Monthly Archives: November 2012

“Our” Beer

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA surprise appeared in the beer store in Greensboro, NC! Here’s the very image of our Tramper emblazoned on the label of this lovely IPA from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, MO.

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Notice the resemblance?

Notice the resemblance? OK, the one on the box is prettier but ours has more ‘character’

Of course, we bought and consumed this beer right away! Although we generally prefer a really dark beer, this IPA was mighty tasty…

Can't wait to try more of these!

Can’t wait to try more of these!

– Jane

DAY 68 11/21/2012 We are in Georgia (Jaw-ja) Now!

After the relaxing walk enjoying Foxfire (see Jane’s post), we needed a place to camp.  Seems like a theme doesn’t it?  Soon, we’ll slow down and camp in one place for more than one day and do trips from that base.  But this night, just before sundown, we crawled the 4Runner up a perilously steep and narrow road leading into Black Rock Mountain State Park.  I even drove right past the gate sign that read “campground full”,  on up to the 3640 ft summit where a narrow campground was perched.

The tradition for RV places is to drive around the loop once and select your site to back or pull into on the next lap.  I often don’t like this, preferring to park and walk through.  Right away, the camp host drove over in his golf cart.  Even in this busy park I “was in luck if I only wanted one night”.  Allen showed us which sites we could choose from and then offered us turkey dinner.  My brief polite refusals were met with insistence.  Jane and I were, of course, hungry.  Not bike or hike hungry, but dinner was on our minds just the same!  My final denial, was met by Allen saying “now don’t you all be hateful”  “sit right down and fix yourself plate of this”.  The freshly cooked turkey, baked beans and biscuits were a delight as the early chill of darkness commenced.

Jane and I were still in single layer long sleeves and not too cold, but laughed later to note some college co-ed campers in hats, gloves, snow pants and parkas.  Kind of reminded us of when we see Maine-ers not wearing a coat while we get cold, except we were the ones who didn’t need extra layers.

Nice time to wake up

Nice time to wake up

Sunrise beginning to look like a volcano. I had no idea exactly where it would rise so this was a nice surprise

Sunrise beginning to look like a volcano. I had no idea exactly where it would rise so this was a nice surprise

My day started in time to take pictures of sunrise from our campsite.  The hardest task is to decide which one to post, so I picked three.

What a way to start the day!

What a way to start the day!

I almost made a “slideshow” of dozens and posted that.  After crawling back to a warm bed until 8, we got up, feasted on eggs-in-a-hat and planned our hike.  It has gotten noticeably warmer as we move South.  The sleeping bag-as-quilt is too warm now, and we’ve noticed massive Rhododendron that seem to have set a second set of blossoms.

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The James Edmund Trail had come up in at least 3 prior conversations so we figured it would be a scenic challenge.

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A view from the trail

A view from the trail

Jane has really built herself some trail legs, hardly stopping throughout our 4 and 1/2 hour hike.  Metrics: a little over 7 miles including 2290′ of ascent, and 1995′ of descent bely the nice feel of the trail.  We both still prefer going up to walking downhill, even if it is a little faster.  Our boots are getting some use and the single pair of trekking poles are presenting their own pros and cons.  (I use ’em like ski poles a lot going down making turns all the while.)

Awe in the sanctuary of nature...

Awe in the sanctuary of nature…

The trail drops down into a valley, climbs to Lookoff Mt, drops down in again, then has to climb all the way back up onto Black Rock Mountain. The peanut butter and jelly feast at the Overlook at Lookoff Mt was a feast topped off with clear cold water.  Boy, we are LIVING!

– David

DAY 67 – 11/20/2012 Foxfire, Mountain City, GA

Driving into Georgia, we saw the word “Foxfire” on the map.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It conjured up some old memories. What started in the ’70’s as a book was now the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center.

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I’m so old I remember when the very first Foxfire Book came out.

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Hippie folk everywhere avidly read about life in the past; specifically, about the ways and traditions of rural Southern Appalachia.

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Today, what began as a school project is now a center of learning and a functional museum.

Here's David, trying out the stilts. I would have hurt myself!

Here’s David, trying out the stilts. I would have hurt myself!

The proceeds from the sales of books and magazines funded the preservation and construction of log cabins arrayed in a community on the mountain.

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We visited Foxfire on a beautiful Autumn day. www.foxfire.org

– Jane

PS: Here’s a bonus video. I love things that make noise so I was thrilled to ring the church bell in the little Chapel. Most of the video was shot sideways. To learn how to make it straight would take me until next year at this time, so I put it in as-is. Turn up the volume so you can hear the bell!

(David, ever the Physical Therapist said “Good body mechanics, Jane!”)

DAYS 65 & 66 – 11/18-19/2012 Mountain Bike Double

A few days ago, we were looking for a place to camp for the night. When we arrived at the campground we’d found on the map, it was closed. For the season. Darkness was falling rapidly. Finding a place to camp and then parking the camper is many times more difficult when it’s dark. We really did not want to drive on into the night.

So, we called the phone number on the campground sign. David, in his charming way, explained a little bit about our plight and darned if the sweet little old lady who owned the campground didn’t invite us to park on her nearby front lawn! Amazing!

The Tramper spent the night in Miss Pauline's front yard.

The Tramper spent the night in Miss Pauline’s front yard.

Miss Pauline was as cute as she could be, but she wasn’t a total idiot. A relative was also living on the property so I guess this gave her confidence in offering her land. She was also most likely ‘packin’. Probably had a 12-gauge behind the front door. In the mountains of western North Carolina? Oh, yes she was!

