We were invited to join friends who were being escorted onto private property to get a bird's eye view of our mountain valley. There are an astonishing number of back roads & cattle paths that really....only the locals know about and are free to access. Newbies like us wouldn't even know who to ask for permission....and would likely be turned down if we did.
Here's our guide....Frank.....who was born and raised here. He talked nonstop on our 2+ hr. venture. He knew EVERYONE....and knew something ABOUT everyone. He told tales about other ''fellas, youngin's, murderers, moonshiners, relatives, mountain musicians"....I wish I'd have had a tape recorder. The stories about his family, memories of his youth and wonderful ones of his Mother who was a nurse and delivered babies in the most remote locations here where 'folks' lived in tiny wooden structures up in the 'hollers' without insulation and only a wood stove to keep them warm were eye opening. It was clear for the most part, these folks were all very hard working people who loved their mountain life.
This is where we are headed.....to the top of the 'bald'.....a term for areas at the top of mountains that have no trees.
We hiked through huge cattle pastures....many farmers have already moved their stock down to lower pastures for the winter....but these remained.
Our valley is called Crabtree.......and of course you'll find apple trees everywhere. The cattle love to hang out under them......and eat the apples as they fall.
We are nearly to the top after about an hour of walking switch back paths. The small out building was no longer in use....... You can't imagine how inaccessible this is.....
This view may give you a better idea of just how step and high we were.... We learned so much from Frank and have been promised more adventures if we are up to it.....and we definitely are....this was a fascinating day!