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 1/31/2013! Now, it’s time to start working toward the 200th hike! The following are photographs and commentary, on hikes 97 through 100.

Hike 97 was on 11/28/2013, Thanksgiving. The next four photographs are from that hike. The light snow on the ridge was wonderful! It was a good way to work up an appetite!

Hike 98, in the next three photographs, was on Sunday afternoon, on 12/15/2013. 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 photograph is a rock outcropping – a good place to take shelter if it rains.

Hike 99 was on Christmas day, 12/25/2013. The temperature was about 20F, on the ridge, when I hiked. The icicles indicate the cold. The next six photographs are from that hike.

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.

With cell phone signal, I called the owner of the north side of the mountain, to ask permission to take photographs from the lower north bluff. (He had to restrict access, due to disrespectful hikers, who leave trash.) The next two photographs 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, 12/31/2013. This hike is dedicated to my sister-in-law, whose mother had passed away three days before. There are eleven photographs from this hike. The first three photographs 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 photographs 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 photographs are from the upper north bluff, which a hiker may access without violating owner’s restrictions. The photographs 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 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 photograph.

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

Lord willing, in about ten years or less, I will write 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, at its saddle, 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 answer was, “Only the devil knows.”

This Appalachian Irishman has hiked Devil’s Nose, since his high school days. A friend's uncle 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 photographs 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 photograph is of my youngest brother, climbing in his favorite tree on the ridge, heading east. He likes to have his photograph 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 photograph looks like fox tracks.

This next photograph looks like a set of bobcat tracks.

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

The next three photographs 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 Irish blood in her!

The next two photographs are the traditional “standing on the bluff” images, 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.