Big Poplar Loop Part 2-Sawtooth Trail
5.4 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes

This is the sixth in a series of posts about my weekly hikes on the Pine Mountain Trail.

This one too.Back on the trail again after another brief hiatus. Last week I had a meeting that I couldn’t miss, and planned to hike in the afternoon, but was just feeling lousy, so I took the week off. I’ve been fighting off some mysterious malady the last few weeks, but decided not hiking would only make me feel worse, so I went out on a perfect day, temperature-wise, in the mid-60s. I decided to go back and finish that piece of trail on the Big Poplar Loop that I missed, which is technically called the Sawtooth Trail. It’s only 2.7 miles from Fox Den to Mollyhugger Hill, so it’s not a bad hike on which to backtrack so you can avoid having to call in a pickup.

I took this up close so you can't see how small it is.We really have a hidden gem of a mountain here, folks. I’ve driven through FDR a couple of times the past week just to see the changing leaves. It’s absolutely marvelous, and on par with anything the mountains of North Georgia or North Carolina have. If you can’t get up north, you really need to take a stroll through Pine Mountain.

I started at Mollyhugger Hill and hiked west, mainly because it’s closer to hop on the Sawtooth Trail at Mollyhugger. If you get on at Fox Den, you’ll have to hike a little longer on the PMT to get to Sawtooth. Sawtooth is a nice trail with some tricky parts. The entire trail dips, so you’re uphilling it whichever direction you’re traveling. My feet were incredibly sore from playing “Capture the Flag” at youth group last night. For some reason, even if I run a little bit, my feet kill me! I would say it’s old age, but those of you who are older than me will simply roll your eyes. So the feet, along with getting over some congestion, slowed me down a bit today. Climbing over some of those hills required a few minutes to catch my breath. I didn’t sit down until I got to the end of Sawtooth, which was the half-way point of the trip. But my sore feet reminded me of my dear friend Sam, who is now hiking again 2 years after his fall from a ladder which shattered his heels. Not that my pain is anywhere close to the hell he went through, but whenever my feet hurt, I always think of Sam.

Grindstone GapAs always, the trip going seemed much longer than the trip back. I try really hard to get lost in thought rather than paying attention to the actual physical exercise of hiking. If I let myself think too much about that, I end up wondering how much longer I have to go, and I end up not enjoying myself. On the way back, I got lost in thinking about a lot of things, so the trip went by much quicker.

I wasn’t paying attention at one point and walked straight into Grindstone Gap camping area. Note to self…if you don’t see the white blazes anymore, then you’re not on the trail. The trail also has a lot of connections to the horse trails. Not sure if people use these a lot, or if you can even take a horse up there anymore.

Horse Trails!I want to thank you for putting me back in my snail shell!Some “found objects” I stumbled on were two tiny waterfalls on this hike. If you want to see waterfalls and leaves changing, go to North Georgia. But these were very small, but very active waterfalls. Size doesn’t matter here, it was still beautiful. The other thing I came across was a rather large snail shell. I love that spiral shape. It makes me remember the image of centering prayer, as one spirals closer and closer to God.

I started the hike with the lessons for this Sunday:

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Psalm 24
Revelation 21:1-6a
John 11:32-44

This Sunday is All Saints Day and we are doing a number of things in addition to our regular service. We will be asking God’s blessing upon the new walkway to the Memory Garden, we’ll be remembering the many saints of our lives in a liturgy in the Memory Garden, and we’ll be hearing Jesus Loves Me, sung and signed by the children of St. Nicholas during the Offertory. My main thought in regards to the readings was Martha’s faith in Jesus, and how her honesty about such faith, to the point of getting angry with him, moves him so much. Perhaps it’s that honesty in faith that raised Lazarus.

On the iPod today was the Polyphonic Spree’s third album The Fragile Army. If you have liked my musical recommendations recently, be warned, the Polyphonic Spree is unlike any of the other things I’ve listed here. The Polyphonic Spree is what you get when you cross a youth choir, an orchestra, and a rock band. They describe themselves as “choral symphonic rock,” which may not be such a strange hybrid for an Episcopal priest to like. I like rock. I like good choral music. There are around 20 or so members of this band, 10 of which are the actual choir. I’ve been listening to them for a while now, mainly because their sound is so different and the lyrics of the songs are very sunny and happy. They are definitely original. Check them out if you like that sort of thing.

Time to soak the feet and watch a movie. Molly and I are on an ’80’s movie kick. When you can’t afford to go out on dates, you take anything you can get! Next week is one of my favorite spots–Dowdell’s Knob!

Jeff+