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

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.

Friday, May 05, 2023

House Mountain Hike #181, 5-4-2023: May the 4th be with you (published 5-5-2023; article #411)


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.

The Podcast

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 is: House Mountain Hike 181, 5-4-2023: May the 4th be with you (published 5-5-2023; episode 10).

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.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Norris Dam State Park: Hike #22 on 4-19-2023 (published 4-21-2023; article #406)


Greetings, dear reader! Yesterday, in warm and sunny weather, I only ate dinner (or lunch, as the Yankees call it) at Zaxby's and bought seven items at Lowe's. The chicken sandwich, fries, and small drink cost $8.73, including tax. The Lowe's pre-tax total was four florescent bulbs ($43.92), two “micro” air filters ($22.97), one “maximum” air filter ($22.97), and “assorted O rings” ($3.36). Well, you can figure the cost, adding 9.25% sales tax. “A dollar ain't worth much these days.”

At least one of the O rings fit my ol' canteen! The cap had needed a new seal. (My “bionic” right foot “enjoyed” pounding around that big box store, on concrete and tile, but it got over it.) The O rings purchase leads into this fiftieth article on the topic of hiking.

On Wednesday, a warm, sunny, and windy day, my 2006 Frontier and I visited Norris Dam State Park! The article of 3/31/2023 (about House Mountain Hike #179, on 3-29-2023) included the section “Hiking Records: Grand Total of All Hikes, Since 4/23/2000.” I'd mentioned twenty-one hikes, so far, at Norris. Wednesday was hike twenty-two, so far, at that state park. It also marked 232 total hikes, in various locations, since 4/23/2000, when my hiking record started.

I know. I am sandwiching in another article, before publishing the seventh article in the Christian Evidences series. I haven't lost interest in that series! The draft is mostly complete. Let's first hike Norris, shall we? Let's hike!

Norris Hike #22, on 4/19/2023

Norris Dam State Park has about fifteen trails that cover about twenty-one miles. I've hiked most, if not all, of them several times. Searching this website, by “Norris,” finds several previous articles with photographs. The one-way drive takes about thirty minutes. That's why I don't hike there as often. House Mountain is only seven or ten miles from the house, depending on the route.

Wednesday, at Norris, I decided to hike the short and “civilized” loop trail that leads up from, behind, and back down to the observation parking lot. It took more time to drive to the park than to hike the trail. The trail starts up, as a rough service road, to the water tower. Poison oak was all along the trail. I paused at the water tower, briefly, to supply the ground with some moisture and to read some of the mildly interesting graffiti. I continued, as the service road became a trail, to the top of the hill.

I paused, near the top, to view the scene below and to the east. The following is the first frame of my video, which I started at 1:43 PM. The sun is behind me. The temperature was in the low 80's Fahrenheit. I sweated enough.

I had the moment in time to myself. Two or three vehicles were in the parking lot, below me. The lake was calm, with no boats visible on the water. The wind, however, was coming from the west, behind me, at a good clip. Enjoy the view!

Norris Podcast

The eighth episode of Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts, on YouTube, is “Norris Dam State Park: Hike 22 on 4-19-2023 (published 4-21-2023; episode 8).” The strong wind muffled some of my audio, when I panned the view, with my “semi-intelligent” phone. I panned a little too quickly, at one point. I hope that you don't get dizzy watching that part!

As I'd said in the audio, being there “was better than working for a living.” I was “working,” by enjoying a hike, in my retirement!” Enjoy the video!


Even a short time in the woods is better than not being there. Getting out into the woods, even on a “civilized” and short hike, is relaxing. The views are great. A man has time alone, with the Good Lord.

That's about all. This is the Appalachian Irishman, signing off.

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!

Friday, March 31, 2023

House Mountain Hike #179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; article #400)


The mountains are calling, and I must go” -- John Muir, in 1873.

One of my T-shirts has the quote by John Muir (1838 - 1914) on it. The quote is from his letter to his sister, Sarah Muir Galloway, on September 3rd, 1873. (Source: “Get to Know the Story Behind Muir’s 'The Mountains Are Calling' Quote,” on Basin and Range Magazine, by Charles Watkins, published seven years ago.)

Greetings, dear reader, to my four hundredth article and to my forty-eighth article on hiking! I trust, in the Lord, that you are doing well. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman are doing well enough. As I've said many times, “A day in the woods adds a day to your life,” and “any day in the woods is better than not!

The seventh anniversary of my near-death experience was on Wednesday, March 29th, 2023. What else could I do, on a clear and sunny day? I hiked House Mountain for the 179th time (so far)! (The title of my 3/19/2006 article is “My Mountain!”)

This article begins with brief sections on my “bionic” anniversary, my hiking sabbatical, and my hiking records. The main section -- including ten photographs and one video -- brings you along with me, on hike 179. The conclusion anticipates the heavenly view.