Well, on to the reason for this post: We did 2 amazingly fun mountain bike rides 2 days in a row. The 2 areas were amazingly similar. Both were along the shores of reservoir lakes in western North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains.

Ride number 1 – Tsali Trails in the Nantahala National Forest

Tsali trails

Tsali trails

Ride number 2 – Jackrabbit Trails, also in Nantahala National Forest (do I hear Mountain Bike Weekend 2013 in the works?)

Such fun we had! Whoop-dee-d00’s, roller coaster banked turns and sweeping s-turns. The trails were really well built and really fast. So fast that I often felt like I was following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole. A bit disoriented, not knowing what was to come next but going with it. The Tsali trail was also often at the edge of a precipice, made higher because of the drought that’s been going on in this part of the country.

Jackrabbit trails

Jackrabbit trails

It will be interesting to see how I do when we return to Baltimore and ride the Merriman’s trail again. That trail is a barometer for me. We’ve been getting so much exercise…

 

 

 

David found a pile of rocks to climb.

Click the photo and you'll see David near the top.

Click the photo and you’ll see David near the top.

 

Down one side and up the other

Down one side and up the other

 

That's my hubby!

That’s my hubby!

My legs are jelly. My arms are tired. My butt, well let’s just say it’s tired, too. As the sun sets on another couple of great rides, it’s time to climb in the 4Runner and take the Tramper on to the next stop… Georgia!

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– Jane

DAY 64 11/17/2012 Museum of the Cherokee Indian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will do my best to avoid scolding all of us for a history that is past and cannot be changed.  As heard anecdotally, we should learn from our history, to avoid the same mistakes.  “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” George Santayana.  

During undergrad at Essex Community College I attended a wonderful class called the Sacred Art of Indigenous Cultures, taught concurrently by two instructors.  Each was equally intelligent and credible, but they often contradicted each other emphasizing that study of history, fossil or fragmented remains, and artworks leaves something to the individual to interpret.  Interpretations change from person to person and from time to time.  Kind of reminds me that when I was a kid, the Indian was a fierce savage and the Cowboy was clearly portrayed as the good guy.  Later, we seem to deify the indian and wish we could live in half their harmony.  Even that 1971 “Crying Indian” commercial with Native American in the canoe paddling through an industrialized river with a tear in his eye sits heavy on my memory…Maybe thats part of why I still don’t litter?

We, of course, were all curious about this museum.  Horses, arrows, pottery, tepees, buffalo, turquoise, harmony, feathers and all.  Yes, there must be beautiful sights for us to see.  The Museum too tries not to scold us.  The town of Cherokee seems  to broadcast two messages:  1)Transformation Through Forgiveness and 2)Unity!  WOW.  Gandhi right here in America.  Like Martin Luther King – peace under violent oppression.  All of the most admirable traits of religion and philosophy lead this way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a traveling Cherokee sculpture to spread the message of forgiveness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven the rail-trail graffiti was encouraging.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe museum was informative and led us through exhibits following a timeline.

The Paleo period 13,000-10,000 years ago showed the stone tools and spears of earliest Americans, Cherokee ancestors.

The Archaic and Mississippian periods from 10,000 to merely 500 years ago saw improvements in climate, leading to easier hunting, agriculture and “more free time” allowing the beauty of daily tools, pottery, baskets and adornment.  Much of our impression of the Cherokee, of course is “post-contact” as we could only chronicle what our culture was there to see.  Square foundation houses, meeting halls, sweat lodges look like any pioneer period you’d expect.

Of course the trend accelerated by about 1540.  Settlers poured in faster than they could forge a life of their own.  De Soto brought Spanish explorers in search of gold and riches, but brought disease and decimation also.  Despite an open-hearted welcome, coexistence was not to be.  In 1762 as emissaries of peace, Chief Ostenaco went with several other Cherokee leaders to England to meet King George III and declared mutual peace along with allegiance to the King.  A proclamation was sent back to British settlers to allow Cherokee to continue their ways unfettered.

Probably the real death knell was the American Revolution when this edict was repeatedly ignored as settlers demanded land and moved into the best territories.  Against the recommendations of statesmen such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Davy Crockett the government enacted the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  By 1838 the U.S. forcibly exiled the remaining Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

Approximately 16,000 Cherokees were moved into pathetic stockades in groups of 1,000 beginning in the spring of 1837 and continuing throughout the fall the following year. Under the command of General Winfield Scott, the Cherokee were driven west by 7,000 soldiers and volunteers. Some in covered wagons, but most walking with little more than shared blankets as their only protection.  An estimated 4,000 Cherokee Indians died during the almost 200-day “Trail of Tears” by disease, malnutrition and exposure.  They were afforded no privacy, no sanitation, meager food, and slept in groups on the ground between daily forced marches.

Over 30 treaties were inflicted on the people from 1684 to 1835.  A final deal of $5 million in compensation and 13 million acres in what is now Oklahoma was closed by  Andrew Jackson despite admitting an Indian saved his life once, as he signed the final removal papers.

We are familiar with other reservation photographic policies from powwows and previous travels.  Out of respect we took no pictures inside the Museum, If you would like to see them, everything is available on their website.

www.cherokeemuseum.org

Before we went in, Jane and I hung our heads down half jokingly.  But, near the end of my tour, I cried.  It seemed like a good deep cry, I wasn’t really witness to the indignities but empathize.  I think I am MOST relieved to see the town’s peaceful messages as direction for the rest of the world.

– David