Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cades Cove Weekend

Black Betty and I are home from a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend camping trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I figured that the crowds would be gone (they were) and the camping would be sweet. It was a rare opportunity to enjoy the Cove without having to experience the horrible traffic-choked nightmare that the loop has become during peak season. The campground was also sparsely populated, creating a quiet and peaceful campsite.

We awoke to heavy frosts on Saturday and Sunday mornings with temps in the 20's. The little pop-up was pretty chilly, the only warm place around was deep inside our sleeping bags. It made for some great camp fire time, though.  The stars were spectacular in the night sky and I was treated to a couple of the quietest nights that I've experienced since my AT hike. What a great setting to enjoy eating our Thanksgiving left-overs in. Mmmm pie!

Black Betty told me that it was all worth it (speaking of the cold) as we watched 2 bear cubs and their momma dig for grubs while they sauntered through the  chilly woods on Sunday morning. She was right!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wallace Branch Hike

It's all honey thick sweetness living in southern Appalachia when it comes to hometown hiking.
The Wallace Branch trail head of the Bartram Trail is a short couple miles away from my front door.
Eleven miles up the Bartram is Wayah Bald on the Appalachian Trail. At that point, if I turn and 
follow the white blazes north, I will end on top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine in roughly  two thousand and fifty miles. 
It can be a constant temptation, believe me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

7 Walkers

7 Walkers walking in the sky 
 7 Walkers watching from on high
7 Walkers offer their protection
           7 Walkers looking down from heaven    
-Robert Hunter        

The new 7 Walkers CD is finally released today.  After seeing 7 Walkers (Bill Kreutzmann, Papa Mali, George Porter Jr. and Matt Hubbard with Robert Hunter penned songs) at MagnoliaFest and streaming them on Internet Archive, I am more than excited about hearing the studio album.  You should be too! 
Besides, how could a guy with a blog name like Hometown Hiker not appreciate a band called 7 Walkers?

Here is a superb review from Dennis Cook on JamBase:
7 Walkers (arriving November 2 on Response Records) is the most organic, original music to come out of the core Grateful Dead alumni since the passing of Jerry Garcia. It's worth getting right down to brass tacks since 7 Walkers goes for the creative jugular in such a lusty, exuberant manner. With richly imaginative lyrics penned by Dead scribe Robert Hunter, the band is comprised of percussion master Bill Kreutzmann, psychedelic blues rock marvel Papa Mali, New Orleans funk pioneer George Porter, Jr. and multi-instrumentalist & longtime Willie Nelson collaborator Matt Hubbard. Even on paper this quartet is lethal, but that's nothing compared to the roiling energy when they come together in the flesh. With their collective pedigree, there's an enormous pool of possibilities and their self-titled debut reflects all their swirling undercurrents AND coalesces into fascinating new shapes, fresh colors forming on the surface of things as dark, interesting eddies move below. Put another way, there's something powerful and primal and beautiful going on in the music of 7 Walkers.  Read entire article here.