I needed a weekend away from the all too humdrum existence of day-to-day living. I decided that a good diversion might be to hike the Appalachian Trail for a weekend. After class on Friday, I ran to my car so that I could begin this wonderful divergence from daily life. The parking lot at Carver’s Gap, my destination, finally came into view as I drove up US 19E. Across the road, a short wooden fence separated me from my wonderful weekend of adventure. From the second I reached the parking lot, I realized that this hike, a great way to escape from reality for a weekend, awaited me upon the trail I saw dwindling in the distance.
Due to my college freshman regimen of a bad diet and no exercise, the first bald I climbed winded me. At the summit of this little hill, however, a great vista gently caressed my eyes, as the natural beauty of Tennessee flowed over me. Verdant hills broiled before me, bubbling away into the distance to pop upon the backs of monstrous mountains. The sweet aroma of the few vibrant flowers on the flat plateau, and the intoxicating sensation of the breeze pawing at my hair, made the scene picturesque and serene.
After gaping in awe for several minute, I turned my back from one beautiful landscape only to find my self at another. The harsh winds of the balds blew around me as I came upon the testaments of the winds power. The tree line appeared as a mass of gnarled, knotted, dead looking trees, the guardians of the forest. The harsh winds had over the years, deformed the trees here at the barrier between the lush forests and the vast plateau behind me. The path wound through the gnarled guardians and the true beauty of my hike soon greeted me.
The lush, vibrant fall colors on the trees and the closeness of the forest created a sense of serenity, intimacy, and peacefulness in me that lasted until I left that wondrous shelter of living wood.
The dirt path led me downward into secluded valleys and over open hills. Two miles into this delightful experience, a small Adirondack named the Stan Murray shelter, stood as a resting point for weary hikers. The Adirondack, a three-sided shack like structure, blended into the surrounding brown of the trees and surprised me as I came upon it. I stopped there for a short respite and then continued my hike.
The next three...