There is something I want to show you. It is this rock stairway carved into a mountainside at an exit along the interstate highway that leads from my house to Asheville. This is located at an exit just inside the Tennessee state line before crossing into North Carolina. We have stopped at this exit several times looking at the flora and fauna. There are no gas stations here, no fast food joints, no putt putt golf ranges, no houses, no sign of civilization at all. The road on this side of the highway is not even paved. But there is this stairway of rocks with a hand rail leading up up up the mountain. It was a puzzlement for the longest time.Until we noticed this sign. This is part of the famous Appalachian Trail. This is a hiking trail that is two thousand one hundred seventy five miles long, (3500 kilometers) running from Georgia to Maine. For more information about the trail click here. Would you like to come along and do a little trail hiking?Let’s begin by climbing these rock steps. These are not concrete made to look like rocks, these are real rocks, and a little slippery for it has rained here recently and there are some wet leaves so watch out. Not deterred by the daunting steepness up we go. Maybe you should hold on to the guardrail just for safety’s sake. And don’t look down to the left.At the top of the steps is this weathered wooden sign with helpful information such as the distances to lean tos, or shelters and gaps where the view should be spectacular, especially now during leaf changing season. I recognize Max Patch Road as one of the roads we take to go to Christopher’s cabin. The terrain here is very similar to his small piece of heaven.Following the trail we can look down and see our car beyond the sign we just passed. We are really up high already. Honestly we are not prepared for hiking at all, we are not even wearing a jacket or carrying anything besides the camera, although I did think to slip my cell phone in my pocket in case something happened. Did you remember to bring yours? I’m pretty sure mine is fully charged, but I did have a conversation with Semi while she was tailgating at the Penn State football game and you know how we can talk.Looking out over the mountains we can just make out the interstate highway. We are quite close to it and can even hear the trucks as they go by. It is that white/gray strip in the middle of the picture running horizontally. We are so close to the the twenty first century looking that way, but turning towards the path upwards we have stepped back in time.Can you even see the path? A few more fallen leaves and it would be hard to make it out. Looks like we are going to have to go single file for now. Would you like me to lead the way?The path goes around that tree stump. That would have been a good grab hold while the tree was still living. Maybe that is what happened to it, one too many human hands wore the bark away over time grabbing to help with the footing. Speaking of footing, are you doing allright back there? Tree roots and stones can make you trip if you don’t pick up your feet. No shuffling now.Oh look at that pretty little maple with the pinky leaves. Also look how the path is slanting down toward the precipice. I think it is getting more narrow. There is a really good book about a fellow who walked the trail and wanted to record his journey called “A Walk In The Woods” by Bill Bryson. Funny thing about that, he decided not to hike the part of the trail that went through Tennessee, the part that we are on right now! Something about being afraid of what he might meet up with. Looking up into the treetops we are feeling just a teensy bit vulnerable. So glad to have you along. Could this be one of those what was I thinking moments? Maybe it is time to go back. We don’t even have a jacket, I see you don’t either. Let’s turn around. Did you hear that noise? I see you are not wearing hiking footwear but your sneakers are better than these ballerinas. Yes, they are very cute and they go with everything, but the soles are a little slippery and the way back is all downhill, steeply downhill. Watch your step, we will just go real slowly. Best not hold hands either, if I fall I will drag you down with me.Uh oh. Someone slid right here and that is a long way down. Good thing we can see the steps, just a short distance away.These steps are a little more treacherous than I remember when we went up them. I had better put the camera on my wrist with that little woven bracelet thingy. One step at a time. Almost there. Isn’t this fun? Now you can tell your friends and family that you hiked the Appalachian Trail. You don’t have to volunteer that is was just a few feet, but it was really fun, wasn’t it!Whew! Okay we are down now. I like to talk about happy things as a diversion when things get a little scary. All is well now. We will get back into the car and head towards Knoxville and on to our home sweet home. And garden.Greeting us at the homestead was the lovely muhly, still showing quite a bit of color. Thanks so much for keeping me company during that little adventure. It would have been much more frightening once we got up into the trail where we could not see the car or highway or anything if you were not along with me.
The title of this post is based on the theme song from The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans television show, “Happy Trails To You” written by Dale Evans Rogers.
My name is Frances and I am a lifelong gardener, having lived in various parts of the USA over many years. I am now gardening in USDA Zone 7a east Tennessee. From 2000 to 2014 I was gardening on a slope in a small town in Tennessee. I have been blogging about my gardens since December of 2007. Thank you for visiting!
The slope in spring
The slope in fall
The slope in winter
Visit The Hop Ice Cream Cafe When In Asheville, NC
640 Merrimon Ave.
or The Hop West
721 Haywood Rd.
Asheville, North Carolina
Older Posts Of Interest:
The story of the day a throng of cedar waxwings descended upon the garden, shown in the header image. (2009)
An awkward title that explains about making those very tall asters, mums and others shorter by cutting them down by half in May. Now is the time! (2011)
A book inspires the growing of lilies from seed. (2009)
How ten lily bulbs became hundreds. (2010)
A rant about the mistaken thoughts of non-gardeners. (2009)
There was something hidden in the forest and we were lucky enough to be able to see it. (2011)
Dreams turn into reality, in a way. The Green Man/Leaf Man faces live well in my garden now. (2011)
A yard without a lawn. (2010)
A history of all of the faire gardens and a couple of choice tidbits about me. (2009)
Very difficult to only pick your six favorite plants, some of us bent the rules a bit. (2009)
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