Saturday, May 27, 2023

Norris Dam State Park (5-25-2023, hike #23): Visiting the Cemetery (published 5-27-2023; article #415)


Life was more enjoyable two days ago! As an introductory sidenote, yesterday, Friday, 5/26/2023, my '06 Frontier and I hauled trash, bought Molly (our ol' puppy) edibles at the Tractor Supply, got gas, and bought groceries at the local store. With groceries in the truck bed, warming in the sun, my ol' truck would not crank! A good Samaritan, in a black Dodge Ram, and I tried to jump start my truck. The battery was fine. The good Samaritan brought the melting groceries and me to the house. Thanks, good Samaritan! The local towing service hauled my ol' truck back to the barn. The repair saga continues next Tuesday. The plan is to tow my truck to the fix-him-up shop. I'd say that he needs a new starter. Stay tuned!

Two days ago, this Appalachian Irishman enjoyed about two hours in the woods, at Norris Dam State Park! (My ol' truck ran fine as always then.) The cemetery was calling, and I had to go! This 52nd article on hiking will mention the cemetery visit on 1/17/2015, explain Thursday's hike to the cemetery, and highlight that visit and podcast. The conclusion will remind us of 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

Visit to the Cemetery, on 1/17/2015

No articles were published in 2015. Life, such as it was, apparently, withheld my glib, Irish writings. My thirteenth hike at Norris Dam State Park was on 1/17/2015, a Saturday. On that day, eight years ago, I'd visited the same cemetery, as I did on Thursday. I had taken three photographs. The following is the first photograph, from 2015, taken at 3:57 PM.

The image looks northwest. The notes in my hiking record log, for that 2015 hike, read simply: “Found gravesite. Photos. Warm, sunny. 50’s F.” I still recall the hike well enough.

The Hike to the Cemetery, on 5/25/2023

The article and embedded podcast, of 4/21/2023, shared the Norris hike on 4/19/2023. That was a “civilized hike.”

The Thursday hike was a little more interesting than the one last month. For some reason, the thoughts of the hike and visit to the cemetery, in 2015, had been in my mind. Memorial day was and is approaching. The cemetery was calling, and I had to go visit!

I remembered the trails that lead to the cemetery. Norris Dam State Park has a “Park Map” that shows trail locations. There are two ways to get to the cemetery. The quicker way is to turn, at the Rice Grist Mill, onto Lower Clear Creek Road (a winding dirt road). Turn down the hill, at the water plant, and drive across the wooden bridge that crosses the creek. There is a small parking area. Find the Red Hill Trail that leads up and northeast. After a while, you'll reach the cemetery.

The other way is longer. It takes about fifty minutes, at a steady pace, with no resting. That's the one that I'd chosen. A small loop road is near the east side of Norris Dam, near the TVA Visitor Center. Turn up the road that leads to the Tea Room. It's a narrow and roughly paved road. Drive past the Tea Room, to the CCC Cabins. Find parking near the cabin farthest back. The High Point Trail leads up the ridge and east, near that last cabin. It's an easy, winding trail that leads up and down hills. Watch out for horse manure! The trail is for hikers, horseback ridding, and trail bikes. After hiking under the tree canopy about a mile or more, Red Hill Trail (with trail marker) is on the right, leading farther southeast.

Once I'd reached the Red Hill Trail marker, I met a couple, somewhat older than me, and their two horses. The riders were off and resting their horses. (That explained why the last patch of horse manure, which I'd stepped past, was so fresh!) We conversed cordially a minute or two. Until then, no other hikers or riders were on the trail. I was alone in the woods, but God was with me. Well, I saw squirrels, birds, and rabbits. The poison, especially poison oak, was not as abundant, as it is on House Mountain, this time of year. As I started the hike, however, I saw what looked like a bobcat, running away from me, with tail extended. It could have been a large feral cat, but the markings looked more like a bobcat.

The Red Hill Trail winds mostly down the ridge. After a few minutes, the old cemetery is visible. I took the photograph, below, at 2:34 PM, after I'd recorded the video (farther below).

I was standing at about the same location as I had been, when I took the photograph, on 1/17/2015. The image also looks northwest.

Visit & Podcast at the Cemetery

As the podcast explains, there are about forty gravesites. As well as I could read the markers, the dates of birth are mostly in the 1800s, and the death dates are mostly in the early 1900s. As best as I could tell, Civil War veterans and possibly World War I veterans have gravesites marked with American flags. Several grave stones have no legible engravings.

I took the above photograph, at 2:16 PM. It's the same spot, in the upcoming video. I was at the back of the cemetery, with the woods behind me. The image looks southeast. As in 2015, I wondered what the lives of the folks, buried here, were like. Were they ready to go Home, when they passed on? A few stones denote the passing of a child in infancy. Those sinless infants, of course, went Home, since they didn't live long enough to reach the age of accountability.

The Appalachian Irishman - Podcast (on YouTube) is: “Norris Dam State Park (5-25-2023, hike #23): Visiting the Cemetery (published 5-27-2023; episode 12).” It's about four minutes. The panoramic view follows the introduction. I hope that you enjoy my extemporaneous comments. I hadn't planned the deeper thoughts that came to mind, near the end.


The total time in the woods was just over two hours, from 1:14 to 3:20 PM. The hike to the cemetery took exactly 50 minutes. The hike back took 45 minutes. The trails are wide and clear, mostly under the canopy of trees. There is no view from a ridgeline. Near the end of the hike out, I met one younger man, pushing his trail bike up the ridge. We talked briefly.

The above photograph, at 3:20 PM, marked the end of the hike. My ol' truck was rested and ready for the about 30 minute drive back to the barn. Neither of us knew that he would not crank, while groceries were melting in the truck bed, the next day.

Has it been a while, since you've read the inspired words of the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15? Please read the entire chapter. Please also read 2 Corinthians 5:1-11 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

In the context of Christ's second coming, the apostle wrote: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52, NIV). The comforting conclusion states: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58, NIV).

The cemetery marks gravesites. The Lord knows those who are absent from the body and present with Him. (See 2 Cor. 5:1-11). He also knows those who are absent from the body and separated from Him in Hades, awaiting final judgment. (See Luke 16:19-31.) How many, whose gravesites mark their passing, are present with the Lord or awaiting final judgment? The Lord knows.

This imperfect but saved sinner keeps trying to abound in the Lord's work, such as He seems to be laying out for me. Thanks be to God that my temporal labor will not be in vain! I'm ready to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. Are you? I hope so. If not and if you would like to start a conversation with me as to how to be ready, please use the email “Contact Form.” As one former poor beggar, who found Bread, I'll try to help you find the same Bread of Life.

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