It's been a good couple of weeks, highlighted for me by the White's Creek (see post below) hike, but the week before my friends Gary Baker, Dr. Ahler, and I got out exploring the back roads of East Tennessee down around Spring City, TN. Dr. Ahler, a great man with many stories and great outdoors knowledge, along with Gary and I, often get out and just see what we can find. Sometimes our outings are no more than exploring a nice bookstore somewhere, or perusing through a roadside fruit market.
It's hard to find a road Dr. Ahler hasn't been on, but this time we traveled up Walden's Ridge out of Spring City on Hwy. 68. Just as we reached the top of Grandview Mountain, we happened upon Firetower Road and turned off. It was a very narrow little asphalt road, the kind that make you dread meeting another car on, but we made it all the way out to the fire outlook tower at the road's end.
Gary and the Doc tempted fate by going up a couple of tier levels while I just hung underneath the lowest level out of the heavy mist. The tower creaked, enough so that they came down quickly! Had the mountain not be surrounded in a cloud, which added to the day's misty conditions, we probably could have seen for miles.
Just a short distance back down from the tower we discovered the trailhead to Little Piney Falls, which is inside the PINEY FALLS CLASS II NATURAL-SCIENTIFIC STATE NATURAL AREA. Piney Falls is a 440-acre natural area located in Rhea County where Little Piney and Soak Creeks have carved deep gorges into the Cumberland Plateau. It is a pristine forestland featuring creeks, deep gorges, waterfalls and old growth forest. Piney Falls is also recognized by the United States Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark. It is one of only fourteen National Natural Landmarks in Tennessee.
Just a week earlier we had seen a write up about this area in the Knoxville News Sentinel. We wanted badly to hike the trail, but the mist had by then turned into a sprinkle, so we head back to the truck, vowing to return another day and see the falls!
Back on Hwy. 68 we soon turned off onto Alloway Road, and the back left on Dogwood Road where we passed Dogwood Baptist Church with a little message to its flock: "Singing Cancelled (sic) - Singers Sick"! We found this to be a bit of true Americana; such honesty is found only in the South!
Dogwood took us to Hwy. 70 (the forerunner of I-40) between Ozone and Westel. We turned east and came down Rockwood Mountain into Rockwood and headed back to our respective homes.
Don't you just love all these little Southern road and town names!?
About a week ago I had taken my riding mower in for its annual checkup, but it had been two years since I had last felt like messing with it. I thought back over the last year, and all the health problems I had, and remember thinking I would never feel like loading and unloading that mower ever again. For that matter, doing anything much again!
However, this spring has found me back in better health and feeling pretty good. So, after waiting a week for Bowman Brothers to call me, the day arrived to go and pick it up. With the oil and filters changed, blades all sharp, and sporting a new rear tire I got her home again!
I still plan on hiring the yard work done, but I do some extra mulching occasionally, and pull my yard trailer around, hauling tools and dead limbs, between times. Besides, it beats walking up and down the backyard or up the drive when there's work to be done and there's need for another tool from the basement! Why walk when you can ride...right!?
Back in the truck, I headed for the hospital to have an ultrasound done on my right boob! Yep, that's right! It had been hurting for several weeks, with a puffy area directly under the ol' nipple. The guy (darn it) operating the equipment, and rubbing my sensitive booby with slimy gel, didn't seem to think I had anything to be concerned about, but when you've had the "BIG C" you worry about every change in your body! I won't know for sure until next week, but hopefully all I need is a big shot of testosterone!
Maybe all I need is a big shot of the Glenlivet Judy brought be back from her cruise, which is the last big thing that's happened recently.
Judy returned last night after a week's cruise in the Bahamas and Half Moon Cay. I really missed her, and had it not for having to take my mom to the dentist every day, I may have grieved much more! Judy went with Tracy (our daughter), Katie, and Eddie and seemed to have a grand old time. However, I got the sense that they were all finished with Carnival! I've been finished for several years now!
Yeah, my mom is going to have her upper teeth pulled and be fitted with falses! She is 84 years old and always brushed her teeth regularly, sometimes 2 and 3 times a day, but time has caught up with her. The dentist seems to think he can save and enhance her lower teeth, but the uppers have got to come out!
So, my friends, this is my life of late, but at least it isn't dealing with bad medical issues. I am hopeful and prayerful that life for me, and mine, stays this way for some time. I need a break!