Appalachia COVID-19

Finding Solace on High Ridges

a man and two girls standing on a high mountain ridge

Last Sunday I decided I wanted to go to the flat on the ridge behind our house. I announced my intentions and lickety split I had three fellow hikers.

The short trip up to the top of the ridge got hijacked about the time we left the yard and we ended up staying gone much longer than I had planned.

yellow violet

trailing arbutus

Nature’s spring beauties were out to catch our eyes as we tromped through dappled woods.

Pretty yellow violets popped out at me and trailing arbutus tickled my nose with its sweet scent.

girls looking for frog eggs

We’ve been up the creek more than usual in the last several weeks and every trip we’ve stopped at a wet weather spring to see if we see any frog eggs.

I can remember years when the spring was totally dry or barely wet, but for the last few years its been so wet it’s formed a small pond of water before going on off in the woods towards the creek.

water snake

The whole troop passed this guy up. I noticed him as I trailed behind the others. The snake was slow moving, in fact we thought he was dead for a few minutes.

finding lightered wood

The Deer Hunter is always on the lookout for rich pine. He found a few pieces to bring home on our trip.

This time of the year moss will really catch your eye as you look through the still leafless trees. Chatter and I thought about laying down on this patch and taking a quick nap 🙂

girls hand holding old pieces of glass

We searched for and found evidence from those who walked before us.


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A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

There’s three videos above-to watch the next one click on the small round arrow in the middle of the right side of the video.

We stopped near the end of our journey and built a small fire to warm around before making the trek back home. If I’d known we would have been gone so long I would have taken a snack to share around the flames.

I’ve always been drawn to high ridges when I find myself troubled and need to find a bit of peace.

For generations folks who lived in Appalachia built their homes in the coves and hollers where they were sheltered from the wind and the weather, where they were closer to the settlements and closer to water. Yet, they too were drawn to those high ridge tops. Whether it was to hunt or to catch a moment’s peace they carved out trails that led to the sloping flats found on top of mountains that are steep as a mule’s face.


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  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    January 6, 2021 at 9:26 am

    “My heart is in the highlands, my heart is not here / My heart is in the highlands, a-chasing the deer, / A-chasing the wild deer and following the roe / My heart is in the highlands, wherever I go.” – Robert Burns

    There is something about the mountains that just makes my heart happy. I love the beach, but I need the mountains like lungs need air. Would love to join you on a hike one day!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing your world!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Its so nice to walk in the woods and enjoy what God and nature has given us. The beauty of all of it is amazing. I dont like one of them a d that is the snakes. Hate all them. Thank for the walk Tipper.

  • Reply
    Glenna Smith
    March 27, 2020 at 2:43 am

    I love reading about where you live and it makes me miss the calm peaceful beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains where I used to spend my summers. I haven’t been back in almost three years. I live in a beautiful part of Florida, but all the beaches and parks are closed and it makes me miss the mountains even more. I pray this virus will. be over before the country is hurt anymore than is already has been. We all need to pray.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    March 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Tipper, so many things you post sends me off on tangents. Got me to thinking about a rough hike I made several years ago. A farm my Great Great Grandfather owned many years before, which is now owned by Cousins, Has a huge rock on top the ridge. I would guess the rock is over 1/10 mile long and it has several rock houses. The rock is called Arch Rock after my Great Great Grandfather whose name was Archibald. He came to Elliot Co. KY. from VA. Not sure of date. Well anyways he lived in one of those rock shelters until he built a cabin.
    Now that I have thought about that hike for a few minutes I was actually grouse hunting and looking for places that would have been big enough to shelter in. I’ve taken grouse and turkey off this place, but I hope to take my Grandson on a hike sometime to that rock and show him where his Great Great Great Great Grandfather Griffith first lived in KY.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 26, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Your fire brought back some wonderful memories of my youthful opening day of Trout Season. It was an unwritten law with my Dad that we had to open the season irregardless of how cold it was. We would take a frying pan, a can of Spam and a dozen free range eggs and when we would get to cold to fish we would build a small fire like yours’ and cook a Spam Omelet and toast some bread over some green sticks. This with a small pot of coffee was wonderful cuisine. I can still smell the smoke and taste the smoke flavor. I don’t know why, but it seems the opening day of Trout Season was always cold, I have thawed ice out of my rod eyes almost every day I can remember even though it was the first Saturday in April and we already had our potatoes planted as Dad insisted they had to be in the ground by the middle of March.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    There is a mountain expression “hit the woods” which to the unknowing would seem to relate to hiking in the woods but has an entirely different meaning. But, it does afford a sense of relief to the mind, body and soul as do hiking and climbing and often applies itself during and after the same.
    “cut a trail” is another such phrase whose meaning is far removed from the words imply.

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    March 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the hike with your family, and the expression “steep as a mule’s face”, my being the happy owner of a pretty little mule. I’d never heard that one.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 11:35 am

    the yellow posy you mentioned in the post as a Violet, I am not sure the flower is a Violet !!!! Perhaps someone knows what it may be .

