Saturday, December 20, 2008

Home in the Blue Ridge Mts

I've been traveling a lot these past few weeks with intermittent internet access -- in the United States. It feels a bit odd since one would think the US would have very good internet access, but my parents, for instance, live way out in the country in North Carolina -- and rely on a very slow dial-up connection. I have to drive five miles to a cafe in the town of Marshall to get wi-fi.

It's great to be home to visit with family and friends and re-acquaint myself with those wonderful Blue Ridge Mountains. I've been able to do two hikes since getting back -- both were fantastic and familiar trails. One hike was through a sprinkling of snow and fog -- it was refreshing to feel cold air again -- after heat and humidity in Timor Leste.

The hike was about four or five miles each way from US 25-70 near Hot Springs, NC to the top of Rich Mountain. The view was spectacular -- even through the fog. The sun made its way through the dark clouds -- spreading light across some of the mountain peaks.

I could see all the way into Tennessee from the top of the old fire tower -- whose wooden steps creaked as I climbed up. The temperature, with the wind-chill must have been around zero or even a bit lower. It was truly exhilarating!