognize Jack in the Pulpit without the bloom?

There was this miniature fern forest on a seep just up into the woods.

These beauties were all over the place.

Without a doubt there has already been killing frost on the slopes of Grassy Ridge as suggested by the Milkweeds.

Roan High Knob (6285") is both beautiful and massive.

The open balds have some of the best 360 degree views of anywhere. I am partial to further north on Hump Mtn. though.

Here I am atop Grassy Ridge with Roan in the background and my son-in-law checking the elevation on his GPS. He seemed believe everything was about 100 feet lower than marked based on his phone. I would suggest that his phone was precise but not accurate.

Down the Tennessee slopes of Roan

My children give me a hard time concerning this long held tradition of taking a picture of peak benchmarks with a hand in view. Frequently in the past there might be a Nalgene bottle, too. The funny thing is, at least two of them now do it.

Thrive and bloom where you are planted, even if it is between a rock and a hard place in a harsh environment.

As I passed the young people on the trail, I was asking about their hike and the enjoyment of the gorgeous day. Then I hear, "Hi, Mr. F!", and I usually think that I have come across a former student. Instead, he was a friend of one of my sons in college who I had taken climbing one time.

Looking back at Grassy Ridge (6189')

The fir trees are obviously not very old, but somehow being among their moss and lickened trunks feels like some ancient forest.

As we again approached the gap, the birches began to predominate. My daughter said that their bark and shape is almost enough to make you believe in Dryads and Naiads. Obviously a bit whimsical and mythological, but a grove of low growing birches do resemble dancers. 

What is about with toadstools perched among the trees?

Back at the gap we searched around for where the trail crossed the road. Knowing how it used to be is a disadvantage when they move it. I had to retrace back to following AT blazes. The new trend is to go around busy spots in illogical circumventions for getting from one point to another. As I looked, I found this fence, which is holding its own, but few could find it a mere 30 feet off of the road for all of the living things trying to overtake it.

When the fungus first emerges from the moss it seems sinister.

Then it grows into a jaunty staghorn.

Even the lichens appear as a tiny forest.

I was amazed at the good shape of this 1934 copper benchmark. It has a name and elevation, somewhat rare to see both together. It is somewhat hidden if you don't know where to look. Oh, that's not my hand.

Moss beard on the fir

The flash caught my grandson a bit off guard.

I realized when I was explaining to my son-in-law how I knew that the trail shelter cabin was there originally as the hovel for fire tower watchers that I had been coming to this cabin infrequently since 1976. Wow, when did that happen! Now I am standing with the next generation.

Just before the field where the hotel once stood is a chimney quite sturdy. My grandson wanted to know where the cabin was.

After eating a picnic lunch at the parking area, my wife and granddaughter and I went for another 1 mile hike to Roan High Bluffs (6267').  I spy a Pink Perched Prissy.

The years change us but not our love of the mountains.

Another generational sharing

"What are they, grandpa?" Aster is almost always the right answer.

Well, I guess, unless it's not.

Fall is so full of yellow and white wildflowers. The cool, high humidity is perfect for so many varieties.

"Home again, home again, jiggy jog." How about a family picture journal?

God has blessed me with family and love of His creation. I never tire of observing and relating to both.

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