A Hike Near Home

Hiking in the mountains

A couple of weeks ago the girls started begging to go on a hike. It was late Sunday evening and I still had a ton of things to do before bedtime. They cajoled me saying things like “Awww come on mom we’ll go around here and we’ll be back before you know it.” and “How could you say no to your only daughters?”

I finally gave in, acting like I was making a great sacrifice when actually I wanted to go on a hike too.

I surprised them by telling them to get in the car. Chitter said “I told you we don’t have to go far we can just go up the creek.” I said “I know. We’re not going far-get in the car.”

Mill house train at john c campbell folk school

I took them down to the folk school pulling into the first folk school drive we come to from our direction it’s the road leading to Mill House. As I parked the car I said “Lets do the Mill House Trail. It’s really short but we can take our time.”

Hiking in brasstown

We’ve all been on the trail before, but each time we walk it I’m struck by the weirdness of being hidden in the woods along the road we drive everyday. You hear cars going by and think that could be me on my way to work or town. Makes you wonder how often someone is hiking the trail while you’re the one whizzing to and fro.

Tipper and Chatter

There’s a cool bench to sit on just as the trail leads you down to a little holler.

Giant oaks in brasstown

The bench is set in the middle of a circle of giant oaks. As we sat on the bench I told the girls “See that old chimney over there? You know the one you can see from the highway? Pap told me when he was just a boy three of the prettiest girls he’d ever seen lived there with their momma and daddy. They were older than Pap, but he said he could still remember how pretty they were. One just as pretty as the other. He said it seems like their parents had something to do with the folk school, but he’s not sure. I asked him what happened to them, he said that he’s not sure but thinks they moved off from here.”

Chatter and Chitter silly girls

Along with Pap’s memories there was some silliness on the hike as well. Chatter and Chitter always think they have to pose in trees for photos. Those are some real poses uh?

Hiking in cherokee county nc

We were headed back up the ridge to take the other fork of the trail when Chitter found a treasure. The smallest piece of an old plate, saucer, or bowl. Chitter said she just knew it belonged to one of those pretty sisters. I smiled and said “I bet you’re right.”



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  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Some years back, Grandpa Jones recorded a song called “These Hills”. It went something like this:
    These hills have fed and clothed me through the years.
    The hills have laughed and wept with me through happiness and fears.
    These hills are where I long to stay, til I am called away.
    These hills are my home.
    How blessed to take a walk with your girls and to commune with “your hills”.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I love finding things on a hike, the chimney and chip of plate, make the adventure so much more exciting. I bet the stories in your head are as much fun and the real ones.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    November 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks for taking us with you!! Wonderful story, too-

  • Reply
    E Z Walker
    November 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Like your hike this morning! Next time somebody tells me to go take a hike, ats where I’m a goin.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I know he said that the house burned down, just like your story. Ill get more details and let you know.
    Sent from my iPhone
    On Nov 13, 2014, at 8:43 AM, Tipper Pressley [email protected] wrote:
    Misty-NEAT! Now I want to know more! Since it had been so many years since Pap told me the story of the 3 sisters-I called him to see if I had my story right-I didnt : ) The 3 sisters actually lived in a house that sit where the bench does-in the middle of the big oaks. And he said they called the place the Estes Place. So now Im wondering what happened to the chimney house where you said Nick lived. Ask Nick what happened to it when you get a chance!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and
    Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    What I love about today’s post: How many college age girls want to hike with their Mom? I know you treasure these moments. And, amazing how the mystery was solved about the family who once lived there.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

    great post — wishing I was in some woods! But I’m heading to GA/TN/AL corner next Thursday! You are lucky the girls like their poses/pictures in trees — my granddaughters posed by trash containers!!!!! Started when one lovely posed picture was photo-bombed by trash can.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 13, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Cold fingers this morning but could be operator error…I meant to type. “You can always put off until tomorrow what you need to do today”….
    One more thing…Those picture of you and the girls are so good. I almost missed you in the fourth picture, my eye thinking it was one of the twins. Cute! Wished I still looked as young as my children!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Very cold morning here in our neck of the woods and it is only supposed to get colder. Cloudy with chance of cloudy for a day or two!
    What a beautiful Fall hike to remember during these pre winter days!
    Good for you, taking the girls on a hike. Fresh air is always good for the body and soul.
    Most of the time you can always can put of until tomorrow what you need to do today! Besides my thoughts when deciding whether to leave work behind for a short trip. #1..The house often needs peace and quiet! #2..The ghosts can rest or play to their liking!
    #3..The still air also gives time for the dust to settle!
    And it always makes it easier to clean when you get back home…
    Thanks Tipper, enjoyed your hike with the girls…
    PS…Love that little china chip!
    One of these days you and the girls should take all those china chips you have found on your adventures and make a “mosaic stepping stone” for your garden path to recollect!

  • Reply
    Rob Simbeck
    November 13, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Anyone passing by would have said, “Hey, three pretty girls were walking in the woods talking about three pretty girls.”

