Saturday, March 13, 2021

3-7-2021, Sunday, House Mountain Hike #177 (#41 “Bionic”): Six Upper Switchbacks (published 3-13-2021)


This article is better six days late than never! I am writing this article, on 3/13/2021, a cloudy Saturday. I had hiked House Mountain #177, last Sunday afternoon, 3/7/2021, which was a sunny day.

Brief “Life, Such As It Is,” Update

This week, 3/8-12/2021, was another “wonderful” work experience. Why was Friday not the 13th? It should have been. You, dear reader, do not want to know. I endured the usual work insanity, with extra insanity. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I, however, do not live off the socialist “equity” redistribution of income, despite how the socialists take their cut from our pay. We “hit a lick,” by working for a living. I think that someone said something about that, along the lines of if a man (i.e., person) does not work, he (or she or “shim”) should not eat. (See 2 Thessalonians. 3:10. It's in the Bible, folks.)

Today, Saturday, 3/13/2021, I had another great haircut, by my barber and friend, at Tony's Best Clips! (I'd arranged the 10:30 AM appointment, on Wednesday, as one must do, in “these challenging times.”) While I waited outside, “out of an abundance of caution,” for the one in the chair to be finished, I decided to photograph my truck, parked between a couple of the highway-side barber poles. (There are more.)

As always, Tony provided another fine haircut, and we engaged in sarcastically jovial humor. I had to move on, as the next client had arrived, waiting outside, for his turn.

Let's get back to the main topic, shall we? We shall.

House Mountain Hike, 3/7/2021

Last Sunday afternoon, 3/7/2021, was House Mountain hike #177 (total) and #41 (bionic) – so far. I'm glad that I had decided to start my hiking log, on Sunday, 4/23/2000. On that day, a niece and I hiked “my mountain,” for the first time. (She was a young girl then.) That hike was when Mom was doing well enough – before she went “to see Jesus,” on 12/27/2000.

I hiked once, in 2001. I hiked three times, in 2002. On 9/20/2003, Saturday, I started to hike “my mountain,” in a consistent fashion. Eventually, I may publish my hiking record -- so far. It is too early to do so. My “bionic” hike count started, on 12/22/2016, Thursday. That was my first hike, on the easy loop trails at least, after my acquisition of “bionic” joints. (I've written about that several times.)

With apology for my historical sidetrack, let's write about hike #177 (“bionic” #41)! I started at 1:25 PM. The weather was warm and sunny. The recent sunny days had mostly dried the muddy spots. I hiked up the harder west trail, as usual. I arrived, at the west bluff, and touched my rock, at 2 PM. Before “bionics,” I could make the hike, in about 25 minutes, even less at times. It takes me five minutes, to get from the parking area, where I start timing myself, to the location, where you chose the west or east trail. That's too long! I need to speed up the first five minutes! The delay is the rocks, on which I must step, to avoid the mud. (If there isn't any mud, then I chose the rocks anyway. I must challenge myself.) The mud was still there. Well, the rocks do not delay me. My right foot must be more careful, navigating the rocks. I am still a lame “mountain goat,” with slow improvement, over these almost five years.

I was not slowed, by too many hikers, coming down, as I was going up. I had the west bluff to myself, for several minutes. The above photograph is just east of that bluff, on the ridge. The distance between the west and east bluffs is 1.5 miles. I haven't been to the east bluff in a while. It is an easy, narrow trail. The east bluff is okay, but trees have grown over the years. That is good, but the trees limit the view. The east bluff view was better, years ago.

The “Mountain Trail” is the east trail (up or down). Going about five minutes east, from the east trail, is the middle bluff. That is the best location for viewing and photographs! My most recent photographs, from the middle bluff, were on 2/21/2021. I wrote about it.

I went back down the same west trail that I'd hiked up. I had wanted to get back, to working on website articles, so I didn't go across the ridge, to the middle bluff, then down the east trail. It takes more time.

Instead, I decided to photograph the highest six switchbacks, on the west trail. The following are those six switchbacks, from highest to lowest. There are four switchbacks in the low area, just as one starts climbing.

