This is the second article that I had written, on Sunday, 10/11/2020. It is published today, as I'd written it, excluding this first paragraph.
My hiking season (in the fall, winter, and spring) did not start in September, due to the “whatevers,” especially in my “bionic” left shoulder, that bothered me, from the 13th through the 21st. That’s an excuse. I know. Forgive me.
My most recent hike, the 170th, on House Mountain, was on 5/10/2020, Mother’s Day. I hiked at Norris Dam State Park, on Saturday, 6/21/2020. That was “Father-in-Law” Day and the birthday of my “ex-favorite-sister-in-law.” It had been over three months, since this mountain man had been in the mountains. It was time!
On the afternoon, of Sunday, 10/4/2020, I hiked “My Mountain” (House Mountain) for the 171st time! It was an enjoyable two hours in the woods. The weather was sunny to mostly cloudy. It was too warm for this time of year. The hike, from the parking lot to the west bluff, took 32 minutes. (I had touched the rock, at the bluff, to check my time.) That was not bad! I’m speeding up. My right foot and right knee are not slowing me down as much. Of course, I could have made even better time, but the branches of a downed tree and a couple of hikers, with whom I conversed briefly, slowed me down.
The above photograph is at the west bluff, looking east. You can see the rock that I touch, to check my time. The spot that looks like a seat is where I've sat often.
This is the west trail on the way down. (I had been up this way already.) The photograph does not capture the angle that my eyes do. I go down a steep, rocky area. I’ve done it many times, before and now with “bionic joints.” In this area, I met a cordial 78-year-old man and his grandson. They were hiking up, as I was hiking down. His daughter, or granddaughter, has a pet care business in my hometown. I’ve seen her advertisements in The Rogersville Review. My youngest brother may have done business with her. That older man inspired me to keep on hiking “My Mountain!” I’m a “spring chicken,” at age 60. I have no excuse!
This photograph is on my way back out. On my way up, earlier, I had to navigate this branch pile. I saw the large tree that had finally fallen. It had stood many decades. I’d seen that tree standing, during many hikes. It fell, but I still stand! Getting across the downed branches had slowed me on my way up. On my way out, I was smarter. I used my “super powers” to “fly” over the branches. (I have a jet pack.) A Boy Scout troop had placed the marker, a few years ago. It notes the quarter mile point, up the one mile west trail. An old marker had indicated that the west trail was 1.1 miles. The mountain did not shrink by a tenth of a mile! It’s a House Mountain hiker joke. You’d have to understand it. Hike with me, and I'll share the rest of the story!
Well, there is my new ol' truck, awaiting my return. The hike, as stated previously, was about two hours. I didn’t go across the ridge this time, since I had started late. My truck had 177277.1 miles on the clock, once I got him back in the “barn” at the house. He's a good truck!
The remnant of the Delta storm had forestalled my hike, on the weekend of October 10th and 11th. I could have hiked, in the muddy and rainy weather, as I have done before, even with “bionic joints.” In my “cowardice,” I decided to write instead. Please forgive me!