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That Burns My Biscuits!

E.J. Smith
Greetings Elizabethton,
Are you trying to think of ways to entertain yourself and/or your family and friends?  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this can be a difficult task. No, I’m not giving you a list of things to do, just sharing some of my own experiences hoping it will help you to find new things to fight the boredom of staying home so much.
Yesterday at 8:30 a.m. my best friend Kim and I started out on a day trip, not sure what we were going to see, yet hopeful it would be worth the trip. We had researched and discussed several waterfall walks and many of them were just too much for two “older” women. A trail can be labeled “moderate”, but listen to this; it can mean much more than walking. It can be climbing up and down steep hills, some with steps and some without. Most of the time, the steps are built too tall for a short-legged person (me!). There may be rocks that one cannot climb down, up or around. Lots of times, the steep trails are too slick to navigate, at least for us older hikers/walkers. Some of them are just plain scary! And please do not take your dog unless you are able to control him at all times; a dog can make your walk harder. You need to concentrate on getting there and when I take my dog, he wants to pull the leash to get into everything he can. He never pulls when we are just out walking on our usual daily treks, it’s just that his excitement gets the best of him.
All that being said, we finally decided we would visit the Lamar Alexander (formerly Rocky Fork) State Park in Unicoi County since we had never been there before. This is a beautiful and very accessible park; the trail head is right there at the parking lot, so not much walking to get to the best of this park (in my opinion, cause the best is always the waterfalls). If you are out to see them, you are in luck on this trail! From start to finish the little creek tumbles down through the hills and over rocks and boulders that have to be seen to be believed. Our walk to the main waterfall was .7 of a mile, but it took us an hour to get there. I had to stop at every waterfall, tiny and grandiose, to snap photos of the water rushing down and all the unique plants and formations that are around them. We observed many wildflowers that had already bloomed, but still saw that they had been big and healthy. We will definitely go back in the spring to see the blooms!
Then there are the people you meet on the trails. Mostly, they will speak to you and even stop to talk about the area. After talking to some of them you may decide to turn around if the trail is deemed too rough for you.
It is truly a pleasure to see so many parents taking their kids out to learn about nature. We met a woman yesterday from Asheville that had her three children with her and they were having a great day! We also met two couples with a total of seven children, bet that was fun!
I  hope you will get out and enjoy nature as so many are doing. Wear sensible shoes. If you don’t have hiking boots, a sturdy pair of tennis shoes should do. Always remember to take your mask so you can put it on when you meet others. When you stop to talk, be sure to remember the 6 ft. rule. Take lots of water and some snacks, trust me, you will need them. And don’t forget your camera!
Take care, you are in my prayers,
E.J.