The Six Upper Switchbacks, in Highest to Lowest Order

The above photograph, looking west, is the sixth (final going up) or the first (going down) switchback. (You hike just under the ridge a while, to get here. I've taken photographs, along that area, recently.) The upper part is eroded, by years of hikers, who cut the old trail. I still take the old trail. I know where it is.

The above image is the fifth (up) or the second (down), looking east. The erosion is not too bad here. Do you see the cut in the switchback? I do. I've tried to educate hikers, over the years, to stop cutting the switchbacks! Some listen. Some do not.

The above is the fourth (up) or the third (down), looking west. Erosion is not bad, on the lower side. Erosion, on the upper side, is bad. I always take the old, higher trail. (You can't see it in the image.) It's still there. Lazy hikers, over the years, have cut that lower trail.

The above is the third (up) or the fourth (down), looking east. The rocks support the ground well here, so the erosion is not bad, on either side. Park officials have tried, over the years, to place the orange eye sores, to stop the ignorant hikers, from cutting the switchbacks. The wooden fencing works best. I've offered to volunteer, pre-bionics and post-bionics, to help maintain or add wooden fencing. Two park officials have my name and phone number. Both have promised to call me, when a date is set, to make improvements. I have not been called yet. I have, over the years, piled brush and limbs, in the spots where switchback cutters like to cut. It has helped some. I still can see my work, from years ago, that is still holding.

The above is the second (up) or the fifth (down), looking west. The stony ground holds the erosion well enough here also. Do you see the opening, in the largest tree, farther back and to the left, jutting into the trail? On my hike #115, on 12/13/2014, I had noticed that several acorn nuts were piled, in that opening. Someone had written, on a piece of wood, “Squirrel Bar.” I didn't write about it. I did take a photograph that I still have. I wish that I had been the one who had thought about the joke!

The above is the first (up) or sixth (final) down, looking east. The erosion is not too bad here. (Well, one lower spot, not in the image, is worse than years ago.) I had to wait a while, as a couple of groups were hiking up. I told my “bionic” story, in succinct detail, to one group. They listened. They seemed to be inspired, as I added an important side note, about the Good Lord.

Conversation with a Christian Family

I had the four lower switchbacks to go. I hiked down them. At one location, I met a fine family of three (husband, wife, and son). They were hiking up. The man asked, “Are we almost there yet?” I replied, “You are just getting started!” He said that a group of teenagers had told him, earlier, that they were almost at the top! We joked about the lying teenagers! By the way, the skin color of that fine family is black. Mine is white. It did not matter! The content of our characters were what counted! We knew it. I met new Christian friends. I hope that I see them again. (My apology for my sidetrack; however, we must get this once great nation back on track! We do that by following the Good Lord's ground rules. I doubt that this once great nation will do so, in the majority. I know that many readers are on track.)

End of the Hike

I marked the end of my hike, at 3:19 PM, when I touched the same marker, as I had done, at 1:25 PM. That was almost two hours in the woods. Any day in the woods, even if only two hours, is better than none!

I had to take the above photograph! My truck is to the right. The main image is the fancy outhouse, which had not had a road address on it, for many years. Today -- for the first time that I've seen it -- the fancy outhouse has a road address! I know that House Mountain starts at Hogskin Road. The fancy outhouse has been there, for several years. The “guvrmint” had spent way too much money, to improve the area. (I've written about it.) The fancy outhouse now has a road address: 9601 Hogskin Road! Does anyone get mail, at the fancy outhouse? I didn't see a mailbox. No one lives in the fancy outhouse. Well, that's my “potty mouth” humor, for the day!


I have at least two more articles to complete. The time is about 5:30 PM. Remember, “guvrmint” time starts, at 2 AM, tomorrow – not 1:59 AM. Set them “thar” clocks forward an hour. I despise “guvrmint” time! In the woods, I can check the time, by the sun, but I'll have to add an hour.

Remember, do not cut the switchbacks! It erodes! Remember, take the higher area of the trail. Do not start a lower trail. It will cause erosion. I hope that you understand my deeper thoughts, in the realm of philosophy and Christianity.

In life, y'all keep to the high trail and do not cut the switchbacks! That helps everyone to keep turnin' right and goin' straight!

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