Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cucumber Gap Loop - the Jenkins' Experience

Family hike #1 for 2008. Ok, most-of-the-family hike #1. Well, HALF-of-the-family hike #1, if you must be literal.

September 21, 2008.

Yes, I look like a man. And that's my favorite (and only) Nick Lowe tee (in a man's size large, coinkydinkly). My hand is on the Cucumber Gap trail sign, and it reads 2.9 miles to the Little River Trail. Our total mileage for the day was approximately 5.5 miles, and those are the last miles I will hike in those ragged out shoes!

I have a hard time letting go of favorite shoes.

So, it was a not-quite-summer, not-yet-fall kind of Sunday. My husband, being the optimist that he is, told me it would take us 'most of the day' to do this hike. And then he mentioned that this was the trail where a woman was mauled to death a few years ago. As if I wasn't already having enough trouble getting the kids in the van. Seriously, that little sign on the bottom there warns that there has been a lot of BEAR ACTIVITY in the area, a phrase more suited to a Great Smokies' bear jam perhaps.

So, we found a whistle, packed some sandwiches and headed out in the great outdoors. I was a little nervous, because this was my first time as a "hike leader" and I had never been on this trail and what if I missed the signs? Nothing to worry about, it turns out. Starting on the Little River Trail, we walked out of what's left of the Elkmont community alongside the Little River (I assume), a very gentle hike along an old road bed. At approximately 2.5 miles, the trail deadended and the Cucumber Gap trail (with great signage!) took off to the right up and over the mountain that shall not be named. I need a better map. This was a quieter hike (no babbly brook alongside), and a little harder walking. Nothing much to see except trees, until you pop out on the trail/road that is the Jakes Creek trail. Down, down, down the hill (so glad I plotted this loop the right way) and back through the upper remains of Elkmont, where they are (at last) doing some restoration work. The only wildlife we saw, with the exception of dead millipedes, were a few tiny snakes, maybe 4 inches long and dark gray with a white ring around their necks. Most were run over, but one was playing possum and we exchanged startlings.

A nice afternoon.

And then I went and walked 2 more miles with the husband!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good News for Peace Queers!

Todd Snider's new ep, Peace Queer, is available as a free download here.

I've been listening to it quite a bit. It's got a little of everything: a toe tapper, a civil war ballad, some spoken word, an instrumental, a rocker. Best of all, it's full of Mr. Snider's signature good humor and intelligence.

I did not do this to change your mind about anything. I did this to ease my own mind about everything.

At least, go hence and read the Cokie Roberts bio for Peace Queer.

And anybody know how to snag that priceless photo?

is this thing working?

is this thing on?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sad About Girls Signs

I know I live in a predominantly Republican county, in a predominantly Republican state. I *know* this. But as God is my witness, no matter how tempted I was (remember those "W The President" stickers? they enrage me), I have never resorted to vandalizing political signs. I gave some deep thought to doing something Christo-esque with them all during the last presidential election, but I let restraint be the better part of valor.

So how come all these Republican idjit punks keep messing with my boy Obama's signs? Some brave Democrat soul had put 2 up: one down by the voting machine warehouse where early voting is happening, one on the roadside near the dumpsters on Newport Highway. You'd think the warehouse one would be vandal proof, being almost in the center of town and on a very busy roadway. No. Someone, who obviously wants to prove the Deliverance stereotypes true, cut out the O. And the one down by the dumpsters? First another poster boy for modern dentistry put an "s" over the "b." You know, because he's a Muslim terrorist. That brave Democrat got his own can of spray paint and fixed that. So how does our poster boy react? He cuts out the center of the sign. There's a big gaping hole where Obama/Biden used to be. That kind of vandalism takes time. I'd say the chances of some person driving by and witnessing the deed were 50-50. Did anybody report it? No.

My fellow Sevier Countians, these cowardly acts of vandalism shame us all. I truly thought we could be tolerant of differing political views, at least in public. We don't have to agree with each other, we don't have to hold hands at the polls. But we do have to share the vistas and roadways and the aisles at Walmart. We're all in this together. I'd feel justified (by the Kindergarten Code, of course), in artfully re-decorating a few McCain-Palin signs. McPain, anyone? But I'm holding back. At least for now.

But like I tell the younguns, don't make me stop this car.