Showing posts with label HIKING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIKING. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

House Mountain Hike #132 on 1-23-2016 (published 1-24-2023; article #387)


I published only three articles in 2016. They are as follows.

I’M STILL ALIVE – WHY? (published 8/26/2016), which has 352 total views and two comments, as of today. The article includes remarks on the 3/29/2016 accident that almost killed me.

PEARL HARBOR at HOMEPLACE (published 12-8-2016), which has 192 total views, as of today, but no comments. The article is about my first visit to the homeplace, after 3/29/2016.

HOUSE MOUNTAIN, #137 (published 12/22/2016; updated 10/3/2022), which has 191 total views, as of today, but no comments. The article marks my first “bionic” hike on House Mountain – at least on the loop trails.

Today, I was reminded of my 1/23/2016, Saturday, hike on “my mountain.” This article is the publication, seven years delayed, about my hike #132 on House Mountain on 1/26/2016. Seven years late is better than none. First, however, I'll note my hiking records on House Mountain in 2016.

2016 House Mountain Hiking Records

From my hiking record document and memory, I hiked House Mountain eight times in 2016. The dates were, in January, on the 3rd, 18th, and 23rd. In February, I hiked once, on the 7th. Hikes in March were on the 16th, 20th, and 26th. After my “sabbatical,” I hiked on December 22nd.

I took nineteen photographs, which I have saved. Three were on 1/18/2016, which was also the day that uncle Bobby died in infancy in 1941 and when my wife's aunt Mona attained age 94. I took eight on 1/23/2016 (which are included in this article). I have one from 2/7/2016, one from 3/20/2016, and one from 3/26/2016. I took five photographs on 12/22/2016 (which are in my article of that date).

Molly (our doggy) went with me on four hikes in 2016 – on January 3rd, February 7th, March 6th and 20th. That was Molly's third through sixth hikes with me. My next to youngest brother also hiked with Molly and me, on 3/20/2016. That was his first and only hike, so far. Two, now former, coworkers hiked with me, on 3/26/2016. I hiked alone, on January 18th and 23rd and, after my “sabbatical,” on December 22nd.

House Mountain Hike #132, on 1/23/2016

I recorded, in my hiking record document, that I had hiked up the west trail in 35 minutes (delayed by the need to hike carefully in the snow and to take two photographs). I had then hiked across the ridgeline and down the east trail to come out.

The temperature, on that cloudy day, was about 25 Fahrenheit, with a crisp wind. About 1.5 inches of snow were on the ridge. I had seen rabbit, fox, dog, and bobcat tracks. Enjoy the following eight photographs, with my comments!

I had taken the photograph, above, at 3:15 PM. I was nearing the west bluff, on my hike up. The image looks north and up, toward the ridgeline.

The above photograph was at 3:16 PM, near where I had been a minute earlier. The view still looks north and up, toward the ridgeline. I had wanted to photograph the icicles!

After I had removed my outer layer, hiking cap, and canteen, I took the photograph, above, at 3:27 PM. The exertion on the hike up had warmed me too much. I kept my T-shirt and sweatshirt on, to let the crisp air cool off the sweat. The image is on the west bluff, looking east, toward the ridgeline.

A minute later, at 3:28 PM, I took the above photograph from the same west bluff. The image looks down and southwest, toward Knoxville.

At this 3:45 PM photograph, I was heading east, on the ridge trail. Several years before, a Boy Scout had built and placed the bench at the location. The marker on the bench denotes by whom and on what date the bench had been placed there. Those are my footprints.

At 4:35 PM, I took the above photograph at the upper, middle bluff, after having hiked the ridgeline farther eastward, to arrive at the bluff. The image looks northwest, as the sun was close to setting. The west bluff is visible, in the upper left of the image. The human tracks are mine (as no one else had hiked that day, apparently). I see some animal tracks also.

A minute later, at 4:36 PM, I photographed that view from the bluff, looking northeast. Again, the human tracks are mine. I see the animal tracks here also.

It had taken me just under an hour, to hike the short distance west on the ridgeline and then to hike down on the east trail. At 5:24 PM, I had taken the above photograph of my 1995 Nissan pickup, who had been awaiting my return. The tracks of only one other vehicle were present, after my hike. No other vehicle tracks were present, before my truck and I had arrived. I had never seen another hiker. (My 1995 Nissan pickup died, trying to save my life, on 3/29/2016.)


