Friday, April 14, 2023

House Mountain Hike #180, 4-13-2023: In Honor of Papaw Ferrell (published 4-14-2023; article #403)


Greetings to fellow hikers! Well, greetings to each reader, even if you don't hike. “The mountains are calling, and I must go” -- John Muir, in 1873 (as the article of 3/31/2023 elaborates).

House Mountain was calling me again, on Thursday, 4/13/2023. I had to go – especially when that hike #180 marked Papaw Marion Ferrell's birthday, in 1880.

Will you hike with me? Let's go! This article describes the hike, with four photographs included. It also honors Papaw Ferrell. The embedded podcast, with still photograph image, expresses my “hiking theology.” The conclusion inspires us all to turn right and go straight up! I hope that you enjoy hiking along with this Appalachian Irishman!

The Hike Up, to the West Bluff

The weather was mostly sunny, at first, and warm. The temperature rose from the lower 70s Fahrenheit, at the start, to the upper 70s, by the end. Clouds rolled in, during the hike, to become mostly cloudy. Yes, it was too warm. The poison plants, especially poison oak, were often and easily seen. Not much mud was in the usual trail locations. Clearing a few spider webs was routine. Flies, gnats, and a few waspers said howdy at times, but not too often. At least one hawk flew around, while on the west bluff. He didn't want to be in the video, unfortunately. Several butterflies fluttered around. A few squirrels and several birds said howdy. As usual, snake holes were noticeable, but no snakes were out. I've never picked up a tick on “My Mountain.”

We started our hike, when I touching the usual post, at 12:52 PM. We chose the west trail, instead of the east trail, as we did on 3/31/2023. Thankfully, we only met one person hiking down as we hiked up. She was polite, and had a friendly dog with her. Once we passed the five lower switchbacks and stepped across the little mountain stream, as usual, we started up the six upper switchbacks. Whew! That brought out the sweat! We had reached the fairly level trail, below the ridgeline, in good time.

Despite the warm weather, we should have reached the west bluff, in about 32 or so minutes. Why did it take us an hour and four minutes! Aside from pausing, to drink water from our canteens, as we hiked up those six upper switchbacks, we were not slowed by being out of breath. We're still in great hiking shape!

Yes, as you recall, I took the photograph, above, at 1:44 PM, after we'd already turned left and gone down, instead of turning right and continuing up. The view looks west, at a fork on the trail below the ridgeline. We were still heading west. Despite many hikes before, I led us the wrong way. I apologized! That left “trail” is a cutout that uneducated hikers had made, years ago. Cutout trail hikers still go that way, unfortunately. I don't know how or if they make it.

We had to scoot on our backsides to ease our way down. Then, the angle up was too steep for us. The dirt around the rocks was too loose. We could have figured it out, but we decided, as we swallowed our pride, to go back to the fork and to turn right and go up, as we should have.

So, we dusted off our old blue jeans and our pride, and we continued up the right way! I'll never turn left, at that fork again! We wasted too much time, on that wrong path!

Finally, at 1:56 PM, we reached the west bluff! As you recall, I took the above photograph, at 1:59 PM. The view looks southwest, with Knoxville far off in the distance. The green sprouts, in the lower left of the image, indicate that the tree, where I used to hang my cap, canteen, and outer layer, is growing back. It looks like strong wind had split the top off the original tree. The roots, however, are strong, so the tree will regrow. Isn't that a lot like life?

We had the west bluff to ourselves. I'll get to my podcast, with a still image, on the bluff and to the last two photographs of our hike back down. First, however, I want to offer tribute to the memory of Papaw Ferrell.

Papaw Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970)

Yesterday, while preparing this article, I searched this website by “Papaw Ferrell.” I found several articles that honor him or that mention him. The following is a list of seven articles that I selected.

