The terrain is what's fondly called "technical." Loose gravel, boulders, and erosion cut banks were hidden beneath a multi-layered sandwich of leaves, moss, and lichen. It provided a great core-muscle workout, but I also realized this would be trip best shared with only a select group of friends (though I want to also check out the side trail to Hickory Knut to see if that offers easier access).
|Time for some puddle jumping!|
|Wet rocks on the trail at the summit of Scaly Mountain.|
|I swear I didn't even need to photoshop these intense colors.|
|Plump pink buds of trailing arbutus ready for spring.|
|Small, clustered burrs of chinkapin open in two sections.|
|Larger burrs of the chestnut.|
Rising from the low point at Tessentee Camp, the Bartram switchbacks up and then weaves through jagged cliffs with views across valley that I hadn't seen when leaves were out.
|Rugged trail traversing steep cliffs.|
|Jones Knob in the distance.|
|Hanging with a view.|
During the work week, when everything moves so fast, I run around, dwell in details and I can get quite self-critical and down on myself. But when I backpack, there is no to-do list (besides the essentials of food, drink, shelter), no full inbox, no hurrying. I see more clearly the big and wonderful important things in life. I am satisfied with my ability to navigate my surrounds with confidence and openness. I am feel most at home with myself and my surroundings. I realize this is what keeps me coming back to the woods, and what restores me.