Day 49: Orient

IMG_2006I still can’t find the Little Wilson trailhead….

My plan for today was to take a short hike as a way of unwinding after a busy couple of days. I was free at 1pm, but instead of jumping in my car for that five hour drive back home, I thought I would head out to a crag I keep trying to find called Little Wilson. It’s a cliff face near the Little Wilson River (thus the name), but the trailhead starts somewhere off of Route 221 in Avery County, NC. There used to be an old red fridge dumped by the side of the road that marked the trail, but it is long gone….

With the leaves off the trees and some “good” directions in hand, I was sure that this time I would be able to find the trail. The only problem was that there was still lots of snow covering everything that wasn’t paved. I walked around for a bit where the trail should have been, but short of wandering through 10-inch snow until I eventually ran into the river, I decided to give up…for now at least.

Instead, I hiked around another crag that I’m more familiar with–it’s called The Dump, but it’s anything but dumpy. You might not be able to tell from the way the banner image is cropped, but it’s from the same location, looking down the same trail as the image on this page.

I’m glad I took the time to head into the woods, if only for a half hour or so. And I’m glad I ended up returning to familiar territory. Even though I’ve spent the last two days in a town that I know rather well, the whole experience, while positive, was very new and somewhat disorienting. It was good to return to well-known territory as a way to reorient myself.

IMG_2015On the way back into town, I took another detour, just to pass by some of my most familiar landmarks in the area. It was nice to be reminded of just how much time I have spent in this neck of the woods, and how much of this area I carry with me in my head. While my mind keeps returning to thoughts of possible changes in the future, it felt good to remind myself that right here, right now, I was walking on familiar earth.

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4 Responses to Day 49: Orient

  1. Very pretty pictures, there’s nothing like a walk in the woods to calm down.

  2. revdarkwater says:

    Oh, my. The sense of deja vu I’ve had looking at your banner is explained. I finished growing up in East Tennessee, and of course Western North Carolina is the greener grass just the other side of that ridge!

    The “used to be” red fridge makes me smile. There once was an old schoolbus on an access trail to the AT up out of Horsecreek State Park in Greene County, Tennessee, far, far above where the road petered out. I used to speculate that it had be packed in in pieces and reassembled on the spot.

    • Mark says:

      You will appreciate this then–I might have made a bit of a mistake taking a “shortcut” going over Holloway Mountain instead of sticking to the main roads, given all the half-melted snow, slush, and sand on the back roads up and down the mountain. I didn’t end up in a ditch, but my little car now looks like a Jackson Pollack mud painting!

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