This article about House Mountain hike #132, on 1/23/2016, is published today, finally. Seven years was a long time ago. My article of 4/25/2021 was about my 4/18/2021 House Mountain hike #178. That article included my tribute to a classmate and friend, who had passed on at age 61.

I have taken a long hiking sabbatical (since 4/18/2021). My “bionic” left shoulder, right knee, and right foot have each improved. My right knee and foot, in particular, could still take the pounding – even easier now.

Lord willing, I anticipate that the urge to hike, which sparks in me at times, will ignite fully. Other interests -- such as the 177 articles that I have published on this website, from 4/28/2021 until yesterday (1/23/2023) – have ignited my greater interest. Still yet, today would have been a good day for a hike!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD: 9-15-2013 House Mt. Hike #90 Dedication (published 9-17-2022; article #357)


I published only one article in 2012HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY, DAD, on 9/17/2012.

Earl Ferrell (9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) was my father. Aside from the 9/17/2012 article, my archives show other articles about Dad, on 6/21/2009, 6/26/2010, 9/20/2020, 1/25/2021, 6/20/2021, and 9/20/2021. Other articles, on family and heritage, mention Dad.

In 2013, I published only three articles – two in February and one in March. Today, nine years late, I will publish my House Mountain hike #90, of 9/15/2013 – which I had dedicated to Dad.

House Mountain Hike #90 - Dedicated to Dad

On 9/15/2013, I had written, in my hiking log, “09/15/13, Sunday. 90th! Passed 16 people going up! 28 min. West trail up. Muggy. Photos.”

That hike up the west trail was four minutes slower than my best time (as of 2013). It was my first hike of the fall, winter, and spring hiking season. I could have hiked up faster, but the sixteen people, whom I passed while hiking up, had slowed me down! They were mostly couples, in their 30's, with children. I also passed a few college students, in their early 20's.

This “old man” (age 53 at the time) had hiked up faster than those younger folks! Dad would have said, “Now, son, stop your crowin’!” My 90th hike was dedicated to Dad, who would have been age 86 on 9/17/2013 (a Tuesday).

I had taken the photograph, below, on 9/15/2013, at 3:41 PM – after I'd already hiked up the west trail, to the west bluff. The photograph is of the new sign (at the time) on the ridge trail. The sign states details of House Mountain and the “Crest Trail” (or ridge trail), and it honors John Evans, a man who did much work on the park. I'd not seen the sign before that 9/15/2013 hike. I've seen it many times since then.

I had taken the photograph, below, on 9/15/2013, at 3:58 PM. As I recall, I had continued east, across the ridge, to the middle bluff, then down the east trail. The image is looking northeast, from the middle bluff. As I recall, the weather was a little too warm and muggy, but it was a good enough day for my first hike of the hiking season. Enjoy the view, of nine years ago! The view has remained about the same.

After that hike, I had contact with two first cousins. We had planned a hike at Laurel Run Park (in Hawkins County, Tennessee) for later than month or in October. We'd planned to invite other family, to hike with us. Sadly, our hiking plans were not realized. Cousin Retha (9/7/1959 - 4/27/2017) has since passed on.

11/03/2001 Hike to “Jim Ferrell home site”

My hiking log includes the last time that Dad and I hiked together. He'd taken me hiking to the Clinch Mountain fire tower, at times, when I was a boy.

On 11/3/2001, Saturday, Dad (age 74), Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, my youngest brother and his wife, and I hiked to the home site location of James Robert Ferrell (1851 - 1926). James (or Jim) Ferrell was my paternal great grandfather, Dad's grandfather. Great Papaw Jim Ferrell and his wife, Elizabeth Presley Ferrell (1856 - 1900), has ten children. (The details are in family records, which I have.)

I have film photographs of that hike, but I'll not try to find and digitize them today. I may do so, for a future article. Mom (Betty Lou Wood Ferrell, 11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000) had already gone to see Jesus. Dad's heart trouble would not show up, until December of 2002. He could still hike the mostly level ground very well. We saw the remains of the old Jim Ferrell home site The house had been gone for decades, but the foundation was still noticeable. I remember several shade and apple trees. That home site had been in a good location, on good farm land.

