I’ve had a great relaxing time for a couple of weeks in July staying at a cabin in Wears Valley, just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains . If you have ever visited, then you know why this park carries that name. The photo at right was taken from the porch of the cabin where I stayed, looking down into the valley.
I hiked, ran Cades Cove loop (closed to traffic Wed & Sat mornings), ran on the trails, and backpacked for a total 162 miles in 2 weeks. I also chilled out on the porch, read, soaked in peace and quiet, and other sorts of good things to do on vacation. I even went to Dollywood! Yee-Haw!
I slept in a tent pitched on the deck of the cabin. So I got all the benefits of outdoor camping (nature sounds, fresh air, rain pelting the tent) with all the amenities of modern life (plumbing, jacuzzi, well-stocked kitchen).
Question 1: What does one do when hiking along an isolated trail by a stream and one finds the most perfect skinny-dipping place? Why, the natural thing, of course! It was wonderful! A low, gentle waterfall, a deep pool, cool water, mossy rocks to put your stuff and dry off on. So fresh!
Question 2: What is worse than coming across a bear when hiking by yourself? Coming across a baby bear when you don’t know where the mama bear is! WHEW! When this happened, I just backed up, made lots of noise, prayed, and waited. Then I just kept going! Fortunately, these Black bears don’t normally see people as food (unlike other bears). Over the 2 weeks I was there I saw a total of 11 bears!
I don’t have any profound conclusions or epiphanies from my reflections to share with you. I just had a great time resting. Although covering as much ground as I did may not sound like rest, my mind is more free when my body is occupied in movement. As I passed through isolated sections of the forest, I was reminded to look for, to feel, if you will, the Deep Magic of Aslan (from Chronicles of Narnia). It truly feels like a magical place.
The Reads: I did read Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and I highly recommend it! I also read through the book of James most mornings. I’m still not done with that book – still getting stuff out of it. I’m also still working my way through Prayer by Richard Foster.
Pics: I’m not the best at remembering to take my camera, or even remembering to take photos when I actually have my camera, but I’ve posted new photos up on my Flickr page, which you can access on the right hand side.
Next: Currently I’m in Birmingham, AL for the weekend as I start another travel stint. I’m still hoping to return to China by early October, but this is now visa-dependent. We hold these things lightly, don’t we?