Waterfalls Old Homesteads and Fun Stuff


Here are a variety of pics from some exploring the few days enjoy!

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Urban Hiking can produce some cool shots–under the Nrtherland Inn rd bridge Kingsport TN

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The way the rocks are naturally stacked and the water falling made a perfect zen moment

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Me at one of the settler buildings brought to the park–Laurel Run Park Church Hill TN

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Cooling off and enjoying the waterfall

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Mountain Laurel after which the park and stream are named–can you spot the butterfly?

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Close up of the Laurel Run Falls

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This tree was so huge and cool you can also see an old homestead behind it.

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this would have been nice in its day a porch and 2 fireplaces

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trail friend

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Evening Drive Camping Sunrise Hike


So I went for a drive before camping the other evening and found 2 cool old buildings. The Acuf Chapel 1786 first Methodist Episcopal Church in Tennessee and a barn with an old sign on the side:

The next shots are the morning shot from my tent what an awesome way to wake up with the sun and the birds singing -my shots of the trail the morning light thru the trees was amazing and a random turtle because why not.

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Met this dude on the hike said his trail name was “smokey” he was cool but all he wanted to talk about was how only I could prevent forest fires which seemed like an awful lot of pressure I mean every should do their part

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Settlers Musuem and Alvarado Station


So with my ankle injury still not up to carrying my full pack for hiking on the appalachian trail I decided to do some light hiking and visit some historic sites around Atkins and Damascus Virginia. First up is the Settlers Museum near Atkins. This is a must see it is a preserved 1890’s farmstead still on 67 of the orginal 275 acres it was in 1897. The buildings have been preserved but not restored so it is in an amazing state as it was then. There are a dozen or more buildings with many farm implements and tools to see and the house is completely furnished as it was then. I took some pictures of the grounds and inside the house but left out a lot so you can have some surprises when you visit.

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1890’s farmhouse they built the frame house around the log cabin they first lived in

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you can drive or walk less than a mile from the visitors center to the farmstead its a beautiful walk when the dogwoods are blooming

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every room is wonderfully furnished I only took a pic of a few

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The Appalachian Trail runs by the grounds next to the 1894 school which allowed to hike a 5.6 mile section I missed and meet hikers resting at the schoolhouse which was cool.

After that was a visit to the old Alvarado station on the virginia creeper trail and some pics of old churches I saw on the way.

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methodist church outside marion virginia

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side view to show bell tower

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presbyterian church 7 mile ford

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Quarter Way Inn and Northward


So I started and ended my next two days of hiking at the Quarter Way Inn in Virginia. This place is amazing. Tina (thru hiker class 2009) is the a super host and staying in a house built in 1910 was so cool. They also have the most amazing breakfast you will ever eat and for some reason I forgot to take a picture of it but here are some pictures of the hostel and grounds.

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the house was built in 1910 the land grant goes back to 1799

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This planter cracked me up it looks like how hiker feet feel.

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The cemetary across the road has graves dating back to 1802

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crepe myrtle in purple beneath the shadow of a huge sycamore hard to see in the pic but it is huge

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view from the back deck is amazing in the back ground the blue ridge is chestnut knob where the trail runs

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The hike out was one of the prettiest on the trail with views of farmland and rolling waves of mountains and a river crossing by an old mill.

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start of the trail up and over the fence style and up the hill

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trail across the meadow

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pretty and open views

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trail marks across open ground 

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old mill north fork of the holston river in virginia

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knot maul shelter

100+ miles of the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper Trails


So I started my Hiking season this year with plan to do a section of the Appalachian Trail and nearby connecting trails starting in Tennessee and heading up thru Virginia. Its been a wonderful experience so far I have enjoyed the beauty of the trail, hearing coyotes and screech owls, and seeing deer, and the wild ponies in Grayson Highlands State Park. I have enjoyed overcoming the physical and mental challenges of the trail and finding that I could accomplish and push myself far more than I ever thought. I have really been thrilled by how close knit the hiking community is and how we all look after and encourage each other and meeting people from all over the USA as well as Germany, France, England, Scotland, and Canada. Below are some photos from the first hundred miles. First is overlooking Watagua lake from the AT one of the prettiest views I had on the trail was sunrise from high above the lake. Fog completely covered the lake below but along the shore you could see the lights from the marinas along the shore it was a magical moment.

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Watagua lake seen from the AT

Next is Damascus Virginia and shots from along the Virginia Creeper Rails to Trails Hiking Path (the virginia creeper is a flowering vine but the trail takes its name from the railroad because it took so long for the train to creep over the mountains from North Carolina it was named the virginia creeper) The trail runs 34 miles from Abingdon to Mt Rogers Station in Virginia. I hiked mostly between Damascus and Mt Rogers Station. The trail is amazingly beautiful running alongside Laurel Creek and crossing it numerous times on the old railroad trestles. It is wooded at first then gives way to more open farmland and has some historic stations one is converted to a great cafe and the other at Green Cove Station is a museum.

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The next few scenes are from the hike up and over White Top Mountain which I did on a windy cold and foggy day it was surreal and an amazing experience camping at the top at over 5000 feet and waking to a clear sunrise after hearing the coyotes howling in the night:

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Greeting the sun outside my wenzel tent

The next section covers from Grayson Highlands State Park to Atkins Virginia

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started out cold at Grayson Highlands State Park

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view makes you feel as if you are hiking on the roof of the world or at least virginia

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thank you fellow hiker “sunrise” for taking this photo

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wild ponies in the park

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highest mt in the background is whitetop where i camped days before

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comers creek falls virginia

had to get off trail for a few days to nurse an injured ankle following are pics from Laurel Run Park in Churchhill tennessee where i did a test hike to make sure am ready to get back on trail beautiful park with views waterfalls

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Waterfall & Walking Trails


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Above is the Watauga River behind Wilson Dam. It was a perfect spot and scene that just says peaceful. It was taken in May near Elizabethton TN in the Wilson and Watauga Dam Recreation Areas. Nice picnic and fishing areas where the Appalachian Trail crosses Wilbur Dam Road. There is a unique little waterfall as Little Laurel Creek (not to be confused with Laurel Run Falls that I wrote about last week) pours into the lake.

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The scenery is beautiful and makes for a great day to take a short drive through the area on a pretty road that follows the river

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If your in the mood for a longer hike you can hop on the AT and walk as long as you want just keep an eye out for bears in the area (the sign was put up after a bear went into a occupied tent the occupant was fine the bear was removed it had some sort of illness injury)

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