a couple of our neighbors hahah
My husband and I decided to pack a few clothes, a tent, sleeping cots, sleeping bags, hiking shoes, cast iron skillets, coffee pot and a cooler of food and go away for a few days as a late celebration my birthday and our wedding anniversary this week. The outdoors was calling. I always hate leaving the cabin alone and empty, but I tell her my plans and she understands.
Traveling and Camping
We had not camped in the Smoky Mountains (North Carolina) since our children were small. It was decided that this is the direction we would take. We had used many campsites in the Smokies in the past but feeling adventurous we chose a campground that we had never used before, Balsam Mountain. Balsam Mountain Campground is located in remote area of Great Smoky Mountains.
We like tent camping and Balsam Mountain Campground was perfect. The 46 campsites in the campground are better for tents rather than trailers or motorhomes. We were at an elevation of 5,335 ft. The cool air and breezes were a welcome treat from the 80-90 degree temperatures that we left behind at the cabin.
Setting up Camp
We arrived late Monday afternoon . We soon had everything set up to be home for several days. A short hike around the campground before dinner led us to cross paths with several of our “neighbors.” Short greetings and conversations brought forth feelings and energies of connecting with others of like minds. Others who love nature and the outdoors as much as we do.
Backpacking, biking, bird watching, fishing, hiking Historic Sites, horseback riding, photography, picnicking, stargazing, walking trails and wildlife viewing provided plenty for us to do. We were not looking to be tourist but did to choose to ride off the mountain one day to Cherokee, NC to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. ”
Oconaluftee (a Cherokee name meaning by the river) “is the name of a river valley in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, located in the Southeastern United States. Formerly the site of a Cherokee village and Appalachian community.” (Wikipedia). The visitor center also host the Mountain Farm Museum. The museum is an assortment of historic log buildings collected from throughout the Smoky Mountains and brought to the visitor center to be preserved on a single site. The buildings include a house, barn, apple house, springhouse, and smoke house, all structures that most farmers would have used on a daily basis in years past.
We walked the old farm grounds looking at the old, well used cabins, gardens, barns and out buildings portraying the life style of years past. My husband had grown up on a farm as a young boy and was quite familiar with these structures and their uses.
As we walked farther from the farm area we emerged on a trail that took us along the river. We began to follow the bugle of an elk hoping to catch sight of one of the huge magnificent animals. We were not disappointed.
On the trail we happened upon a sign that that told of Gunahita Asagya, which means Long Man. Jerry Wolfe, a Cherokee Elder told the following story of Gunahita Asagya. The river is the Long Man, with it’s head in the mountains and it’s feet in the sea with it’s body growing as it goes along.
Long Man was called upon for strength, for cleansing, for washing away sadness, and for ailments. The water was used in so many ways. The Cherokee had a lot of formulas and prayers that were said over the water.
When the Long Man needs more water, it begins to sing and sing and sing. That is when it is calling for the water, praying to the sky for water. Sure enough the song is heard and the rain begins to fall, filling the river with the water it had song for.
I have always loved the sound of running water and the cool feel of crystalline water flowing over my bare feet. It was a given that I removed my shoes and waded into the pebble laden river calling upon Long Man to fill me with the energies of the water that I stood in.
A hike led us to an opportunity that is rare for most. We were able to see, touch and photograph the wreckage of a small Cessna plane. The crash happened in the early 1980’s and the pilot and one lone passenger were killed.
To come upon the sight through a mist of fog left us feeling just a little eerie. The first energy I felt was the sadness. I could not help but wonder what were the thoughts of the two occupants of the plane when they realized they were crashing. What would my last thoughts have been if it had been me?
Although the occupants have been deceased for over three decades I prayed for peace for their souls if they had not yet obtained it. My heart and soul were touched with a feeling that I will never forget.
Each day we came back from our adventures tired, content and starved. It was difficult to wait patiently while the campfire gained momentum to heat the cast iron skillets to prepare our evening meals. The wait was always worth it. There is just something magickal about outdoor cooking. The food develops unique flavors that can not be gotten any other way.
You can’t have a campfire without roasting marshmallows. Well, technically you can, but who would want to miss such a sweet, creamy, delectable cloud of sweetness? Such a yummy dessert.
As the tent came down and the other items were packed away, we waved goodbye to our “neighbors” as they left the campsite for whatever adventures they had chosen for the day. Would we ever cross paths again? Hopefully.
Goodbyes were even said to the bumblebees and humming birds that had kept us entertained as they buzzed and hummed among the yellow and orange jewelweed flowers that circled our campsite.
Thursday on the ride home we talked of our adventures and wondered what were the stories of several of the campers sharing the mountaintop with us. There was the guy that was always barefoot and the friendly, smiling lady who camped alone at the back edge of the camp who always came out for a walk just before dusk.
I tell my husband I am going to become a story collector.
The cabin and I are happy to see each other. She looks over my shoulder as I type. We both sigh. I feel her warm, loving embrace.
See the Magick…Feel the Magick…Experience the Magick
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