I wonder if any cousins may want to arrange a hike back to the old Jim Ferrell home site. We'd need permission from the current owner. What do you say, cousins? Should we plan a hike? I'm in!


Hey, Dad! Happy birthday today! I know that Mom and you are enjoying perfect hiking weather, in heaven! Please tell Mom and all the family there howdy from me! I'll see y'all up there eventually. We'll hike – and have so many other great joys – together everlastingly!

By the way, my Georgia Bulldogs will defeat the South Carolina “Game Chickens.” At halftime, my 'Dawgs are up 24 to 0. If we were together, watching the game on TV, you would pull for the “Game Chickens” – just to “devil” me! I know. I hear you!

The Ferrell home site foundation is still noticeable. It is secure in the heart and mind.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

CADES COVE (published 7-28-2022; article #342)


Mom (Betty Lou Wood Ferrell, 11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000) and Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) took us boys (four of us born from 1960 to 1973) to Cades Cove every now and then. Later in life, Mom and Dad visited Cades Cove, by themselves, several times.

The last conversation that Dad and I had, before he joined Mom, was about he and I taking a trip to Cades Cove. He looked forward to our trip together. We never got to take that trip. Dad is enjoying time with Mom, and many others, in the Heavenly Cove – which must be more beautiful than Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I'd suggest that you read the History of Cades Cove.

Inspiration for this Article

My May 20, 2022, article highly recommended “Blind Pig & the Acorn.” I still highly recommend Tipper's website! It's for folks who are interested in Appalachian heritage – which should be all folks!

Every few days, I stop by to read or listen a while, at "Blind Pig & the Acorn," where there's a fresh article daily. I stopped by earlier today, to catch up on new articles, since my last visit.

Among the great new articles, one caught my eye with the most interest. It is “John McCaulley – Cades Cove,” Blind Pig & the Acorn, 7/27/2022. Tipper wrote:

Cades Cove is one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, if not the most. It’s never been a favorite place of mine; in fact I’ve only visited the area one time.

Cades Cove is stunningly beautiful. The views will literally take your breath away. There’s old buildings and other interesting things to see, and lots of folks who want to see them. The area is often crowded to the point of cars sitting still in a long line trying to catch a glimpse of the landscape, buildings, and wildlife.

I prefer the solitude of the backwoods, the high ridges, and the deep dark hollers.

Tipper, I agree with you! If you could visit Cades Cove, without all the traffic, it would be much more pleasant. (My “Cades Cove 2007” section, below, explains.)

Cades Cove, John McCaulley (1880 - 1961)

Tipper's 7/27/2022 article references Donnie Laws' YouTube Channel, “APPALACHIA : Donnie Laws East Tennessee Outdoors: History & of Stories of Appalachia.” Donnie Laws has five years worth of videos on Appalachian history and stories! I'd not hear of him before, but I'm glad to know about his website now! I may add his YouTube channel to my “Appalachian Heritage” section.

Donnie Laws published “Appalachia History of Cades Cove the John McCaulley Story,” 7/19/2022. It is a 28-minute presentation on:

Story and life of John McCaulley and his life in the Cades Cove from 1880 till he left it in 1937. A rare audio interview with him from 1960.

John McCaulley (1880 - 1961) begins to speak, in his 1960 interview, about five minutes into the video. John McCaulley was interviewed a year before he passed. John McCaulley and his wife had nine children. Donnie Laws comments before and after the 1960 interview with John McCaulley.

Please pause from reading the rest of this article, until you watch and listen to Donnie Laws' presentation that I have referenced.

Cades Cove 2007

Didn't you enjoy that presentation? I thought that you would!

My July 14, 2022, article mentioned Clingman's Dome, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I searched my website and found “no posts matching the query: Cades Cove.” Since my first article (3/6/2006), I've never written about Cades Cove? I was shocked! I wrote 28 articles in 2006 and three in 2008. I wrote nary an article in 2007.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I have taken a number of weekend getaways -- staying in a cabin near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We've hiked several trails. One weekend was Friday, June 29, to Monday, July 2, 2007. We visited Cades Cove, and I took sixteen photographs. The following are two that I selected.

As I recall, the view is looking southeast. The weather was warm and partly cloudy. The photograph does not fully capture the amazing panoramic view, which my mind retains.

