Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cherohala Skyway

Winding up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descending another 21 miles into the deeply forested backcountry of Tennessee, the Cherohala Skyway crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name "Chero...hala"... 36 miles of road, built with 100 million dollars of taxpayers' money. It was estimated that 5 million cars a year would use the skyway. In reality, only about 20 cars and 100 motorcycles a day enjoy the winding, mile high beauty of this unique byway . . . so come on up, drive the skykway, enjoy the area's sights, and get some use from your hard earned taxpayer dollars!!

Near the skyway's midpoint, we found Indian Boundary Campground - a nice place to have an up close lake experience. With the rear window open at night, the gentle lapping of the waves on the rocks made it sound as though we were sleeping aboard a boat!

An easy day trip from the campground took us to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Born in 1886 in New Brunswick, NJ, Kilmer was a soldier with the 165th Infantry Rainbow Division, killed in action in France during WWI in 1918. A poet, he is best known for his poem:


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

The forest has a steep, winding trail that takes the wanderer high up through lush vegetation where you can savor the sights and smells of a virgin forest. Along the way, you'll cross streams;

Delight at a community of mushrooms growing on a moss covered log;

Wonder why this lone "shroom" took up residence on the side of a tree;

And lean against the most humongous Poplar you can ever imagine.

The Cherohala Skyway. Visit it sometime, relax . . .


Gayle said...

Don't nibble on those mushrooms....

Happy Trails said...

You look like a little gnome next to that tree and with all those mushrooms around you! Tell Oscar hi from ScottyBoy and DoogieBowser!