We recently did a spur of the moment hike up on Viking Mountain. Actually its Camp Creek Bald, but locals refer to it as Viking Mountain after a now defunct ski resort built at the top. At dinner at friends one Saturday sitting on the porch looking at Viking Mountain one of us said…
‘Have y’all hiked up to the Blackstack Cliffs on Viking?’
‘Well we should do that.’
‘Tomorrow. It’s not a long hike, maybe 30 minutes. Then we can go on to the ridge trail, that is the Appalachian Trail. Only another 30 minutes or so.’
So a date was made for after church for a ‘little’ walk in the woods with the 5 of us. The group grew by Sunday afternoon and 9 and a dog set out. Our ‘little’ walk turned out to be a 7.4 mile hike! Had I been told that at the start I would have never gone! Thank goodness it had been a few years since John had done this hike and forgot how long it was, it was a grand day and a good time was had by all and I’m so glad I went! We want to keep this going now and there is no shortage of places to hike in these mountains!
This peak is 4,844 ft. in elevation. The view is spectacular! The trail borders the Tennessee/North Carolina line. There are fire towers up here that can be climbed. We’ll save that for another day! You can click the link above to read about Camp Creek Bald and see pictures from when the resort was there. Nothing is left of it now.
There are still good people in this crazy world. We happen to have one for a friend. John is a pilot and loves planes. Saturday he had me bring Donald over to the local airport and he showed him around and gave him all the info on small planes. What makes them fly, how the wings work, all about airflow and pistons. Let him sit in a plane and showed him how to use the steering and the pedals. Donald had a grand day! The patience John had with him and the respect he showed Donald was amazing.
We have a nice little regional airport here in Greeneville. Lots of different types of small planes and a thriving Skydiving business. There’s also the helicopter rescue squad. Maybe Donald can have a tour of that next!
Donald’s day in pictures…
This plane in the last three pictures with the stars on it is John’s biplane, a starduster it is called. It has open cockpits for two fliers. The black helmet Donald was wearing is for this plane. The wooden dowel you see in the wires between the wings keeps the wires from ‘singing’ as you fly. John is using Donalds fingers to explain about the wind going between the wires and the stability of the wings.
There is a 1930’s Piper Cub in the hanger. It’s my favorite plane there. Gorgeous little red plane. Would love to fly in it!
We also have a couple other neat planes in the hanger. One is a Korean War plane, a T28 Trojan. Built in 1948. It was used for close air support.
And then there is the Das Doodle Bug! It’s a home built experimental plane built in 1984. It’s cute as a doodle bug!
We went for a ride recently to enjoy the fall colors. Roan Mountain, Tennessee is a lovely area. The North Carolina state line is just up the road and Boone NC is very close. There’s a nice State Park and old farmstead that has been preserved. In June they have a huge Mountain Laurel Festival. Roan Mountain is absolutely covered with it and when it’s in bloom its so gorgeous. Peg Leg Iron Ore Mine is right behind the visitor center, Just a short hike into the woods. We didn’t hike back there this time.
Visiting this area over 100 years ago, you would have found these mountains to be logged and pastured. During the later half of the 1800’s a new industry found its way to East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
An iron ore mine was operated here by the Crab Orchard Mining Company with a spur from the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railroad coming into carry the raw ore to Cranberry, NC for refining.
Below where the mill sits was a trip hammer forge operated with a 500 lb. hammer which was connected to a water wheel. The hammer was lifted up a few feet, tripped, then fell on the ore.
Across the river a smelter sat which melted ore by using charcoal from American Chestnut trees. Ingots were made by pouring the hot ore into molds dug in the sand. A two story commissary sat where the mill now sits. Dry goods and supplies were sold to the miners with sleeping quarters located on the 2nd floor. (signage at the mill)
The Miller Farmstead is the home of the Dave Miller family. The farmstead was settled in 1870 and originally had a log cabin. The farmhouse standing there now was built in 1908 and is now preserved as a reminder of the way folks used to live in these mountains. The farmhouse is open Memorial Day to Labor Day, and weekends in October. In 2015, the farmstead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Three generations farmed this land from 1870-1960’s. The farm was totally self sufficient, no electricity or running water. Its a wonderful spot to get a sense of the Appalachian lifestyle from days gone by. I would have loved to have spent more time there and hiked around, but Bossman has back and knee issues and with Donald we couldn’t do much walking.
Three generations of Millers carved a home and a living out of this rocky mountain soil. Mountain farmers were compelled to be tough, strong, practical, and innovative. They were bound to one another by the bonds of family, hard work and faith. … This farmstead is preserved as a testament to the grit and courage possessed by the people who farmed the ridges and valleys of the southern Appalachians. (signage on site)
We didn’t get to go inside the house, it wasn’t open but I did find this video someone who did posted on Youtube!
We stopped at a local BBQ joint and had dinner. It was a nice day out and I’m looking forward to going back when the Mountain Laurel is blooming! It’s a lovely place to camp. Here’s a couple interesting pics of other things we saw on the drive. Click on them to enlarge.
I had a wonderful surprise recently. A friend of ours that is a pilot called spur of the moment and said, “I’m flying over to the Hawkin’s County Airport do you want to ride along?”. He’s been promising to take me up for sometime. Of course I said YES! and put the sweeper back in the closet and grabbed my shoes. It was my first time in a small plane.
We went straight to the airport first. It was bumpy as it was windy and the mountains make for interesting wind gusts. On the way home he took his time and we went high in the clouds. It was so smooth and so gorgeous! We flew through ‘holes’ in the clouds and into clouds. Then we flew over my house and the Nolichuky Dam and finally over Viking Mountain! We look out at the mountain range from our house and can see Viking Mountain. It sits in the Bald Mountain Range in the Appalachian Mountains. Viking is the local’s name for Camp Creek Bald. It is 4,844 ft. in altitude. You can see forever from the top. There was a ski lodge there at one time, long gone now. There’s parking and a fire tower and some hiking trails up there. We went up when Bossman’s sisters were here recently and got fogged in. Couldn’t see the view but the atmosphere the fog gave off was really neat. Anyway, I wanted to share some photos from the flight. I live in such a lovely place!
The leaves are starting to change color on the mountains! Fall is in the air. My favorite time of year. It was such a treat today and I’m ready anytime he needs a co-pilot! Thanks for tagging along over my little piece of heaven!
Next on my pilot friends agenda is getting me to jump out of plane! Skydive of course. I’d like to. Hope I can get up the courage. It would be piggyback on an experienced diver so what could happen?! We only live once, right!
Like the British that brought and bought him, the African is an organic and indigenous part of Southern culture and it is high time that we all look at our shared history with a bit more honesty and calm, remembering it all, but choosing to reflect upon and celebrate that which has made the South like that bowl of chili that burns your mouth so, but that you cant stop eating.