Laurel Gap

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The flying sausage decided we needed to drive to Laurel Gap. By the time you deal with I-40, Heintooga road and Maggie Valley it’s 3 hours from my house.

But I was fortunate to have the company of one Grady. We ascended the Balsam Mountain Trail.

It’s 1500 ft and 4.2 mi to the shelter, in the light sprinkling rain. And the shelter was full. Which made me glad I brought my tent. Snug we were in the shadow of the hemlocks. Away from the snoring masses.

There to greet  us was Jimmy Dean, Steve Mcqueen, Dwight and Robert Carver. And 10 other of our closest friends, who all  bedded down at 7:30.

Hiker midnight came super early at Laurel Gap. But not for me and Grady and Dwight. We greeted the stars well into Highlander midnight.

As a result of Dwight’s late night activities,  he was unable to complete their anticipated  loop,and  Sunday morning found them dependent upon me and Grady to ferry them back around to their car at Big Creek.

But not before a stop at one of our favorite dining establishments in the Maggie Valley. Martin would be proud.

It was a quick hit weekend trip but a lot of fun was had.

The weekend before I was at the Obed for Trail days. This is a place where a lot of volunteers put in countless hours to maintain a national Park service resource. I’ve been able to participate in many Trail days over the years. This year we put up the new sign for the parking at South clear.

The East Tennessee climbers coalition does a magnificent job.

There were probably at least 70 volunteers that day. Projects completed include trail work, litter pick up and of course the South clear parking lot project. Then of course we had some climbing that afternoon.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple of days. It was also the only dry weekend I had in two months.

I would like to speak a little bit more about the covid. Many of you know that I had a breakthrough infection after vaccination. I was fully diagnosed with covid pre vaccination in December. That was 2 weeks of flu like symptoms, and complete isolation over the holidays. In addition to missing work and an AT hiking trip with Brian.

So I was first in line to get vaccinated with moderna in February. You may recall that I started getting sick at Richard’s hike a couple of weeks ago. And this bout was worse than the first. They say the chances of getting reinfected are almost astronomical. Well I guess you can say I’m good at beating the odds. I shudder to think at what may have happened had I not been vaccinated. Actually I know what would have happened. I would have been on a ventilator at UT hospital in a hallway probably.

A very good friend of mine lost her mother this week to the virus. She was un vaccinated. 1500 people per day are dying from this virus. So far we’ve lost 600,000 Americans. Yet we still hold super spreader events like UT football games. People still argue about the efficacy of masking. And folks who have no problem taking polio and many other vaccines, suddenly think they’re going to be computer chipped with the covid version.

I still have people say things to me like I probably got the covid because of my altitude exposure. What they’re really doing is trying to find some reason that a healthy person like myself would catch this plague. And they want to be able to fit the Fox news narrative that people who get covid really have underlying problems.

I don’t.

If you’re watching Fox news and News Max, understand that the people spouting this propaganda to you are vaccinated. So good luck with your ivermectin.

2 Corinthians 4:4. the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ who is the image of God.