The cabin was located just off the south loop. I think a shed (partial view) was to the left of me – not the outhouse, which was around back, as I recall. While we explored the cabin interior, I imagined who had lived in the cabin and what their lives were like – until the government forced them off their land, which had been taken from the Cherokees. (See my July 14, 2022, article.)

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman drove our 2000 Toyota Camry (the car that we had at the time). I either rode along or got out and “hiked” the road – depending on how slow or fast the line of cars that we were in was moving. I had on my hiking shoes and ball cap. I had my canteen with me. I hiked much of the eleven-mile loop road, with a sidetrack or two in the cove. It was easier to hike than to sit, crawling along, in our car.

Cades Cove is beautiful and inspiring – except for the traffic. On Wednesdays, from May 4th through September 28th, of this year, the park restricts vehicles. Visitors may either walk or bicycle the eleven-mile loop road (which is paved). I wonder if my wife and I will hike Cades Cove on a Wednesday one of these days. I doubt it. The route from the house to Cades Cove, which I'd take, is about a two-hour drive, one way. We'd have to overnight in a cabin, on Tuesday, hike Cades Cove on Wednesday, and return home. Molly, our doggy, would miss us. I don't know if we could take Molly along. We will see. The park needs to set Saturdays, not Wednesdays, as the day for hikers or bicyclers. That's my opinion. Feel free to make it your own!


Like John McCaulley (1880 - 1961), Papaw Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970) was also born in 1880. Papaw Ferrell lived his life in the Cave Springs area of Hawkins County, Tennessee. His wife, Mollie Gertrude Archer Ferrell (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971), and he had eight children that lived past infancy. Their eighth child was my father. I was born in 1960 – the same year that John McCaulley was interviewed. The following is a photograph of Granny and Papaw Ferrell, in their younger years.

Cades Cove is down right pretty. The Cherokee lived in the cove, from time immemorial. Settlers took the cove from the Cherokee. The government took the cove from the settlers' descendants. Life goes on – sometimes – but not often – for the good. Just give me a horse and a dirt road, and let me live in the cove – the Heavenly Cove.

Dad has everlasting joy, with Mom and many others, in the Heavenly Cove. The last conversation that Dad and I had, before he passed, was about our plan to visit Cades Cove together.

Dad, tell Mom, and all the others up there, that I'm coming up to walk in the Cove with you! Well, I don't recon that I'll get there today, but my plan is to get there – by God's grace and my faith response!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

THE BLIZZARD OF MARCH 2022 (published 3-12-2022; article #301)


As I begin to write, at 4:17 PM, on Saturday, March 12, 2022, the sun is bright, in a clear blue sky. Do folks in east Tennessee have enough milk and bread? I hope so!

The weather prognosticators were correct – this time. The weather signs, of the last few days, had been indicating that rain, at least, was coming.

The rain started late last evening. I went to bed as a skeptic. The temperature was near 60F. I woke up this morning as a believer. The falling temperature changed the rain to snow – a real snow this time.

The Blizzard of March 12, 2022

A video says a thousand words. Just before Mrs. Appalachian Irishman recorded the video (below), Molly (our 'ol puppy), very bravely, had explored the back yard. She made a “lollipop” design – going out, circling, and returning to her basement condominium the same way she'd started. Molly enjoyed her brief romp in the snow! I wish that I'd had my semi-intelligent phone handy – to photograph or video Molly!

The original video, below, is a minute and 59 seconds long. I had to “trim” it for publishing.

 I hope that you enjoy it. I apologize for not having had a shower yet! I hope that you can't smell me!



Seven and a half inches of snow! That's what this Appalachian Irishman calls a real snow!

There were four “dinky” snows in January – 1/3/2022, 1/6/2022, 1/17/2022, and 1/29/2022. I wrote about the 1/17/2022 snow, in my first article of that date. My first article, of 1/9/2022, wrote about the two snows in one week.

February recorded no snow here. On Saturday, 2/26/2022, however, my '06 Frontier and I hauled trash – as the rain and hail mixture was coming down. The hail changed to all rain, later in the day.

Historical Blizzards (© 2022, A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved) has an article, updated 12/15/2020, titled “The Biggest Snow Storms in US History - We trudge back in time to revisit some of the worst blizzards in U.S. History” by Staff; updated Dec. 15, 2020; original Mar. 14, 2017.

