Howdy, fellow hikers! This is the third article today. The first “two very serious articles on family and heritage” were in honor of my mother-in-law and my adoptive mother. This one is for the joy of hiking, in those contexts!
Please hike along with me, as we hike House Mountain for the 181st time! Yesterday was “may the fourth be with you” day. Yes, I've made the same lame jokes. May the fourth has a deeper meaning to me.
The Hike Up
The weather was sunny and warm, about 65 Fahrenheit. We touched the post to mark our start, at 1:12 PM. If a meal could be made of poison oak, we would eat our fill. Just don't touch it!
On our hike up the west trail, we passed a group of three ladies, with their friendly dog. They arrived at the west bluff a few minutes after us. We enjoyed the conversation and petting the nice doggy. Our time was delayed, while I shared my “bionic” story that started on 3/29/2016.
Nearing the bluff, having taken all the right turns this time, a young lady passed us, on her way down. Otherwise, the woods were not crowded with other hikers, on that trail.
We arrived at the west bluff, at 1:55 PM. The hike up took 43 minutes! That's too long! Aside from the conversation with the three ladies, nothing except my careful and lame mountain goating slowed us down. The above photograph, taken at 2:09 PM, looks east. The west bluff is behind us. The rock that I touched, to mark the time, is visible. The tree beside the rock is growing back, from healthy roots. A couple of years or so ago, a strong wind must have snapped the original tree, where I used to hang my canteen and cap.
A few seconds later, I took the photograph, below, looking south. That tree had been split a while also. It's where I place my canteen and cap now. Our sweaty T-shirts and hair dried a while, with a warm breeze coming from the southwest.
A young man was sitting on the “viewing rock” at the west bluff. It's a big rock, on which I've stood and taken many photographs, over the years. He didn't speak, while we were at the bluff. It looked like he was playing with his semi-intelligent phone.
We hiked a little farther east, on the ridge trail. That's when I recorded my fourth hiking podcast, which is the tenth episode of Appalachian Irishman – Podcasts. It's just under four minutes long.
The podcast explains that this hike was dedicated to my mother-in-law, who went Home, on 4/30/2017. Last Sunday marked six years. It was also dedicated to my adoptive mother, who joined my mother-in-law and so many others, on Wednesday, 4/26/2023.
Of course, since Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove me home, after 36 days in two hospitals, on May the 4th, 2016, I had to hike “My Mountain” on that “may the fourth be with you” day. May the fourth has deeper meaning to me than all the lame Star Wars jokes!
By the way, don't forget to read the full written remarks that describe the podcast! Once we started back down the same west trail, I spoke with the young man, at the bluff. He was sitting on the “viewing rock” drawing! He's an artist! The view was inspiring his art. Don't assume. You know what that makes out of you and me!
The Hike Down
We started our hike back down the same west trail, at 2:28 PM. Still near the ridgeline, at 2:36 PM, I paused to take the photograph below. The lower trail is a cutout that ignorant hikers started years ago. The upper trail is the correct one. Always take the upper trail, closest to the top. Dwell on the deeper meaning of that “hiking theology!”
The photograph, below, was two minutes after the one above. The “defiant tree,” as I call it, shows on the flat area under the rock ledge. I always touch it. I still wonder how that tree grew in that location. Of course, the tree petrified years before I started hiking House Mountain. It remains defiant.
Another “hiking theology” message is: don't allow life to destroy you! Grow where you are planted, even if it's not a good spot. Even if you grow at an angle, your growth will be toward the Son, who gives Light, to help you grow.
By the way, just after that photograph, we met a man, about my age, hiking up. Coming down behind us was a younger man. The older man and I talked a while. The younger man knew the older man, so they got to talking. As we started to continue down, the younger man noticed a tick on my cap. I'm glad that he saw it. I flicked it off easily. I still haven't had a tick stick to me on a House Mountain hike.
On our way back down, we met only one young couple, on their hike up. I touched the same post as I'd done to start our hike. The time was 3:38 PM. Two hours and 26 minutes in the woods is better than not having been there!
There's my 2006 Nissan Frontier! He was waiting on us, in a shady spot. The front tag is the same as this website's heading, without the description under the title. The odometer showed 187,214 miles at the parking lot.
Thanks for hiking with me again! I hope that Mother's Day, upcoming, is good hiking weather. Of course VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), in World War II, will be next Monday. That might be a good hiking day, if it's not raining.
This is the Appalachian Irishman signing off, for now. I hope that you read the other “two very serious articles on family and heritage.” The podcast and the hike are dedicated to my mother-in-law and to my adoptive mother.