Sunday, December 17, 2023

2023 Christmas Gift: House Mountain Hike, on 10-17-2015 (published 12-17-2023; article #445)


Greetings, dear reader! I trust that you enjoy hiking and, more importantly, that you value family and heritage. This is the 58th article, in the “hiking” topic section. It's also the 118th entry, under the “family” section, and the 99th, under “heritage.”

Christmas is approaching quickly. Next Sunday will be Christmas Eve. My mind hears the commercials, as they jingle, “only seven more shopping days, until Christmas.”

My brothers and I stopped swapping Christmas presents, years ago. We just try to see each other, or at least call, on or around Christmas, each year.

This article is my surprise Christmas gift, to my youngest brother and his family. I hope that he doesn't open this gift, until Christmas day! Well, he can open it early, if he reads it, before then!

The Christmas Gift

The article of 12/1/2023 was about my 186th hike, on House Mountain, on 11/29/2023. That also marked my 50th House Mountain hike, as a “bionic man.” (The 17 articles, in the topic section “My Bionic Life - since 3/29/2016,” will explain.)

My youngest brother and his wife have hiked House Mountain, with me, three times. I didn't publish any articles, in 2015, as the “Website Archive” verifies. The following, as a late entry, is my Christmas gift.

House Mountain Hike, 10/17/2015

On Saturday, 10/17/2015, my youngest brother, his wife, and their two daughters joined me, as we braved the elements and the fairly treacherous areas, on House Mountain! At age 55, it was my 124th hike on “My Mountain.” It was the second hike, for my brother and his wife. It was the first hike, for their daughters.

My hiking log indicates that we hiked up the west trail and reached the west bluff, in 50 minutes. We then hiked east, to the middle bluff. Afterward, we hiked to the east bluff. We hiked back out and down, on the east trail. I'd taken two photographs, of my brother and his family, at the upper-middle bluff. As those images show, the weather was sunny and seasonably cool.

Yesterday, I was able to order and pick up, at the local Walgreens, 8x10 prints, of the two photographs that I'd taken. They are as follows, with my comments, below each photograph.

I'd taken the above photograph, at 4:24 PM. The view looks northwest. My younger niece is on the left. She had attained the grand age of six, three days before the hike. My older niece, on the right, was age nine, at the time. Do you see the personalities, in their faces? These were their humorous “styling and profiling” personalities! They still have them.

Three minutes later, having gathered the entire family together, I'd taken the above photograph. I still wonder why there was a need for two hiking sticks! My youngest brother was age 41, turning a year older, in four days. His wife is a few years younger than him. Don't worry, sister-in-law, I ain't telling the number of years!

This article publishes the memorable event -- of hiking with family, in 2015 -- as a family heritage snapshot in time. Youngest brother and family, this is part of your surprise Christmas gift!

Two Other Hikes

The first hike that my youngest brother and his wife took with me, on House Mountain, was on Saturday, 2/28/2004. (This website started two years later, on 3/6/2006.) My hiking log only mentions that this was my 17th hike on “My Mountain.” I didn't take any photographs, but I remember the hike well enough. As I recall, my sister-in-law was hiking faster than my brother and me! We had to ask her to slow down! Their two daughters were not yet born. Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) was still alive and getting along fairly well. My wife and I had been living, in our newly constructed home, almost a year. That was “back in the day,” as folks around here say!

If the weather is right, any Irish-American, who is worth his or her salt, wants to hike on St. Patrick's Day! St. Patrick's Day -- on Sunday afternoon, 3/17/2019 -- marked the third hike, on House Mountain, for my brother and his wife. It was their daughters' second hike. It was my 156th hike (or my 20th hike as a “bionic man”). That hike -- which involved seven humans and three dogs -- is highlighted, in the article of 3/21/2019, titled “HOUSE MT. #156, Saint Patrick's Day: 7 Humans and 3 Dogs!” Two photographs are included.


Well, Merry Christmas, youngest brother and family! I'll have a paper copy, of this article, included with your surprise Christmas gift!

Family heritage is a very important part of this Appalachian Irishman's life. The heritage is good. The four of us boys were raised by godly parents. We had fine grandparents.

Remember, the greatest Christmas Gift is not found in stores. Set aside the crass commercialization of Christmas. Remember Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. Christ's Christmas gift is the gift of Himself. It is a free gift. It is available to all, who seek, accept, and live for Him.

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