I wasn't around yet, for the blizzard of March 1888. Papaw Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970) was a boy. His wife, Molly Gertrude Archer (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971), wasn't born yet.

During the blizzard of January 1922, Granny Wood (Lula Frank Amos, 6/16/1901 - 8/12/1991) and Papaw Aby William Wood (9/4/1901 - 3/14/1983) were young adults.

I remember the blizzard of February 1978! The snow fell every Wednesday, as I recall. High school graduation had to be delayed until late June, as I remember.

During the blizzard of March 1993, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I lived in Dexter, Missouri. I was the associate minister, at the church. We were well into our preparation to move to Moscow, Russia – on 10/1/1994. I shoveled mounds of snow! My 1984 Chevy Chevette hit ice and snow, and we spun full circle – staying on the road, thankfully!

During the January 1996 blizzard, in this once great nation, we were still in our five-year mission work in Russia (to 9/30/1999). Blizzard? What blizzard! Snow covers the ground, in the Moscow area, from about November to about April!

Well, the article mentions two blizzards, in 2010. You can read about those, as you wish to do so.

The photograph, below, is from my January 10, 2010 article, “House Mountain Snow!“


Yes, I marketed my website, on the snow, on the rock. That rock is just east of the west bluff, on House Mountain. That is my left shoe print.

Spring Forward

By the way, don't forget to “spring forward,” before going to bed tonight. “Government time” (daylight savings time) starts at 2 AM! How does it save daylight? It will be darker longer, in the mornings. It will be lighter longer, in the evenings. It does not “save daylight.” It just moves it forward an hour! That's “government time,” lying to you!

Papaw Ferrell called it “guvrmint” time. I do also.


I'd better wind this down. I hear Mrs. Appalachian Irishman working on supper! Y'all enjoy this early spring snow, on “spring forward” day. Meteorological spring started on March 1st.

Y'all keep turnin' right and goin' straight out there, ya hear?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

11/21/2021, Sunday: HAS IT BEEN A YEAR ALREADY? (published 11/21/2021)


At 5:33 PM, as I begin this typing, darkness has fallen, over My Mountain (House Mountain) and here. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman has the dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming done, as usual. She had returned, from visiting her folks and her Food “Crappy” store purchase. (It's the Thanksgiving-eat-too-much insanity that is starting.) I had called her, at her folks, to warn them and her, about my youngest brother's call earlier. The Ferrell clan may, once again, disturb the Gordon clan plans, for Thanksgiving (11/25/2021). We will see.

My 11/22/2020, Sunday, Article

On Sunday, November 22, 2020, I published my article that I wrote, on 11/21/2020: “November 21st Chronological Historical Notes: 1970 (Papaw), 2015 (Molly), 2016 (Truck), 2020 (House Mt. #174).”

Today, I would not change one word. My current editorial self agrees with my previous editorial self. It's what I do.


I hope that y'all enjoy reading what I wrote, about this time, last year. The weather was cloudy today. The red sky, yesterday morning, brought good hiking weather yesterday, when I prioritized my haircut, my good truck wash, etc. The clouds came today. The rain will come either later today or early tomorrow. I predict it. I am a mountain man. I know the weather signs.

Do y'all see the signs of the times? I do. In the temporal, the USSA is about gone, folks! As various other world powers have fallen, over the centuries, the USSA is about to fall. We are in the last days of the USSA, before it falls. Well, I hope this once great nation recovers, to become the USA again. We will see, in 2022 and in 2024 – election years.

In the everlasting, I ask, “are you returning soon, Lord?” I hope so! I may go Home, before He returns. I may not. Either way, I am ready! Are you? I hope so! If you are not, and if you would like to converse with me, on this spiritual topic, please email me (as you can find on my website). We can “talk” awhile. Just have some coffee ready!

At 5:50 PM, this typing, I'm getting hungry enough for supper. Y'all keep turnin' right and goin' straight out there! I'm off here, to eat soon!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

4/18/2021, SUNDAY, HOUSE MT. HIKE #178 (#42 BIONIC) (published 4/25/2021, seven days late)


Looking out my home office window, at 2 PM on the dot, as I start writing, I see that the weather is still partly sunny. The rain yesterday is still mud, in the known areas, on “my mountain.”

