Monday, November 12, 2012

Hiking Is Ageless

Sometimes it is not just the beauty of the scenery around you while hiking in the mountains of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park but the amazing people that you meet during your journey through the woods. Oh don't get me wrong the beauty of the smokies are really hard to beat in all ways but sometimes the people you meet just make that hike that your taking just that more enjoyable for anyone at any age.

Thoughout my years of hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains I have run into a lot of extraordinary people over the years from ages of 6 to 89 . Yes i said 89 years old ! People from all over the world , Poland to Brazil , Russia to Australia. Well if you think about it who in their right mind could be in a bad mood while hiking in the great outdoors . I would have to safely say that 98 % of all people i have encountered while hiking has always be very nice and always in a great mood . I have only run into 2 people that was in bad moods or was not enjoying theirselves .
Out of all of my encounters over the years of hiking 3 have really stood out in my mind and will probably stay with me as long as I am still on this earth .

1. I was going on a hike to Mt.LeConte via Alum Cave Bluff , I thought that I had got to the trailhead early that day arriving just a little before 8am but a little later I would find out that I was wrong. I was enjoying my hike up it was a beautiful day and not all the crowds had got there yet . Most people just hike to Alum Cave Bluff  4.4 miles round trip , this is a moderate hike with a total elevation change of 1125 ft. So I am going at a pretty good pace and about 0.8 of a mile from the top when this older gentleman comes around the the corner on his way back down. So we both stopped and started talking that is when i was blown away ! He was a man that was from Huntsville , Alabama and he was going back down already it was only 10:15 am . What so amazing about this ? Well he was 89 years old and had already gone up to Mt.LeConte and was on his way back down . He comes to the Great Smoky Mountains 5 times a year to go hiking and really enjoys it especially after his wife had died , he said it feels like he is closer to her .(I almost cried on that one ) This man was amazing to me he started out at the trailhead at 5:30 that morning and it was 10:15 and he was on his way back down . How many people do you know that is 89 that could walk 11 miles let alone hike 11 miles up a strenuous hike with a elevation change of almost 2800 ft. I just hope I am hiking like him at his age !

2. I met a wonderful family from Hillsborough, North Carolina hiking up to Ramseys Cascade in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Greenbrier side of the park . This was a very nice family as most families that you meet out on the trail , what was so extraordinary about this family was their daughter . I have never enjoyed hiking back down a trail as I did this day with this young lady . She talked to me basically all the way back down but you ask what is so extraordinary about this? Well I will tell you , I know a lot of people and this little girl who was 10 was more intelligent than most adults that I know . It was such a pleasure to not only talk to her but to listen to her . She talked about a wide range of topics and made everyone of them very interesting to listen to her . This young lady was very amazing and I expect one day I will hear something very great about her . This is one of those hikes that you wish would never end .

3. I was hiking up BullHead on my way to Mt.LeConte and then on out to Myrtle Point ( which btw if you hadn't is well worth the extra mile ) . A little over a mile from the top i ran into 2 young men who just happen to be 17 year old twins almost the same age as my twin daughters . We started hiking together on our way to Mt.LeConte Lodge , we talked about hiking and school  and when we got to the lodge we split up . I was just finishing up my lunch when they both come back over to me and started talking some more . I told them I was going to the Cliff Tops and they asked if they could tag along and I said sure so they asked their dad  and he said sure . So I took them up there and we talked and enjoyed the view and just sat and talked about everything .Then I told them that I was going to head up to Mytrle Point , they again asked if they could follow along with me . Of course I said sure these two young men were very inquisitive about hiking and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the great outdoors . You could just tell that these twins put 100 % into everything that they do . It was such a pleasure to meet both these young men , who was very intelligent , very well - mannered and just loved life .

This is why I love hiking so much not only the scenery and nature is so beautiful but the people you meet are too . They're so many more encounters of extraordinary people that you meet while out on the trails of the smokies , these are just the ones that have left a lasting impression on me that I will never forget . This is why i say Hiking Is Ageless because people of all ages enjoy hiking , being outdoors and being part of something that in the end makes us all better people .

Happy Hiking ,
Atti's Taxi - Matt G.

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