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    March 26, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Tipper, thank you for sharing your walk with us. With my painful knees, I can only walk in my backyard now, but I well remember wonderful walks I used to take. I am praying for you, your family and all of the readers of the Blind Pig.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 26, 2020 at 10:35 am

    I Love the way you tell stories, it reminds me of my Teacher in the Eighth Grade, Mrs. Van Gorder. She read The Story of The Great Stone Face, by Nathaniel Hawthorn to the class and we were to takes notes on it. When she finished she said, “the other night I was grading papers and I never realized we were in the company of a Great Storyteller. He talks like he’s talking to me.” (Made my head swell something awful.) …Ken

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Yes, a wonderful way to cope right now. I can think of no better way to get away from all the terrible news and refresh one’s spirit. It makes me recall a walk a friend and I made once upon a time. There was an old logging trail near our house, and we decided to walk up to a place they called “Indian Rock” by the locals. It was a saddle like rock that jutted over the edge of the mountain. We walked up there and lay on the leaves near the rock gazing upon the mountains for a good while, and we talked and spoke of our big dreams. I often wondered with al my ridge walking how close I walked near Copperheads. Great pictures, and keep making those wonderful memories, Tiper.

  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    March 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

    How blessed you are to enjoy this time where you are and who you are with. I grew up rambling in the woods, enjoying God’s beautiful gifts. Those fond memories help me to get thru these troublesome times. I am currently getting ready to start my small garden. Due to the scarcity of bedding plants, I started some seeds. Maybe too late, but the physical act of preparing the soil, planting the tiny seeds, and the nurturing them, keeps me connected to the Earth. Hard to believe that several juicy tomatoes could lie within each seemingly insignificant seed. Throw in a nice cucumber, some hot pepper, and a mess of corn and green beans, and life is beautiful again. Psalms 46:1-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”…

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 26, 2020 at 9:59 am

    What a beautiful place that is. I love nature and sometimes I think heaven will have a place such as this. He blessed !

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 26, 2020 at 9:20 am

    We have been spending all of our time on the high ridge where we live, since the COVID-19 problem came up. The sides of our driveway have been taken over by many varieties of moss, which I love to see.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 26, 2020 at 9:17 am

    As the psalmist said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…” I confess I am envious of you all being able to go woods rambling straight from home. As your pictures show, one just never does know quite what they might find on a woods ramble. Each time, even on the same path, is always different to a noticing person.

    The trailing arbutus is one if my favorite wildflowers. This time of year I am on the lookout for it but none grows around here I don’t reckon. I love the smell of it and its delicate shades of white and pink. I wish I had some for a ground cover.

    You all are so blessed to have such a close family. I know you don’t need me to tell you that but it blesses me to know it. To quote the unlikely source of Samwise Gangees, “There’s some good in this world that is worth fighting for.”

    Your campfire video is so much better than the Christmas fireplace ones I’ve seen. I wonder how I could get that on screen for next winter.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 9:06 am

    While watching the videos and reading the post, I remembered hearing Mom talking about somebody being so aggravated they just ‘took to the hills’. A hike in the woods can make a person forget all their troubles for a little while. Watching moving water is almost as therapeutic.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I so enjoyed your walk, as you allowed us to partake in some parts of it. I live on a little ridge and there is an old cemetery with a circle drive around it not far from my house. I’ve walked around the cemetery during these times and looked down the hill as I walked where I could see way out an old barn, an old brick school house built abt 1865, rolling hills and beyond mountains. I enjoy the walk but I have always been drawn to the little creeks and streams nearby; as much as I love the woods there is nothing more calming to me than walking beside or sitting by a little creek.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Looks like a water snake

    • Reply
      aw griff
      March 26, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      GEORG, I thought so too.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2020 at 5:21 pm

      I believe so too… NC’s website ( )shows one similar…Brown Water Snake…

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    March 26, 2020 at 8:27 am

    The same “Mother Nature” who created this virus spent a lot more time making things that are beautiful and harmless to her human creations. We are blessed with that beauty all around us, and we can take advantage of this “pause” in our routines to appreciate it all the more. Stay safe.

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    March 26, 2020 at 8:04 am

    If the virus has done nothing else it has brought folks out to enjoy nature. I feel sorry for folks in the cities who have no mountain to climb or creek to follow. How lucky we are.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 26, 2020 at 7:56 am

    And, this is the mountain way. If there are troubling times around us, get to the woods, the earth, the trees the creeks, and the flowers to be re-centered in what is real and comforting. Running water can wash all your troubles away. I love the water!
    Bet you felt better after your little trip!

    • Reply
      Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
      March 27, 2020 at 8:20 am

      I have tears running down my cheeks. I do have a huge wood behind me. It’s one of the major reasons we bought this house. If I couldn’t be in my mountains (MI is a far piece from them), I had to have woods. Some of my fondest memories are on Eagles” Nest Mountain in Waynesville, NC. Back when I used to wander, there was an outcropping of stone just below the top. It was called “Boy Scout Rock.” The view was spectacular. There was a large, grassy meadow behind, but for 180 degrees the view was the Smokies. On a good day, you could see Mt. LeConte. Down below was Maggie Valley. I could sit still for hours and watch the clouds, listen to the wind, watch the birds sail on the updrafts. It truly was Heaven. I hear there’s a house built on that rock now. Don’t think I’ll ever go back there in person again. I sure do travel back in time and space in my mind, though.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 26, 2020 at 7:44 am

    You, Matt, and the girls were indulging in a fine afternoon of what might be described as woods bathing. There are few things surer to cleanse the soul, smooth the worried brow, and soothe the worried mind than a ramble along the ridges. I enjoyed this vicariously and if local officials don’t shut things down to the point where you can’t leave the county, I intend to do quite a bit of something somewhat similar when turkey season opens here next week.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    March 26, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Sounds like a great afternoon! I walked a creek last week, and it cured my case of cabin fever.

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