Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Long Mountain Trail GWNF 5.26.13


It took me a really long time to be content with not having any more children.  But, eventually, I realized, that as my kids get older - although I have more time commitments with their activities; I also have more opportunities to spend long stretches of time pursuing interests of my own.  One of my favorite activities to do is to hike. 
So last Sunday, I skipped church, left the kids with a to do list, told them they would have to find lunch on their own and headed out on the trail.  I'm determined to do this more for myself this summer.  So, to that end, I bought myself a much needed, and rather expensive (at least by my standards) pair of trail runners.  These shoes are so bright and comfortable that they make me excited to get out there.  I hope my current motivation continues.  I plan to get out on the trail several times a week once school is out. 

Long Mountain has been one of my favorite trails for years.  The first part of the trail is wide, almost flat, shady, full of Mountain Laurel and grassy.  It makes a great trail run or a nice easy stroll with young kids.  As you continue down the trail it becomes more narrow, more rocky and the decline becomes greater.  Just before three miles you come to a creek crossing.  There the blazes (yellow) become hard to spot and the trail becomes hard to track.  Keep your eyes open - there are several rock cairns which are helpful - just don't try to do this section too fast, or at dusk.  At the three mile mark you come to a sign post where you can turn on to the purple trail and head two miles to Trout Pond (a U.S. Forestry Recreation Area), keep on yellow to head four more miles to Trout Run Road (a nice option if you have someone to pick you up) or turn around, retrace your steps and head back up the mountain.  I chose the third option.
Sunday was a perfect day.  The temperature was just right for hiking and the flowers were really beautiful.  The wild azalea were still blooming, the Mountain Laurel were just starting to open and as an added bonus I found a whole hillside of Lady Slipper.  Remember - Lady Slipper are rare and take a long time to grow.  Never, ever, ever, dig or pick flowers.  You'll be depriving everyone who comes after you of their beauty.
Wild Azalea

Lady Slipper

Mountain Laurel
I spent about three hours away from home.  When I returned the kids had completed their chore list and we were ready to spend the rest of the day together.  No guilt.  No fuss.  Just some much needed time to reconnect with God's great world.

Want to hike where I like to be?  Go here for a PATC map.

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