Seventh “Bionic” Anniversary

It happened about 5:15 PM, on Tuesday, 3/29/2016. My 8/26/2016 article is the initial expression of the tragedy. That was eight years ago. My 3/29/2021 article describes the four stages of my recovery. I am still in stage four. I am still recovering.

This year, I started calling March the 29th my “bionic” anniversary! Happy anniversary to me! Yes, I feel the muscles and tendons -- in my left shoulder, left side, left hip, neck, right knee, and right foot -- as they still try to recover fully. Lately, the “crossover reaction” (as the medical folks call it) into my right, non-bionic shoulder has become a bit of a mystery. I'm still like a fine-tuned truck that has plenty of power and stamina. The frame, however, is a little warped, so the ride isn't as smooth as a man would prefer!

I'm still standing here. I ain't breathing hard! I still think that Mr. Antonov was correct, when he examined me, on 12/3/2017, on House Mountain (my hike #141, #5 “bionic”). My 3/29/2021 article mentions his examination and my recovery time estimate.

My Hiking Sabbatical

The last hike on “My Mountain” was on 4/18/2021. The 4/25/2021 article includes details about that hike #178 (#42 “bionic”). The hike was in memory of a high school friend, Hal Trent, who had passed to the next life, at age 61, on 4/17/2021.

Unknown to me at the time, my “hiking sabbatical” started the next day. It lasted one year, eleven months, and nine days. Why did I take a hiking sabbatical? I don't really know.

Apparently, my focus shifted to writing articles on other topics. The hiking sabbatical includes the publication of 190 articles (after the 4/25/2021 article to the 399th article). Twenty-five of the thirty articles on Corona Myopia were written during my sabbatical. (Thankfully, Corona Myopia Obsession lingers in only a few areas now.) My retirement started, after my final work day, on Friday, May 13th, 2022 (as the 5/15/2022 article mentions). I endured several “crossover reactions,” especially from my “bionic” left shoulder to my right shoulder, which would not have forestalled hiking.

“My Mountain” must not have been calling me. It has starting calling me again. I had to go!

Hiking Records: Grand Total of All Hikes, Since 4/23/2000

My record of all hikes started on 4/23/2000. I don't know why I started that log, but I'm glad that I did. Several hikes included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, and friends.

The record shows, as of 3/29/2023, 230 total hikes, so far. House Mountain has, as stated, 179 entries. Forty-nine hikes on “My Mountain” included Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, other family members, friends, our ol' puppy, Molly, and two other dogs. I hiked alone 130 times. Of course, I've met and conversed with several hikers, when hiking alone.

The other 51 hikes were as follows: 21 in Norris Dam State Park, 12 in Hawkins County, Tennessee (including ten on Devil's Nose, with the summary in my 11/15/2020 article), Five locations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and 13 other locations, which include Big Ridge State Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Panther Creek State Park, and, both in North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Chimney Rock State Park.

The mountains were calling, so others and I went!

House Mountain Hike #179, on 3/29/2023

Please come along with me, as we hike House Mountain together! This main section includes ten of the eleven photographs that I took, with my comments, and one video. Are you ready? Let's hike! The mountain is calling.

Upon arriving at the parking lot, my '06 Nissan Frontier clocked 186,929.7 miles. Leaving the parking area, I touched the sign post, to mark the start of our hike, at 1:05 PM. After our hike, I touched that same post, at 4:24 PM – three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods! The sky was clear and blue, with only a little warm weather haze. The temperature rose from the lower 50's to the lower 60's Fahrenheit. It was a good day for a hike!

Let's start up the mountain, on the east trail this time. (The usual west trail is steeper and more cardiovascularly challenging.) We want to get to the upper middle bluff first, which is quicker on the east trail. Being “lame mountain goats,” very careful, and meeting five groups of hikers going down, we reach the middle bluff in 52 minutes (about 12 minutes slower than our “pre-bionic” average time). There were a few muddy areas, in the usual places.

The Treacherous Switchback

After hiking up the various switchbacks and seeing the views, we reached the final switchback, just below the ridgeline. I took the following three photographs, over four minutes, at that final, wet, muddy, and treacherous switchback. Do you remember? I do.

We had just reached the point, in the above photograph, which faces southeast. We were standing on a small, flat rock, at the center of the most treacherous spot. The next photograph, standing at the same spot, but looking northeast, shows where we had to go next.

Yes, I know. The photograph doesn't show the almost vertical and wet steepness that is to the lower right of where we were standing. That was the most treacherous spot. Our “lame mountain goating” was at its maximum!

The above photograph, looking south and down, is after we'd made it safely above that most treacherous spot! The image -- with the ridgeline behind us, while still on the south face of the mountain -- looks down to that almost vertical challenge.

Photos from the Upper Middle Bluff

We decided not to photograph the bench, on which we sat, once we reached the ridgeline. We touched the sign post, at the ridgeline, at 1:57 PM. That's 52 minutes from base to ridgeline. After a brief relaxation, we headed east, toward the upper middle bluff. It took us the usual about ten minutes. I took the next three photographs, while at that bluff.

