Ghost House Trail

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An interesting gravestone along the Ghost House Trail by Frank.

This short trail is worth the hike if for no other reason than the chance you might run into the ghost . . .

The Ghost House Loop Trail is in Big Ridge State Park in Tennessee.

Located in the Appalachian ridge and valley terrain of Northeastern Tennessee, Big Ridge State Park’s more than 3,500 acres is comprised of three narrow ridges and stream valley systems. Big Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge make up the two most prominent systems as they are almost completely surrounded by Norris Lake’s southern shore. Historically, Big Ridge State Park is one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) along with the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Much of the park’s architecture features the unique CCC-style local-stone architecture. Many of the park’s trails were carved out by the CCC, as well, and one can see the remains of the homes and farms that once occupied the area while hiking. More particularly, many old family cemeteries can be seen throughout the park.

Directions: From Interstate 75, take Exit 122, Tennessee 61 east for about 12 miles. The park entrance is on the left between the cities of Andersonville and Maynardville.

Hours Open: The park is open from daylight until10 p.m. in the summer, and from daylight until dark in the winter, Eastern Time. The Visitors Center is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Ghost House Loop Trail

Distance Round-Trip: 1.2miles

This trail is said to be haunted by the ghost of Maston Hutchison because odd things have occurred along it. Whether or not this is true, you will see the remains of old home foundations as well as the sunken grave of Hutchison.

Caution: This trail passes through some damp and buggy areas. Insect repellant is advised for those who want to ward off bugs.

Trail Directions: Parking for this trail is located off the group camp road. The trailhead is to the left at N 36º 14’ 49”, W 83º 55’ 29” (1). The lake is to your left as you begin this hike, crossing a wood bridge and entering the woods at .01 mile. At .04 mile, reach the junction with the Lake Trail, which continues straight ahead. Turn right to reach the beginning of the Ghost House Loop in .01 mile.

Turn left on the Ghost House loop, and at .09 and .17 mile, cross wooden bridges over intermittent streams. At .43 and .49 miles, you will cross bridges over streams. At .61 mile, a side trail to the left leads a short distance into the woods where a home site was once located. There are two moss-covered rock mounds that are the remains of foundations.

At .68 mile, reach the junction of the Big Valley Trail connector. The Big Valley Trail is 15 yards to the left. The Ghost House Loop continues to the right at N 36º 15’ 13”, W 83º 55’ 28” (2). Continue to the right and reach the Norton Cemetery to your right at .78 mile. It is here you will find the grave of Maston Hutchison. While there are no remains of the Hutchison home any more, it is his house that is said to be haunted.

Continue hiking, reaching the beginning of the Ghost House Loop at 1.19 miles or N 36º 14’ 49”, W 83º 55’ 32” (3). You will reach the trailhead at 1.24 mile, and the parking area in another .12 mile.

 

  1. Trailhead
  2. Big Valley Trail connector
  3. Ghost House Loop beginning/end

Ghost House Loop Trail Map

This Bread I Break

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This bread I break was once the oat,
This wine upon a foreign tree
Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wine at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.

Once in this time wine the summer blood
Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine,
Once in this bread
The oat was merry in the wind;
Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down.

This flesh you break, this blood you let
Make desolation in the vein,
Were oat and grape
Born of the sensual root and sap;
My wine you drink, my bread you snap.

~~Dylan Thomas

Melancholia

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An empty heart,

Cold and bleak,

In the winter of desire.

The haunting lament of

A mourning dove echoes

Down its abandoned

Hallways

As withered leaves

Scatter before a frigid wind.

I wander the desolate

Passages of my heart,

Searching for signs

Of life,

But find only desiccated weeds,

Cold, cracked tiles, and

A stagnant pool where

Once life proffered

An alternate existence,

And the melody of the

Dove was a lullabye.

Desert Flowers

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I took along my new macro lens on my recent trip to Arizona and was overwhelmed by the number of flowers still blooming. Here’s a handful of some of the more than a dozen photos I took. The remainder can be found here: Macro Flowers

Bougainvillea

Cactus flower with bee

Poppy and tendril

Wave Cave

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A cholla cactus alongside the trail. Our destination is just below the peak in the background.

We’re out in Arizona visiting our daughter, and Saturday morning was spent making the short (just over a mile and a half) but very strenuous hike up to the Wave Cave in the Superstition Mountains. Temperatures near 90º and a bright sunny day made this hike a little more tricky. It was worth the effort, though. The views from the cave were outstanding, and it was fun watching everyone “riding” the wave of the rock formation.

The Wave Cave is  just below the second peak on the right.

Getting closer . . .

The view from the cave.

Riding the wave . . .

Revisions

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The books we’re revising.

As my June 1 deadline looms nearer, I have spent the past few weeks immersed in the much needed revisions of our Best of the Appalachian Trail books. First written in 1994, they were updated in 2004. Let’s just say a lot has changed in the past 13 years! Interstates have been built and trails relocated for one thing. In addition, thanks to the much appreciated help of Vic Hasler with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club, I’ve taken his advice and trashed one overnight hike and replaced it with another.

Honestly, I think the new hike is a much better addition. The only reason I can think we didn’t include it to begin with is because when we hiked that section of the Appalachian Trail, we were being chased by rain before being forced to shelter in the former barn–Overmountain Shelter–during an early April blizzard.

And what that looks like . . .

Simultaneously, while working on these revisions, I have also been transcribing my trail journals as 2018 will mark the 30th Anniversary of our through hike. Because life tends to work that way, the point I am at in transcribing is also the time we were caught in the snowstorm. Having quit my job as a staff writer for a daily newspaper to hike the A.T., I had fun (as we had hours to waste) describing the adventure in newspaper format. I can’t quite duplicate that here, but it went something like this (The Humps, by the way, are two balds on the Tennessee/North Carolina line that are more than a mile high in elevation.):

THE NOT-YET-OVER-THE-HUMPS NEWS
Yellow Creek Gap, N.C.
A Victoria Steele-Logue-Jones, Esq. Paper
April 7, 1988

Snowstorm traps 15: Boy Scouts, Through-hikers forced to shelter in barn.

Fifteen hikers were trapped at Yellow Creek Gap today when hit by the worst blizzard to strike the area in years. (She wrote the lead with less than 25 words, proving once again her innate sense of journalism.) The storm began early Wednesday with a sprinkle of rain and a wind that would make the willows weep. On the Hump mountains, Troop 357 struggled against the ripping gusts of air. It took several hours for the 13, including three leaders and ten youths, to make it to the Overmountain Shelter.

Through-hikers Frank and Victoria Logue arrived at the shelter slightly soaked just as the first downpour started shortly after 10:30 am. A little more than an hour later, the others began to arrive. Fortunately for the rain-soaked travelers, the barn had more than enough room to offer sanctuary to the entire group.

I won’t continue but suffice to say: because the barn had about an inch of space between its slats, it didn’t take long for snow to coat everyone’s sleeping bags. Also, the wind literally rocked the barn back and forth. It was a hellacious 48 hours. When we finally departed we had to trudge through more than two feet of snow, which, by the time we reached the valley at US 19E, had made the transition from snow to rain as the temperatures grew warmer.

But, having since seen and hiked that area in good weather, it’s truly beautiful and rich in both geologic history and the history of the people of the mountains. In the summer, the Cawtaba rhododendrons in the area are breathtaking.