Sunday, March 11, 2012

Three trips to the top of Viking Mountain in a week and I'm still in awe. Today was really special for me because the two men who have had the greatest influence on me in life were my hiking partners. My dad worked long hours as we were growing up and what time I had free was spent on a basketball court so we never had any time together. Since his retirement due to injury, we have formed a strong bond and got to make up for the lost hours from my childhood. My Uncle Jim, who is probably responsible for my obsession with the outdoors, taught me to hunt ginseng, wade rivers, and push the envelope when it comes to how close you should stand on a cliff's edge, and at 75 years old, he can still throw a mean slider.

After church, we left for Greeneville, it's a 60 mile drive from my house to the parking lot at the top of Camp Creek Bald. I know this because my uncle likes to keep meticulous detail when it comes to travel. This was by far the warmest and least windy day that I have visited this mountain and also the busiest. Being a weekend day, there were numerous cars there upon our arrival, including one from Iowa and a van load of church members from Pennsylvania! The group from Pa arrived just before us and my Uncle (who has never met a stranger) immediately began talking to the group. They all had matching shirts on indicating "vacation with a purpose" it turns out they were in Greene County on a mission trip to help rebuild residences damaged and destroyed by last springs tornado outbreaks! It's good to know there are still decent people left in the world and even better that they appreciate a good view! Here's a photo of the group with my dad and uncle.

Greene County mission trip for the fine folks from Pennsylvania 
While dad and uncle Jim visited with the mission group, I took pictures with mom and dad's new Canon camera. I was impressed! I will be buying one within the week. After saying goodbye to our new friends we hiked across the meadow and intersected the AT over to the Blackstack overlooks. I was wondering how far my dad would be willing to go but as I came out to the edge and rock hopped out into the heavens dad was right behind me (well he stopped at the rock hop part) I snapped photos and even got a good one of me on the rock outcroppings courtesy of dad.

Blackstack Cliffs overlook and a long way down
We were satisfied with our day and began to hike out, I had brought some snacks and we sat on the Appalachian Trail and had a break. I think I enjoyed our conversation just as much as the hike, dad and uncle Jim sat and identified almost every tree and told me of other places they had been that I should go. I have another off day this week with 70 degree weather in the forecast so I believe a waterfall visit is in order, here's some pictures to tide you over until then, enjoy!

not many people can hike in wingtips, Uncle Jim can
Dad bravely at the cliff's edge!

crystal clear views
destination in sight!
so that's who keeps stacking rocks!

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