Well Machine & Water Truck Legacy (published 6-26-2010)

November 21st Chronological Historical Notes: 1970 (Papaw), 2015 (Molly), 2016 (Truck), 2020 (House Mt. #174) – published on 11/22/2020

Late Tribute to Papaw Ferrell, in “Life, Such As It Is,” Context (published 4/19/2021)

6-13-2021, Sunday: Generational Honor – Granny Ferrell & Age 15 Niece

Ferrell's Well Drilling 3-8-1958, Weigel's 12-21-2013 Remembered 12-21-2021, Christmas 12-25-2021, and 'Light at the End of the Tunnel,' the Backdrop (published 12-26-2021)

The True Light Quartet – Uncle Paul's Legacy (published 9-7-2022; article #355)

Thanksgiving 2022, Granny & Papaw Ferrell's Marriage License - 1908, Mom's Birthday - 1932 (published 11-30-2022; article #374)

Having re-read those articles yesterday, I would not change a word. In life, Papaw hiked a few wrong trails, but he took the right trail and went up. House Mountain hike #180, on the anniversary of his birth, in 1880, was my hiking tribute to him.

Hiking Theology” Podcast, on the West Bluff

The podcast that I videoed, at the west bluff, has better volume than my 3/31/2023 podcast from the upper middle bluff.

The YouTube podcast of my video is House Mountain Hike 180, 4-13-2023: In Honor of Papaw Ferrell (published 4-14-2023; episode 7). As I recall, you liked my “hiking theology.”

The above is a still photographic image from my podcast. That's my “Life is Crap” cap. When did I get so gray-bearded. Do I see a few wrinkles? We either wear out or rust out. I'll wear out, thank you very much!

The Hike Back Down

Our time on the west bluff was enjoyable, as usual. I'm glad that we had it to ourselves this time! So, let's hike back down the same west trail and out, shall we?

The above photograph, taken at 2:28 PM, is on the same trail below the ridgeline. It looks east this time. We were heading back the way that we'd come up. The image is where the fork starts, going east. When we were heading west and up, we'd taken the wrong fork. We took the higher fork, this time, on our way back down! I learned my lesson.

Near the “defiant tree” (as I call it), we met and spoke briefly with two groups of hikers. The first was two ladies, about my age or a little older. They said that they had chosen to wear out, not rust out, also! The second was two young men, who were amazed that this was my 180th hike on “My Mountain,” to honor my paternal grandfather, born in 1880.

Once we started hiking down the six upper switchbacks, we met the final group on our way down and out. A young lady and her dog were ahead of the younger man and the older lady, but they were in the same group. When the younger man paused, to speak with me briefly, the older lady, perhaps his mother, kept going, determined not to allow conversation to stop her. Their native language is Spanish, but their English was excellent – better than many native English speakers. The young man and I exchanged names. I hope that I meet them again on the trail.

We passed the lower five switchbacks, stepped across the little creek, crossed the wooden bridge, and negotiated the usual rocky and muddy spot. I touched the same post as when we'd started. The time was 3:15 PM. A day with two hours and twenty-three minutes in the woods is better than not having been there! I wish that I'd left another T-shirt in my 2016 Frontier. My hiking T-shirt was almost wet enough to wring out the sweat.

The above photograph, taken at 3:16 PM, looks southeast, toward the parking lot. Can you see my old truck, farthest to the back? Six other vehicles were parked, at our arrival. Seven others were parked, at our departure. Weekday hikes are less crowded than weekend hikes!

Oh, by the way, what did you think about the middle-aged man, whom we had passed, while driving in? He was peddling an electric-assisted bicycle! He peddled into the parking lot, just as we were about to start hiking. His bicycle is his exercise routine.


As I've stated and written several times, “hiking theology” works! That wrong left turn down, as we hiked up and across the ridgeline, seemed right, initially. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV).

We should have, while standing at the fork, seen the original path. “This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls'” (Jeremiah 6:16, NIV).

My eyes were not focused to guide our feet correctly. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalms 119:105, NIV).

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

Near the end of his life, when the people renewed the covenant with the Lord, Joshua stated:

. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15, NIV)

Thanks for hiking along with me, even if only by reading this article. I trust that you are choosing the right path that leads up!

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