Smoky Mountain High

imageWe are moving slowly through North Carolina today, on our way to Spartanburg, SC, eventually to the coast, but no timetable. We spent yesterday in Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s a good time to be there, just as with Yellowstone in spring. There are few tourists other than us.

I had heard of the Trail of Tears, when the US government drove the Cherokee off their land and over to Oklahoma. 4,000 died on that journey, perhaps in despair. What we took from them is a charming land of low, forested hills and mountain streams. Game was abundant, and life, as wilderness life goes, was easy.

We wandered around an old farm this morning, all of the out buildings still preserved. A family could live here on pigs and corn. It was hard work, and not much surplus went to market. It was perhaps nothing like Eastern Montana, where weather always held potential disaster in store. This land gives reason for optimism, and yields a different people.

And the people are nice – charming actually. Bearded men with nasal tone hold your attention, as it takes a little time just to drawl out short sentences. We spent fifteen minutes with Barry Higgs, visitor center guy. His family goes back to the 1700’s. He wants to get out west and see Montana and Colorado. His dad used to go to Twin Bridges every year to fish. I wanted to tell him not to bother, that he’ got is all here, but could not get a word in between his.

imageI just picked up the Un-Civil War, one of those ‘teacher never told you’ books. Should be fun, and who knows what is true? The events in the Ukraine are not even a week old, and all we got was lies. Can the Civil War be different?

So let’s finish here. Much ground to cover. This area is so much fun to get to know. Even just passing through, I am filled with warmth. It is a place that engenders a fondness that I will take home with me. Just thinking of it will bring back lovely memories. We must return someday.

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