Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8

FROM THE EDITOR

Small Gifts of the Forest
It's partly the context of not-much-else-around that allows
you to appreciate the tiny-things bounty of a good walk in
the woods.
by Kurt Rheinheimer
Much of the magic of the hike is, of course, the lure of the
hundred tiny details that in other, non-walking, nonforest contexts, would likely not be attended to: the
call of the cardinal, the lay of the moss, the squawroot poking through the floor near the oak, the look
of those endless ridges on a clear day, watching that
shower come across the valley toward your summitperch lunch spot, and on and on.
There was a new one a few weeks back for The Day
Hiker and me, on the loop at Harkening Hill near Peaks
of Otter along the Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. This
was a nearly clear, hot summer day, and we took nothing along for the possibility of a shower-a mistake we
make too often, but with projected percentages of zero,
5 and 10 for the day, one that we didn't seem to be
making on that day.
Near the end of the climb of the 3,371-foot peak-the
shortest of the three distinctive peaks at the Peaks-
as we were talking to (well, listening to) an older European man we crossed on the trail and who seemed
magically unaffected by the heat in his clean, pressed
white shirt, there came a deep and sustained rumble of
thunder. The old man stopped his monologue (on the
topics of this particular forest as well as one in Pennsylvania), to say that the call of the sky was not for him,
and he hoped not for us.
A few moments later, the shower rolled in from the
south, with more thunder and the high-in-the-leaves
sound of rain.
We walked the mile or so between those first drops
8 BlueRidgeCountry.com

and the open land of the Johnson Farm under that
sound-a mild to moderate shower that did not slow
as we walked. And in a proof of canopy we'd never experienced before, the leaves-beginning at completely
dry and holding what each could before surrendering
drops below to the next and then the next and the
next-kept us almost completely dry as we walked.
And well, if you asked The Day Hiker about trail
magic on that day, yes, she'd mention the tree protection, but also another aspect, which is more particular
to where we were walking: Our lunches, usually carried
on our backs with the (also magic) Ice Mule bag, are
fairly rudimentary, and taken on a rock.
Which is a good and enjoyable thing, of course, but
in the view of The Day Hiker, not as enjoyable after all
these years of rock-top salads and crackers and such
as sitting at a table looking out on a lake as the kindly
Delaware North staff brings you a bottle of wine and a
pretty good hot lunch.
And in fact, on the day of the leaf umbrella, the
Peaks of Otter Lodge did seem to offer a bit of minor,
only-in-context magic as well: The sound from the
nearby room brought traditional songs softly into our
lunch, sung by a woman accompanying herself on an
autoharp. Rebecca Bryant sounds, at least from the
other room, like the ghost of John Denver.
Plus the other-era lodge dining and lobby area itself,
full of mostly friendly other-era people can transport you
to simpler times and simpler things. Like the tall trees of
the forest keeping you dry under a summer shower. 


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 23
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 35
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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