On 4/18/2021, last Sunday afternoon, I hiked House Mountain #178 (#42 “bionic”)! The writing is better seven days late than never. I hope that you enjoy the hike, and a few life notes, with me. Do you have your canteen, full of water, with you?

The Hike Details

I started at 1:40 PM, going up the west trail, as I do usually. (I touch a post, just west of the parking area, to mark my start time. My ol' truck and I were lucky. We had found a good parking spot, in the upper parking lot.) The weather was warm, but not too warm, and mostly sunny, with some wind from the southwest. (The wind was bringing in the rain that came the next day.)

I me a couple, not far into my hike, at a spot I know well. They were resting at a rocky area (one of many), on their way down. They appeared to be in their 50's. The man had two fully “bionic” legs, from the knees down. He and I exchanged a few pleasant words. The doctor didn't cut off my right foot. (I've wished that he had done so, several times. I think that it would have been better, if I had a complete foot replacement.) That good man and I inspired each other! He inspired me more than I inspired him. I remember many details of that relatively brief conversation.

I touched my rock at the west bluff and marked my time -- 34 minutes from base to bluff. (Will my right foot ever allow me to return to the usual 24 to 28 minutes? I wonder.)

The photograph, above, is the only one that I took. It looks southeast, from the west bluff. The trees are budding out nicely. The leaves are back and coming back more. Wild flowers are in the area. It is a sign of spring.

In my “4/20/2021, TUESDAY, TRIBUTE TO HAL TRENT” article, I had concluded, “By the way, I hiked House Mountain #178, 4/18/2021, Sunday, for Hal. I'll have another article on that hike in a few days.” Hal, my friend, I wonder. Could you see me hiking that day? I hope so. Spring signs on that hike indicate new life. Need I write more? I think that my readers know what I am saying!

A couple of young men were on the bluff. One stated that he was born in 2006. I told him that was the year that I started this website. (It's the year my new, ol' truck was built also.) My first article was on Monday, March 06, 2006 – “How to Pronounce 'Appalachian.'" Those two fine young men gave me hope for the future. They have the proper, timeless, values.

Early in my hike up, I had passed a woman, who had indicated that she was taking her time. She's in her 30's. She arrived at the bluff, as I had started to hike back down (the same west trail). We talked a bit. She doesn't allow her health trouble to prevent her from hiking a ridge! She was glad to know of other hiking areas around here. She plans to hike them. I encapsulated my “bionic” story to her. We inspired each other. I may have inspired her a bit more than she did me. (I have never had asthma trouble.)

Going down the same trail, two men were behind me, at a point. I had caught up to them, while they were resting. I led the rest of the way down. Near one, of the six, main switchbacks, two small rocks decided to allow my left shoe to roll over them. (I had missed noticing them, while conversing with the men behind me. That was my fault.) I decided to land on my left hip and left forearm. That was the second time that I've taken a fall hiking “my mountain.” (The first time was “pre-bionic,” when my left foot stepped on a snow-covered rock, at an east trail switchback, while I was going down. I didn't know ice was under the snow!) That second-ever fall led to “bionic” conversation.

One of the men, in his 30's, had temporary “bionics” in, as I recall, his left foot. Years ago, he took foot damage. He had “bionics” installed. He had them removed, after he had no longer needed them. (My “bionics” go with me to the grave. My everlasting body will not have them.) We talked “bionics” as we continued hiking down. I understand the bouts of depression that he had. He opened up. I opened up. At the parking area, I showed him my snow photograph, with my name on it. It's on the information board, along with other photographs. He knows this website. We parted, by looking each other in the eye and shaking hands. I hope that I see this young man again.


At 3:40 PM, I touched the same post that I had, at 1:40 PM. I did not hike the full two hours. I enjoyed the view on the west bluff a while. I had conversed with the fine folks, whom I have mentioned. Two hours in the woods improved my – right foot and knee, disposition, and spirit. A day in the woods adds a day to longevity. I do not hike, to converse with folks. I hike to hike! House Mountain has been very well known for many years. It was not as well known, when I had started hiking “my mountain.” Meeting and conversing with folks is a side benefit that I enjoy.

