Wednesday, January 01, 2014

House Mountain 97-100th Hikes (published 1-1-2014)

The Appalachian Irishman has hiked House Mountain 100 times! It is official, as of 1/31/13! Now, it’s time to start working on the 200th hike! The following are photos and commentary from hikes 97 thru 100.

Hike 97 on 11/28/13, Thanksgiving, is in the next four photos. The light snow on the ridge was wonderful! It’s a good way to work up an appetite!

Hike 98, in the next three photos, was on 12/15/13, Sunday. I bought a Christmas tree from House Mountain Christmas Tree Farm afterward. This hike is dedicated to our oldest niece on the Appalachian Irishman’s side of the family, as I hiked on her birthday.

The next photo is a rock outcropping – a good place to take shelter if it rains.

Hike 99 was on Christmas day, 12/25/13. The temperature was about 20F on the ridge when I hiked. The icicles indicate the cold.

On the ridge trail heading east, I saw my first bobcat track on this mountain.

About the middle of the ridge, near the lower north bluff, someone decorated a Christmas tree.

I called the owner of the north side of the mountain, to ask permission to take photos from the lower north bluff. (He had to restrict access, due to disrespectful hikers who leave trash.) The next two photos are from the lower north bluff. The owner told me to watch out for a black mountain lion, which a game warden and he had seen on the ridge not long ago.

The monumental 100th hike was on New Year’s Eve, 12/31/13. This hike is dedicated to my sister-in-law, whose mother had passed away three days before. The first three photos are from the west bluff. The light clouds were sufficient to send snow flurries. 

Near the middle of the ridge, looking east, the next two photos are where the old fire tower used to stand and where the old two-seater out house, filled with buckshot, still stands. The stories that could be told about times at the old fire tower would be interesting. A cell tower is the modern footnote now.

The next three photos are from the upper north bluff, which one may access without violating owner’s restrictions. The photos do not do justice to the eye’s view. Come hike with me, if you want to see for yourself!

A man and woman arrived just after I did. I told the woman that this was my 100th hike. She asked, “Are you the man who wrote the article about your 75th hike?” (She had done an Internet search and read a previous post.) Of course, I am! I had my few minutes of “hiker fame” talking with them. She then took my photo.

The next two photos are from the east bluff, looking southwest. The east part of the ridge reminds me, just a little, of Devil’s Nose, in Hawkins County, but much more tame!

The final photo, from the 100th House Mountain hike, is of my ol’ faithful ’95 Nissan truck. He has 293,860 miles on him as of this photo, but he’s still running like new!

Lord willing, in about ten years or less, I will post about my 200th hike on My Mountain!

Devil's Nose, 11-29-2013 Hike (published 1-1-2014)

Devil’s Nose, in Hawkins County, Tennessee, is the highest peak in the county. How it is named? I have heard two stories: from the east, the mountain looks like a crooked nose coming out of the ground. The other story is that someone got lost on the mountain and never returned. Someone asked, “Where is he?” The family answered, “Only the devil knows.”

The Appalachian Irishman has hiked Devil’s Nose since his high school days. The uncle of a friend owned property at the southwest base of the mountain. We boys would hike up “the Nose” from his property. Later owners still allow us to hike from the same property. In 2002, I began keeping record of my usual annual hikes up “the Nose.”

My 10th hike up Devil’s Nose, since 2002, was on 11/29/2013. The weather was cool and clear – almost perfect. If it had been a little cooler, as in 20F or so, the weather would have been perfect.

In recent years, only my youngest brother has been brave enough to venture up “the Nose” with me. The following are photos from our 11/29/2013 hike.

The first two are of my brother and me at what he calls “the Samson Rock.” This is a rock formation as we hike up the southwest side.

The next photo is of my youngest brother climbing in his favorite tree on the ridge, heading east. He likes to have his photo taken in this tree every year!

It had snowed the day before, on Thanksgiving, and snow was still on the ground on the ridge and on the north side of the mountain. We found fox and bobcat tracks on the ridge. The next photo looks like fox tracks.

This next photo looks like a set of bobcat tracks.

The next two photos are heading east on the ridge. This is the first time that I can remember hiking with snow on the mountain.

The next three photos are taken from the east bluff, looking south and southeast. A group of four hikers came up the treacherous east side, using rope and hooks, while we were on the bluff.One was a nine-year-old girl, who is the great granddaughter of my uncle Carson and aunt Hazel Ferrell! (Can you figure out how she and I are related exactly?) This young girl certainly has some Appalachian Irishman blood in her!

The next two photos are the traditional “standing on the bluff” photos of my youngest brother and me.

Lord willing, I want to hike Devil’s Nose every year, the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, as a memorial to my mother, whose birthday was on November 24th, 1932.