The above photograph looks northwest, with the west bluff of the mountain visible. Do you see where I'd placed my cap, canteen, knife, and phone carrying case? That was a nice view. It had been a while!

In case you missed them, the above photograph is the close up. My cap has a stick figure of a hiker, getting struck by lightning. The caption is “Life is crap!” A sister-in-law gave me that cap as a Christmas present, many years ago. Occasionally, while wearing it, I meet folks, who laugh and inquire about the caption. That often opens the door to a spiritual conversation!

The above photograph shows the relaxing and beautiful view, looking northeast. About three hawks and a couple of turkey buzzards were circling around at times. I wish that I'd been able to photograph at least one hawk. I'm glad that no one else was on the bluff. It was just you and me – and God.

Podcast from the Upper Middle Bluff

Photographs, from the upper middle bluff, are in several hiking articles. Your patience was appreciated, while I filmed my first video there.

Please see Appalachian Irishman - Podcasts (on YouTube, since 5/26/2022), where I published that podcast. The podcast is titled, House Mountain Hike 179, 3-29-2023: My Sabbatical is Over! (published 3-31-2023; episode #6). It is a three-minute production. Please turn up your speaker volume, once I switch to the panoramic view. For some reason, the audio has less volume than my actual voice did. I may have had a finger over the audio input!

After a brief conversation with the Good Lord, we decided to hike across the ridgeline, west, toward the west bluff. Let's go!

Picnic Rock

As we hiked westward, on the ridgeline, we passed the “picnic rock,” as I call it. Thanks for allowing me time, to take the photograph below.

West Bluff – Three Young Ladies & Two Hammocks

Hiking along farther west, we passed several well-known locations, such as the cistern, to our right, just before where the old fire tower used to be. The old two-seater outhouse, still damaged by shotgun blasts, is still just below the fire tower footings. Of course, we saw the cell phone tower and the “dinosaur rock,” as I call it. Yes, we saw some well-known and very nice views!

Upon reaching the west bluff, I decided not to take a photograph. Three young ladies were relaxing, with two hammocks tied to trees. We conversed for a few minutes. I'm glad to know that they, as Christians, have the biblical worldview! Perhaps other young folks and they can help restore this once great nation, to its founding principals. They seemed glad to hear the brief snapshot stories of my life.

Parking Area

The hike back down on the west trail saw well-known and wonderful views. We passed the “defiance tree,” as I call it. I touched it, as usual. Thanks for waiting on me, while I moved carefully, at the steep and rocky slope area. I'm a “lame mountain goat,” as you know.

My “bionic” right foot and knee didn't “talk to me” much, as we hiked down the six main switchbacks, the lower switchbacks, crossed the small stream, and hiked out. Of course, my right foot “talked to me” that evening enough, but it got over it, as usual.

At 4:24 PM, I touched the same sign post that I'd touched, when starting our hike. Three hours and nineteen minutes in the woods is better than not having been there! We had another very good hike.

I wonder how long that the new information board, in the above photograph, has been there. The old one had my photograph of snow on the mountain, with my name under it. Unfortunately, hooligans had shot the old board with a paint gun, leaving yellow streaks, and shot it with a pistol or rifle. I'm glad to have seen the new information board.

There he is! My '06 Frontier, with 186,929.7 miles on the odometer, was waiting patiently, as usual. He likes to have his photograph taken! The photograph looks west. We met a few other folks, on the ridgeline and on our hike down – but not too many. Weekday hikes are better, since the parking lot wasn't full, and not many others were hiking.

Let's pack up and drive home, shall we? It's only a ten-mile drive, one way.

North Side of House Mountain

I may have taken the above photograph before. I may hunt for it, if I did. The good neighbor was mowing his yard. We stopped and asked to take the photograph. He replied, “Sure! People do it all the time!” As we were leaving, I honked the horn and waved, in appreciation. He waved back and smiled.

The photograph shows the entire north side of House Mountain. The west bluff is the western most part (or to the right in the image). The upper middle bluff is east (or left in the image) of the high middle. From the middle bluff, if we'd hike another five minutes or so, then we would have reached the east bluff (or to the left in the image). I've hiked all three bluffs many times. Maybe I'll take you with me, and we'll hike to the east bluff, next time!


In 1873, John Muir wrote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” On 3/29/2023, House Mountain was calling me. I had to go! Thanks for hiking along with me!

As my podcast of earlier today records me as having stated, while on the middle bluff, the hike up the east trail had some dangerous areas. Three photographs, above, are of the treacherous switchback. The view from the middle bluff, however, was worth the hike!

My hiking theology is that life has good points and treacherous points, behind and ahead of us. We see several good points. We endure several bad ones. We, however, continue onward and upward.

The heavenly mountain is calling, and I must go! The ridgeline is closer than it was. I see the good and bad spots behind me. I can't see what's ahead of me. By faith, I shall reach the heavenly bluff. The everlasting view there will be spectacular!

Dear reader, if you have not already started, please go to the mountain. It should be calling you. You must go.

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!