Appalachia Christmas

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Christmas Tree At Juneywank

Anonymously decorated Christmas tree in the Smoky Mountain National Park-near Deep Creek in Swain County NC.

Don Casada recently shared a photo (see above) and a story with me-that I just had to share with you:

Something which fits in with the season…when Susan and I went up Juneywhank, she spotted a decorated Christmas tree!! It is a short ways up above the falls. When I went back by there this past Friday, I took an old washtub over to lean up against the base so that it would be more easily spotted. I really ought to go back and put a note in the ziploc bag that whoever decorated the tree had attached with “Merry Christmas” written on it. I thought this was really cool.

I thought it was really cool too-and ever since Don shared the photo and the story with me, I’ve had the urge to go up in the woods and decorate my own tree. My first thought about the reason for the tree was: the person decorated it with the birds in mind.

But maybe not-maybe they were just feeling the Christmas Spirit that can be found in the hearts and minds of people this time of the year.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Tipper–In response to Granny Sue’s question about how Juneywhank Branch got its name, no one knows for sure. Among the prevailing theories are that it is a rendition from the Cherokee for a place the bear crosses; a second suggests it was the name of an Indian who lived in the area; and I have heard suggestions it is a corruption of the name of the great Indian chief, Junaluska. I have serious doubts about the validity of the latter.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    December 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I really liked this. Thanks for posting it.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    What a great idea! Just might have to go out sometime soon with the family and spread some Christmas spirit.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    December 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    aww tipper that is so beautiful .. i love things like this.. even the little animals of the forest deserve a present 🙂
    xoxo happy holidays and lots of love to you and yours at the blind pig home..

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    December 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    A first for me too and a good idea for the birds.. Post a pic if you do one.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    This is a great idea! I think I will plan to do something similar on one of my hikes next year. If I do one, I will share a picture.

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    This Christmas tree matches nature’s beauty perfectly. Years ago, when I was still a child, I decorated a Christmas tree anonymously, in a forest up in the mountains of Troodos while on holiday with my family. We weren’t allowed to cut down Christmas trees then, as there are few in Cyprus. So I thought I’d decorate it as it stood there in the middle of the forest. Well, the snow that fell the following day completely spoilt my decorations!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hope they put something for the birds to eat on it. Haven ‘t heard of anyone around here doing this, but seems like a good idea.

  • Reply
    grandpa Ken
    December 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Merry Christmas
    from all of us to the Blind Pig and Acorn Gang.
    Love You all.
    grandpa Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    December 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Tipper: Wonderful idea for making the birds and hikers delighted they did a ‘fly by’ in the Smokies!
    We are still remembering with great pleasure OUR FIRST ATTENDANCE to a BLIND PIG & ACORN performance at the Folk School! I have located several ‘fiddlers’ in the area who have agreed to give me an interview. I simply can’t wait to set a date to record their recollections of making music with U. Johnny.
    Enjoy this raining Sunday!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I love this idea! I too may have to go out there and decorate a tree in the woods:)

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    December 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

    What a neat idea; you might be right that this was done for the birds, but what a nice surprise t find in the woods. Now, please tell us how Juneywhank got its name 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

    My grandchildren make seed crusted pine cones for their outdoor tree every year.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I wonder if it was someone with some attachment to the land, family attachment. It’s interesting isn’t it?
    I used to go to Edisto Island SC on Christmas day and stay through New Years. On the way on to the island after crossing the bridge there was a swamp off to the right. In the middle of the swamp was the dead remains of a tree. Every year it was decorated for Christmas. I don’t know how in the world anyone got to it to decorate it but decorate it they did. It was a very curious and thought provoking thing to see. Kind of like a Christmas decorated tree in the woods in Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Tipper–Although you know it, I’ll add for your readers that Juneywhank Branch, which lies in today’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, holds a special place in the heart of Don and the rest of the Casada family. It was on the headwaters of this little mountain branch that our father spent the most meaningful and memorable years of his boyhood. Although I’m sure that the individual who decorated this white pine had no idea of the fact, I’m going to take it as a tribute to Dad’s memory. I’ll guarantee that a similar thought passed through Don’s mind.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 8:08 am

    That was a great discovery. Perhaps, it is someone’s private place that makes them feel special. I think I might just do one of them for my little forest of trees. I just love this time of the year.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

    what a wonderful thing to come across like that. I, too, immediately thought it was “for the birds” as you did.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    December 16, 2012 at 7:47 am

    For the birds, for the beasts,
    For persons who wander the woods,
    For any eyes that see the tree,
    For the Savior born in Bethlehem
    So long ago;
    The tree reaches branches,
    A living, growing testament
    To life abundant, life so free.
    Deep within its heart
    This lesson of life
    For you and me.
    A joyous Christmas!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2012 at 7:08 am

    this is a first for me and a great idea. let us know if you do one please. Merry Christmas, i am loving Good Christian men right now. beautiful.

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