Three clients canceled on me at 3.30 Friday afternoon so instead of going from my school job to the office, I veered left and ascended o’er Look Rock. My destination was Goldmine and Cane Creek. The weather was looking bad for Saturday and as I pen these words on a blustery, 39 degree Sunday evening am relishing the decision.
It used to be that Hangover weekend was peak leaf time. That certainly has changed over the past decade. But of course, global warming is a hoax and those retreating glaciers are just illusions. It still looks as if next weekend will be the sweet spot. I just needed some solo time down my adopted trails. I was in work clothing but found a pair of tennis shoes in the trunk. Campsite two was totally empty. You know, the overcrowded backcountry of the Smokies.
And things were pretty much as I remembered.
It was a great diversion. I dropped two miles down and about 900 feet. When I returned and reached the Cooper road sign, something growled at me from behind a tree. I stopped and tried to determine the direction from which this gutteral groaning emitted. Soon I heard another one and saw absolutely nothing. Usually in these instances, it has been a bear warning me of his presence. I found nothing and slowly moved ahead to hear nothing more. And that is my Halloween story of 2017.
As I close this weeks hikumentary, I will share updates from Southern Forest Watch and our efforts to keep the backcountry accessible to taxpayers. I believe the letter below to backcountry specialist Christine Hoyer is self explanatory. This is on the heels of Ryan Zinke’s NPS attempting to raise entrance fees so dramatically that most usually pro park groups are opposing them. Check out what he is trying to do here. https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/10/updated-brace-big-jump-national-park-entrance-fees
(Of course, Zinke who was accused of travel fraud while a Navy Seal and lately was indicted in the “private jet” scandal so rampant with Trump’s cabinet and just this week, has apparently steered a contract for Puerto Rico’s power grid to a company based in his hometown with no experience in any such matter.)