Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

Wesser Bald Part 2

Posing in the fire tower on Wesser Bald
Posing in the fire tower on Wesser Bald

Yesterday, I told you about our climb to Wesser Bald and the fire tower look out. I have been to many overlooks but this was the best view for me by far. We gasped in amazement and “ooo’d” and “ahhh’d” for quite some time. Then when our eyes could not take in any more glory, we climbed back down and found a picnic spot where we ate quinoa salad and yogurt.

Our friends went on ahead and we stopped to take care of some “business.” We got back on the trail and began to be silly while we hiked. We sang for a while and then made up stories and told them to each other with a British accent. Sometimes we aren’t very grown up…and I prefer it that way.

Near the bottom we were feeling our trail legs wobble and we started singing song re-writes on the fly to describe this funny feeling. My favorite was Donavan’s Mellow Yellow to read: “they call me mellow jello”. Eventually we caught up to our friends.

Nature's carpet—slippery when wet...but pretty
Nature’s carpet—slippery when wet…but pretty

We learned an important lesson at the moment we caught up with our friends: check the fitness level of your hiking companions for this sport. Our friend was hurting from the hike. His favorite sport used a different set of muscles. He just had surgery and his hip was mad at him. He can smoke me on a mountain bike trail even with that hip—literally leave me gasping for air and trying not to throw up, but hiking was different.

He wasn’t mad at us but found it irritating in a funny sort of way that we were singing and laughing about jello legs while they were struggling. We didn’t know that, of course, and were very sympathetic when we figured it out. We discussed how to compare preparedness levels ahead of time when crossing over to different activities. I could have suggested, for example, hiking poles to spread out the pressure and that would have helped him immensely. I’ll take better care of my friends next time.

All ended well with a great meal in downtown Bryson at the Cork and Bean followed by s’mores at the fire pit beside the cabin.

On the cabin porch just before heading back to Nashville
On the cabin porch just before heading back to Nashville

Pondering Your Path

Who could you get together with for at least a day hike?

Wesser Bald and It’s Lessons

The Appalachian Trail crosses Wesser Bald Near Bryson North Carolina. On the top of this bald there was a live-in lookout fire tower. Somebody burned it down in 1979. It has been replaced with a 30-foot tall fire tower that has a 360-degree view. You can see a breath taking panoramic view of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smokey Mountains. Click here for more information.

Our trip to Bryson to climb this tower is an example of what could work well for you to get your Honey on the trail. My Honey and I meet up with another couple in Bryson, shared a cabin and planed a weekend full of fun.

Chicago roommates
Chicago roommates

The girls had been roommates in Chicago and us guys were going to get aquatinted. This trip included an 8.8 mile hike for me, a mountain bike day for him, girl time for the ladies while we boys biked, a couple of unique restaurants and s’mores by the fire pit at the cabin.

My Honey would have loved all of this but the biking and gone willingly with just me. But it helps make the trip more enticing at times to add like minded friends.

There is an easier way to climb to the tower, but we took the advice of a 20 something ranger lady. This trail was about twice as long and steeper than the other route. This is good to remember who you are getting the advice from. We were in decent shape but 20 years older than the girl giving us route advice. So what she deemed to be no big deal was at least challenging to us. So word to the wise: consider the source.

To get to the trail head we used US19/74 from the Nantahala Outdoor Center and turned right at the Nantahala Food Mart on to Wesser Creek Road. Wesser Creek becomes gravel and ends at the trailhead. We started from the parking area and climbed the blue-blazed Wesser Creek Trail.

Hiking the blue blaze Wesser Creek Trail
Hiking the blue blaze Wesser Creek Trail

It is approximately 3.6 miles to where it intersects with the Appalachian Trail (AT). We turned left on to the AT and hiked another 0.8 miles to the fire tower.

Our first step on the Appalachian Trail together
Our first step on the Appalachian Trail together

We climbed to the top and were rewarded with a spectacular October afternoon view.

Sharing God's autumn glory with my Honey
Sharing God’s autumn glory with my Honey

More tomorrow about our hike down and another lesson we learned.

Pondering Your Path—Would your Honey like a hiking day better if from time to time you invited another couple so she can have some girl time?

Capture the Interruptions

Woodbridge Inn, out quaint spot to make the trip special
Woodbridge Inn, out quaint spot to make the trip special

A hiking adventure interrupts our plans—Several months back we needed to take a trip to a specialist in Atlanta GA. We planned in a couple of stops to make it special and voila! A hike to a beautiful waterfall in a very special place interrupted our plans!

Trip to the Doctor—My Honey fought against a bladder infection for five months. A close friend of hers shared that she had been cured 20 years before by an Osteopath in Atlanta. So we made the trip, got the treatment and the infections stopped!  We planned a return trip for a follow up. It is far enough away that the round trip can’t be done easily in one day.

Plans to make it special—We booked a German supper and bed hotel in a tiny little town partially because of the hotel and partially because of its location. Staying here allowed us to come and go past our favorite German sandwich shop in Ball Ground GA for a meal each way.

The interruption—While leaving the hotel parking lot my Honey announces that she has to go back inside. She wanted to use the restaurant bathroom and there were some decorations that she wanted to take a picture of. This was the interruption. Why did she not go before we left the room? What was so special about the bathroom decorations that we need pictures? I’ve learned to just go with it because wonderful things happen when my Baby makes a deviation. This was all a bit hard for this guy to grasp but we were on a meaningful  journey and I was particularly relaxed that morning.

We take pictures of decorations in the bathroom...
We take pictures of decorations in the bathroom…

The Adventure—She came back to the car with a newspaper and she was excited. She said that she was walking past this newspaper stand and she felt the Holy Spirit tug her heart to stop and get one. When she opened the newspaper at random there was a beautiful water fall and an article about Amnicola Falls. It was only 30 minutes away and we love hiking to waterfalls. Zoom off we went. When we got there, we took our left over German sandwich to a picturesque spot and ate it in a swing by a creek. Then we hiked to the falls, explored a little and stopped at the gift shop for a snack.

Very happy on our "interruption"
Very happy on our “interruption”

The surprise—I had not noticed where we were. The name had not rung a bell yet…until I saw the Appalachian Trail marker. I started to smile…could it be? We went inside and sure enough: this was the starting point where the kick off party is every year for the north bound through hikers for the Appalachian Trail.  The hikers have to hike about eight miles to get to the beginning of the trail and hike back past this park so it’s the start but not really the start. I love the AT and have done part of it. I plan to hike it all in sections during my 60’s. What a cool surprise!

A prophetic foreshadowing form me...
A prophetic foreshadowing for me…

Had it not been for the “interruption” we would not have experienced God’s providence to bless us with a special place  “accidentally”—a place where we had wanted to go for years.

What interruptions are you experiencing? Could they be the hand of God? What blessing could be there for you? Look for more insights on interruptions on a blog my wife writes about the lessons we learn from our cat—Clive The Cat.