With apology to my new ol' truck, I didn't take a photograph of him. A man was waiting on me to leave, so he could take the same parking spot. Someone had parked, incorrectly, close enough behind me. I know how to back, turn, back, turn – repeat. My truck and I did that enough to be free. I had thought about writing a pithy note and placing in under a windshield wiper blade on the car that was parked incorrectly. I refrained. At least, my rear bumper didn't leave a crease in the driver's side door!

I have twenty-two more hikes, until I get to House Mountain hike #200. I'm getting there – step-by-step, day-by-day. I'm getting closer to joining my friend, Hal Trent, step-by-step, day-by-day. Y'all think about that, ya hear?

At 5:30 PM, I saw readership: all time 93,859; today (so far) 422; yesterday 455; this month 8,734 (so far); and last month 4,757. I can't see reader identities. I can't know who subscribes to receive e-mail notification, when I publish an article. Thanks, y'all, for stopping by, with a cup of coffee, and reading a while. I hope my words are beneficial. They are for me, as I write them. (I haven't been writing since 2 PM. I took breaks and did other stuff, which includes having called two of my three younger brothers.)

Sunday, March 21, 2021



Yesterday, I had written about my expectation to hike today. Why am I not hiking, but writing, instead? “Any excuse is a good excuse.”

My Excuses

First, the recent rain, as I know, still has the usual muddy areas. My last three hikes involved mud. I decided to skip another muddy hike, being the “coward” that I am.

Second, the weather is too warm. If I had started early this morning, the temperature was cooler. That's my fault. There's nothing like a too hot and muddy afternoon hike, even on a clear and sunny day! (That's a joke, folks.) Today would have been another one of those hikes, when I wear and hike in one T-shirt then change into the other T-shirt, after the hike. Never let them see you sweat!

Finally, my “bionics” decided to indicate that they are still present, more so that usual today. Every now and then, I get an electrical shock, as I call them, in my right foot. The shocks are indications that the still recovering nerve trauma is improving – ever so slowly. My right foot was shocking this morning. It hasn't yet shocked me while hiking. I did not want today to be the first time, especially on one of the several steep and dangerous enough areas.

Have I ever posted some of the X-rays that I have, of my “bionic” joints? I do not think that I have. If you have a weak stomach, please stop reading now. Remember that I warned you!

I have a total of 25 surgically installed metal items (i.e., rods, pins, screws) in my left shoulder, right knee, and right foot. Let's start from the top and work down, shall we? Each X-ray was taken on 6/27/2016. They are the last X-rays taken. The surgeon stated, as he examined his work and my recovery, that I would not have arthritis – due to the trauma, his surgery, and my healing. To this date, I do not have arthritis in the three repaired joints. That, at least, has been a very good result. Okay, I'll stop talking and will show three X-rays now. I warned you!


Can you count the ten metal items (nine screws on one rod), in my left shoulder? They are still there. I know it every day. Over the almost five years (since 3/29/2016), the left shoulder has come along well enough. The soft tissue (i.e., muscle, ligaments, etc.) has been the work in progress these last several years. I had started out by being barely able to make a small circle, with my left hand placed on a table. I can now almost lift the little 15 pound weight straight up, as easily with my left arm as I can with my “weaker” right arm. I'm left handed. My left side has always been stronger. I'm still working on it.


That's one view of my right knee. I have another X-ray that shows the screws more clearly. There are four screws and the metal mesh and wires. (I do not count the mesh and wires.) The mesh replaced my knee cap. The wires secured the mesh to the screws that held it all in place. I took my first “baby” steps, on 6/16/2016. (I have written about it.) At first, I could not hold weight on my right leg. The muscles had shrunk. My right leg looked like a toothpick. I could not bend my knee at first. Now, I can kick my backside with my right foot, as I can with my left foot. The knee regained all the motion. The interior left side of my right knee is still the work in progress (i.e., muscle, ligaments, etc.), as it connects to my right foot. (I have learned to study my recovery holistically. Every joint, muscle, etc., is related to the whole.) The last two times, as I hiked down House Mountain, my right knee did not “talk to me” much at all. I'm still working on it.