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    November 13, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Great posts from you and your readers. I enjoyed them all

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    November 13, 2014 at 10:20 am

    We forget the treasures close to home. I have a state park just a mile or so from my house. You have reminded me I need to round up my dog, Bodhi, and take a walk to catch the last of the leaves…

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 9:51 am

    My grandson wanted me to walk a trail to the creek with him on a warm day a few weeks ago. It’s the most peaceful place in the world as far as I’m concerned. We didn’t go because the deer hunters make it a dangerous place to visit this time of year.
    If those things you left undone didn’t get finished, the most important thing did.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    November 13, 2014 at 9:42 am

    The Estes would be the Herman Estes family who lived there after WWII and into the 1950’s. He was in charge of the school’s woodshop. I met him about 30 years ago and a daughter called “Doodle”. She is still alive. The other house (only chimney and kudzu now) was called the Pine View house and various school staff lived in it. I did not realize Nick’s family lived there. Eventually in the late 1960’s it was in poor condition and the last to live there were students and an archaeologist doing work on the school property. Unfortunately, it burned and there are many theories about how “them hippies” burned it down. I have always thought the site could be used again. It has a great view although the pine trees are gone.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Isn’t it great how a story can turn into a treasure hunt, with added, maybe imaginative ideas to make a story more vivid. Someday I might just get to hike or walk through the area you tell your readers about. the school grounds are just gorgeous. Hey, girls! You do have a pretty cool mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Misty-NEAT! Now I want to know more! Since it had been so many years since Pap told me the story of the 3 sisters-I called him to see if I had my story right-I didn’t : ) The 3 sisters lived in a house that sit where the bench does-in the middle of the big oaks. And he said they called the place the Estes Place. So now I’m wondering what happened to the chimney house where you said Nick lived. Ask Nick what happened to it when you get a chance!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and
    Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 13, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I like to go on a little walk every now and then. On this fine cool, overcast morning, I’m heading up Indian Creek to escort a fellow whose great-grandfather lived alongside its banks. It’s a place where you’ve been, Tipper – you’ll remember that overgrown area thick with briars. There’s already a fair-sized collection of stuff that you, Susan and I (mostly you) found that day, but supplemented in considerable part by other stuff that I’ve found over the years since.
    I’m really looking forward to watching him as he is able to touch things which his ancestors once touched, walk ground they once tilled, listen to the creek which once helped them sleep easy, and smell the boxwood that stood by their home.
    But more significant will be the sixth sense – one beyond our ken – a connection with people, time, and place that is stronger than those of our primary senses. It is the sense that Chitter had, thinking of those pretty girls (and a grandfather who appreciated and remembered their beauty).

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 13, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Tipper, How very eloquent your posts have been this week–on Veterans Day, in particular (as well as other days), and certainly today as you tell in excellent prose (near poetic in expression!) and help us to be there with your clear, delightful photographs. We walked the “Mill Trail” with you and Chitter and Chatter, enjoying the delights of a late Sunday afternoon in fall. It reminded me poignantly of a walk my sister Louise and I made several years ago along the rail fence our father had constructed years and years ago on our farm at Choestoe, and the path that led beside it. Portions of the fence were still standing to bring back poignant memories and to remind us of our legacy of love and appreciation for people, places, and upbringing. It’s a “writing habit” of mine to compose a poem about a deeply-moving experience in my life, and that hike my sister and I had on that fall afternoon several years ago, thinking about our Daddy and how he walked that same trail, yielded this sonnet:
    Upward Journey
    The path led up the hill,
    Around the bend,
    Twisting and winding,
    It stretched to certain end.
    Upward he climbed
    With plodding, measured tread,
    To gain at pathway’s end
    His home, and food and bed.
    Then resolute he set his pace
    And would not be deterred;
    The sun and rain and snow to face
    Until the summit cleared.
    Like mercury rising with the heat,
    The path lent solace to his homebound feet.
    -Ethelene Dyer Jones
    A lesson: Notice pathways and their significance; someone has walked there before you!

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    November 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Tipper: Jim said those mountains used to be full of pretty girls – and still are! In fact Jime FOUND ONE over in the Matheson Cove! Well not really. I think he found her on Peachtree Street in the BIG WORLD OF ATLANTA!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 13, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Great time to walk anywhere in Cherokee County. Cool enough that the snakes have disappeared but warm enough to enjoy the mountain air.
    Just standing on my deck and breathing deep seems to energize me.
    The view of the mountains, the pure air all seem to bring back memories. I can sit or walk and become totally absorbed in what I call my “country self”.
    Then I know I must come back to the real world.
    Thank God for these wonderful moments.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    November 13, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Love it! Thanks for the hike.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Nick lived in that house as a child, before the house we are in now was constructed. He or Rosemarie could tell you more.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Nice area,, treasure the moment.. I remember my wife’s aunt, said she always thought the base boards had to be dusted every Friday,, now looking back she wished she had taken more time with her Son and left those base boards alone.. time is something we cannot take back.. Life became very busy for her later.. She had a Husband to leave her, she raised her Son, help put him through college.. She also went to college to become an R.N. He married and left home.. She developed autoimmune and struggles to get out of bed… In a blink the time is gone…. The things that seem important,, are not important anymore..

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