Wednesday, May 22, 2013

# 45:
After spending about three weeks in the beautiful countryside near Asheville, North Carolina, we are once more on the road, right now in Columbus, Ohio.  The visit to North Carolina was so enjoyable and fulfilling that it was difficult to select only a few photographs to include in this posting.  While there we drove the Cherohala Skyway; explored the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (I was there last fall but it is naturally different in the spring); spent two nights in a delightful Motel in Townsend, Tennessee; went partway along the Abrams Falls trail; drove through Cades Cove and hiked the Huskey Gap trail.  Then it was time to move northward.  On the way we parked two nights in Berea, Kentucky, which appeared to be a delightful town with an extensive artist colony, but we had little time to explore it before moving on.

The contemplation of nature does logically point in the direction of intelligent guidance, even living supervision, but it does not in any satisfactory manner reveal a personal God. On the other hand, nature discloses nothing which would preclude the universe from being looked upon as the handiwork of the God of religion. God cannot be found through nature alone, but man having otherwise found him, the study of nature becomes wholly consistent with a higher and more spiritual interpretation of the universe.” The Urantia Book (1107.1) (101:2.11)

After leaving South Carolina we parked in the Winngray Campground, which is near Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  We took time from our exploring to visit the lively study group in Asheville.  Each time I have visited this group is has been well attended, this time there were fifteen!  We read Paper 113, “Seraphic Guardians of Destiny” and part of the next paper, “Seraphic Planetary Government.”  I also read “The Pronouncement,” which is my restatement of the gospel of Jesus directed at non-students of the Urantia Book; this will shortly be available in booklet form.  After the meeting we adjourned to nearby Asheville Pizza and Brewing for a lively post meeting fellowship.

                                  Campsite at Mile High Campground

On one of our excursions in “The Monster” (Ford F350 dually) we drove toward Balsam Mountain but were turned back by a barricade, that road was closed because of our politician’s bickering over priorities.  Nearby was a sign indicating a campground so we followed the road and found the “Mile High Campground,” which was being readied for opening.  This would be a bit too primitive and confining for my “house on wheels” (36’ fifth wheel called Wyoming or Wy), but it could be an interesting experience for those who seek a more rustic environment.  Yes, this campsite does drop straight down at the edge.

                              Millipede (Apheloria virginiensis) along Abrams Falls Trail

We left Wy in the campground and went on a three-day jaunt into the North Carolina mountains.  The first night was at Robbinsville but before turning in we walked the trails in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forrest that was set aside in recognition of his poem “Trees” and we drove part of the Cherohala Skyway, a road that goes over the mountains and into Tennessee. 

The next day we drove to Townsend, but on the way we wanted to hike the trail to Abrams Falls from the campground.  After missing the Happy Valley Road we stopped for directions at a biker shop and were properly directed.  Walking the trails in these woods is truly a delight; spring was just making its appearance and the many shades of green on the trees and bushes was refreshing.  There were many little critters crossing the trail and we needed care not to molest them as we tromped past; this millipede was particularly photogenic.  We had lunch on the trail but were not able to go all the way to the falls; it had been a full day and it was time to seek beds, I am not certain my bones could appreciate sleeping in the wild.

After our hike we took the Foothills Parkway into Townsend and found the Riverstone Lodge where we had a delightful room and were able to sit on the balcony and watch Robbins feeding their young in a nearby nest.  This Motel even had a three-piece band playing next to the campfire each night we were there. 

                                           Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church

One day we drove to Cades Cove, which is a pleasant drive when the tourists are not in season.  Along the loop road are a Primitive Baptist Church, a Methodist Church and a Missionary Baptist Church as listed on the web site.  Also along the road are fields, woods and wildlife; on our visit we saw a male Turkey, a mother Black Bear with three cubs, a Salamander, a doe hiding in the grass, numerous butterflies and one snake.

                                                           John P. Cable Mill

Just before we came to the mill there was an open field with a mother black bear and three cubs running toward the woods; we naturally parked in the middle of the road so I could grab a photo.  At the nearby parking area was the mill as well as the Becky Cable House, which was built in 1879 and was the first frame house built in Cades Cove; the house was moved to its present location after she passed on in 1940 at the age of 94.  The John P. Cable Mill has been restored and was in operation grinding corn.  One reason I find this place interesting is that I had an uncle John Cable, no relation.  My own branch of the Cable family settled in Northwestern Pennsylvania, at a place called Cable Hollow, which is now nothing more than a golf course.

                                                      Huskey Gap Trail

The next day we left Townsend and drove through Gatlinburg, where we had lunch, then it was on to US 441 south through the Smokies.  We parked and walked up the Huskey Gap Trail, which goes about two miles up to the gap where it met other trails.  Again, it was refreshing to be out into the woods enjoying the springtime flowers and foliage.  One of the more interesting plants was Squaw Root, which is a parasitic plant that was poking through the leaf litter, it has fresh pale yellow stalks with lots of little arms sticking out on all sides.

It is time to move on again; next time there will be a description of the study group meeting we hosted last night as well as further adventures.

“[T]rue religion is a living love, a life of service. The religionist’s detachment from much that is purely temporal and trivial never leads to social isolation, and it should not destroy the sense of humor. Genuine religion takes nothing away from human existence, but it does add new meanings to all of life; it generates new types of enthusiasm, zeal, and courage.”  The Urantia Book (1100.7) (100:6.5)