That's one view of my right foot. Another view shows what I call the “piece of bicycle chain,” which I count as once piece. The “piece of bicycle chain” is not as visible in the one above. There are ten screws that secured the “piece of bicycle chain.” All that reconstructed my shattered heel (or calcaneus). The bone to my big toe broke. It healed fine, without metal. The nerve damage is not visible. The nerve damage causes my electric shocks, such as earlier today. I've felt the shocks while driving. No danger. I endure them. I would rather not, however, have an electric shock, while on a relatively dangerous spot on House Mountain. I still cannot move my right foot in a forward position equal to my left foot. I can't move my toes down, without helping them, as I can for my left toes. I still have a spot on the back of my heel that is healing. I still have red dot between my big toe and the next one to it. The red dot goes away at times. It is smaller and more pink than red now. (No, I did NOT say that I wear pink on my foot! Real men do NOT wear pink. It's God's law!)


Am I counting correctly? Let's see. Ten metal items in left shoulder, plus four metal items in right knee (not counting the mesh and wires), plus eleven metal items in right foot equals twenty five total. I still recount at times, to see if I am still correct. It could be twenty six or twenty seven, depending on how you count the mesh and wires in my right knee, which I do not count.

I started calling it sympathetic reaction, before I learned that the medical term is crossover reaction. The body is a complex set of levers and pulleys, as it relates to the joints and muscle. (Do not tell me that we evolved that way. Anyone with any sense knows better.) Damage to areas (called “multi-trauma”) reacts into the opposite areas (i.e., sympathetic reaction or crossover reaction). I feel sympathetic reaction in my left knee, left side and hip, both elbows, right neck, etc. It has improved much over these almost five years. I'm still working on it.

Well, as I had stated earlier, “any excuse is a good excuse.” I could have hiked, if I had not been such a “weakling” today.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

3/7/2021, SUNDAY: HOUSE MOUNTAIN HIKE #177 = #41 “BIONIC” (Published 3/13/2021, Saturday)


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

3/8 - 12/2021 was another “wonderful” work week. Why was Friday not the 13th? It should have been. You, dear reader, do not want to know. I endured the unusually insane work insanity, sadly. 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. (2 Thes. 3:10 is 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 arrange 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

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, one of our nieces 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 number of sunny days had dried the muddy spots, mostly. 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 no mud, 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 much 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 view is distracted by the trees. The east bluff view was better, years ago.

The “Mountain Trail” is the east trail (up or down). Going about five minutes east of 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 my 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 main six switchbacks on the west trail. The following are the main six switchbacks, from highest to lowest. There are four switchbacks in the low area, just as one starts climbing.

The above photograph is #6 (final going up) or #1 (first going down). (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 image looks west.

The above image is #5 up or #2 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 #4 up or #3 down, looking west. Erosion is not bad on the lower side. The upper side erosion is bad. I always take the old, higher up, 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 #3 up or #4 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 eroders 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 #2 up or #5 down, looking west. The stony ground holds the erosion well enough here also. Do you see the opening, in the largest tree, 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.

I had the four low area switchbacks to do. I did them. At one location, in my memory, I met a fine family of three (husband, wife, and son). There were hiking up. The man asked, “are we almost there yet?” I replied, “you are just getting started!” He added that a group of teenagers had told him, earlier, that they were almost there! We joked about the lying teenagers! Oh, by the way, the skin color of that fine family was black. Mine was 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 my readers are on track.)

I marked my end time at 3:19 PM, when I touched the same marker as I had done so 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 not.

I had to take the above photograph! My truck is to the right. The main image is the fancy outhouse. It has not had a road name for many years. Today, for the first time that I've seen it, the fancy outhouse has a road name. I know House Mountain starts at Hogskin Road. I knew the fancy outhouse has been there, several years, when the “guvrmint” spent way too much money to improve the area. (I've written about it.) NOW, the fancy outhouse has a road address: 9601 Hogskin Rd. WOW! I wonder if anyone gets mail at the fancy outhouse. I doubt that anyone lives in the fancy outhouse! Okay, that's my “potty mouth” humor, for the day.


I have at least two more articles to complete. The time is about 5:45 PM. Remember, “guvrmint” time starts at 2 AM tomorrow – not 1:59 AM. Set them thar clocks forward an hour. Dang if I don't despise “guvrmint” time! In the woods, I'll have to check the time, by the sun, with an hour adjustment now.

Remember, DO NOT cut the switchbacks! It erodes! Remember, take the HIGHER part 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.

Y'all keep to the HIGH trail and do NOT cut the switchbacks, in life. That will help you keep turnin' right and goin' straight.