Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rocks and Green.

I very much enjoyed my hike on Big Walker Mountain. Since it's a high mountain trail that follows the heavily forested ridge, there's not a lot to see in the way of long range vistas, as is the norm with many Appalachian area trails. No low country, so there weren't any streams or waterfalls to view. I happened upon a few small springs that likely went on to form creeks and cascades, but that would be far below the places I was hiking.

Since the summits were so heavily forested, there also weren't a lot of views. There were some overlooks, but even these were limited to a few degrees without obstruction by greenery. In a place that is part of one of the most botanically diverse on the planet, there's a lot of opportunity for big trees to fling their trunks and limbs into the sky, blocking the panoramas one might find in other mountainous terrain. Don't go hiking in the Southern Appalachians expecting tremendous views. You'll find them, from time to time, but they're the oddity rather than the norm.

So you have to find beauty in other ways. It's always there, of course, when you're hiking in the southern high country. The flowers, the trees, the ferns, the mosses--even just the broken rock. The Appalachians have been shattering and eroding away for at least a quarter of a billion years. They must have been really high peaks to leave behind even the 6,000-foot monarchs that form the tallest that greet us in modern times.

And that's what I did that day on Big Walker Mountain. I hiked about and looked upon the bones of the Blue Ridge and the trees and plants that cloaks that arthritic stone.

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