Not all Those Who Wander...

Not all those who wander are lost. 
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973); Writer, Poet, Philologist, University Professor

I inherited my wanderlust tendencies from my father. I consider it to be one of the greatest attributes he has given me. I am rarely content to be stuck indoors -- be it work, school, or at home. After a while I have to get out and get into nature. Living in East Tennessee, that often means heading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or one of many state or local parks. But really, any road or path that piques my curiosity will do as long as I am exploring.

Daddy used to call it "getting lost."  He'd pile all us kids into our big Plymouth station wagon and say, "Let's go get lost." Translated, this means let's go to an area that we sort of know, drive down roads we've never been on before, and see what we can discover. We rarely ever got truly lost, but we saw things we might have missed had we opted to not go down the road less traveled. Those expeditions are among my favorite childhood memories.

Norris Dam State Park, Norris TN
Copyright 2012 Kristina Plaas, All Rights Reserved
 
For the last year or so I've been following in Daddy's footsteps. One by one, I am exploring the nooks and crannies of the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains. I am filled with wonder at every turn -- trees, sky, rocky cliffs, waterfalls, wildflowers, weathered barns, rusted out old buildings, cattle, cornfields -- it's all a delight to me. It speaks to the soul of the place I call home. The mountains, rounded with age, the musical language of the local folks who know what struggle really means, the quirky names given to the roads, hills, and hollers. How can one not smile to pass a dilapidated blue mobile home on Prosperity Lane? How can one not want to drive up a narrow path called Way Up Yonder Road? There is always another Pisgah or Balsam mountain, another Laurel Fork or Clear Creek to explore around here. You don't need a GPS unit, though a map is useful. I can't really get lost, only fascinated for a few hours. Time to go wandering!
Sherrill Cove Tunnel, Blue Ridge Parkway
Copyright 2012 Kristina Plaas, All Rights Reserved 

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