Still thinking of Cheoah Bald. Last week’s hike tickled memories of my first time in 1973. The trail in those days was rocky and eroded — shooting straight and steep up mountainsides, requiring climbers to grab trees to pull themselves up. Now Cheoah trails are graded forest service paths which slab around ridges and switchback to eliminate steep grades. We hikers should thank trail planners, builders and maintainers for such amazing feats. Maybe they should thank hikers for making it all necessary. When my character, Blue Devil, climbed Cheoah in THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story, he wrote in his journal: “I reached Cheoah peak and breathed deep, deeper than my lungs had ever held, pulling all the pure alpine air into my chest to nourish my heart and my brain and my soul, expunging my bad behavior and exhaling out all the dumb things I’ve ever done in one glorious moment of young black male fervor.”
2 thoughts on “Blue Devil’s Redemption on Cheoah”
I can suggest another 2014 trail history I am reading now: “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.”by Ben Montgomery (Chicago Review Press).. Tell them about Emma Gatewood, Richard. Why did she hike the trail? She said, among other reasons, “Because I wanted to.”
I have the Grandma Gatewood book in hand and plan to read it soon. The author, Ben Montgomery, will visit the Len Foote Hike Inn very soon and speak after dinner about the book and its subject.