Cane Creek  11/19/12

The beauty of Autumn is in what remains and clings to life amidst the death that surrounds it.

On Cane Creek, Fall still reigns despite the big snows at higher elevation.  We are attached to this spot in the park for varying reasons.  I am the volunteer trail adopter on Cane Creek.  It gives me an excuse to visit there frequently and make sure no one is despoiling this place.

It also allows me to wear my "official" National Park Service cap and t shirt.  You should have seen the look on these young kids faces when I came traipsing down gold mine.  They must have thought me a Ranger.  Isn't that funny?  I suppose all they saw was the National Park Service logo on the cap.  I don't usually wear a hat.  But this one kind of fits me right nice.

I came in to meet Jerky Mike who never disappoints.  As soon as I hit camp, Mike informed me that there was a camp foul in the form of equestrian abuse.

Volunteer trail adopter John was on a mission.  What did he find?

right under the bear cable.  What is the recurring theme here?  Well, I will tell you.  Last weekend, at Laurel Gap shelter, there was a carpet of horse feces from the shelter, totally encompassing it down to the water hole some 300 yards away.  Horses had ignored all protocols and marched and ruined that spot, yet again.  Now, here at Cane Creek, they have been picketed right under the bear cables which is where this stuff was found.  In addition, we carried out the following trash.  It is dayriding horse trash just like the stuff at Laurel Gap.  How do we know?  Just look at it!

Empty cans of soup, sauerkraut, big spam cans and Michelob light in a bottle?  They were strewn from the beginning of cane creek all the way down to the cemetery.  Pounds of horse carried garbage that we split up and toted out.  But of course, we backpackers are the bad guys.  We will be having to pay the fee so these horse folks can carry on.  Seriously, they left an unopened bag of sauerkraut underneath a rock?  No self respecting backpacker would be caught carrying Michelob light and we darn sure wouldn't leave a sack of sauerkraut under a rock.  It's horse folks who don't want the smell in their saddle bags.  The evidence is overwhelming.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.  We orchestrated a hot dog festival in honor of Uncle Larry and Frank, who were unable to attend at the last minute.  I brought 16 hot dogs, Mike brought a lb of fresh made chili, we had onions, mustard and hoagie buns and Grady even brought Kielbasas.  Man we were livin like Kings up there and had the campsite entirely to ourselves.

The merriment was overwhelming and Grady was forced to take a lognap.

Ricky Bobby Hendricks-Fisher was able to attend.  Ricky Bobby is officially off the market, ladies.  As of two weeks ago, he was married in the wilds of Utah in a ceremony performed by Doo Doo Doug.  Congratulations, Ricky Bobby Hendricks-Fisher and Jessica Hendricks-Fisher.  The will be taking up digs in the newly renovated Fulton Mansion and a huge party will ensue with a large band and tons of pinto beans catered by Skid.

Super Dave snuck in, as usual.  Slappy made a secret bushwhacking journey that I cannot publish because it was OUTLAW.  He is a Highlander now, you know,  Will?

It was a brief, short and splendid gathering.  I was able to complete the walk out to the park boundary and fulfill my duties as a trail volunteer.  Seriously, if anyone wishes to adopt a trail in the Smokies, contact me and I will put you in touch with the lady who handles that.  It is a good thing for the park and you get a cool hat and t-shirt.

Grady says, "I'm taking it to the house, boys".    And he did.

The Highlander Nation wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving!