Monday, April 16, 2012

Roan Highlands, A.T. Thruhike 2012

     Emerald green seas of grass, and endless views.
     The Roan Highlands proved to be an easy highlight of my journey!
     It started with a long, hard uphill, over Roan Mountain. Not much to see, a wooded summit with a historic site which Skyland Hotel once stood, catering to guests in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
     What followed was beyond words.
     After passing a gap, I proceeded to climb once again. This time, though, I was climbing a large, grass mountain.
     Once at the top, I could see in every direction, and at great distance. It was beautiful.
     This bald mountain was proceeded by another, and yet another. I spent much time gazing into the distance from a soft place to sit that afternoon.
     After departing the last summit, the trail dips back into trees, and eventually connects with a trail once used by local militia men, the Overmountain Men, to travel to and battle the British in the Revolutionary War. This bloody battle was a crucial win for the war, which these men fought using their own guns and provisions, and without the aid of medical or supplies.
     Turning down the side trail, I found myself walking an old gravel road to a big, red barn that has been converted into a shelter.
     It was early, and I had intended to walk further, but this ancient barn was too neat to pass up.
     I laid in the grass, soaking in sun and breeze.
     I was told by another hiker that it was haunted. It was also Friday, the 13th. An interesting night, to say the least.
     The next morning, I woke and was out in front of the barn before sunrise. I decided I would begin up Hump Mountain, another grassy bald, to watch the sun rise as I walked.
     I was in constant awe.
     The sun rose directly behind a distant mountain, filling the sky in many colors in a most magnificent manner. It was such an inspiring moment.
     I continued across balds, with expansive views in all directions. I could even see the shelter, that was once the barn for a small farm, nestled way below in a valley.
      I wondered to myself if the people who once farmed here appreciated this beauty. I felt they must have, it might be why they chose such a inaccessible location in the first place.
      They may have had much in common with me; a need and desire to be here. I wonder.

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