Wolfden Loop Part 1

Rocky Point to Mile 20 & back: approx. 4 miles, 2 hours
Rocky Point to East End Loop & back: approx. 4 miles,  2 hours 15 minutes

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

Mile 19Mile 20Today I’m posting about two separate hikes. Last week, I just plain ol’ ran out of time and couldn’t get my act together to write about the first chunk of the Wolfden Loop. Wolfden is the longest loop on the trail, at 6.7 miles. I haven’t hiked the whole loop at one time, but I’d like to do so someday. Instead, I have broken the loop into 3 hikes which are all very manageable if you don’t have a lot of time. You can hop onto these trails really easily from the Rocky Point Parking Lot, whereas next week’s section will require going all the way over to the WJSP Tower and starting there.

So last week’s hike took me two miles on the PMT to Mile marker 20 and back. It’s amazing how different the trail can look in just one week. The colder weather has really set in over here in Harris County, and while last week’s leaves were still a deep red and orange, today the leaves were practically gone. This isn’t altogether a bad thing because when the leaves are off the tree, you can see the views much better.

Wolfden Loop

Since the Bishop came last week (check out his sermon to the right), I didn’t have a sermon to prepare, so I used my time to dream up other ideas. I listened to a lot more music, too, which was nice. I mainly prayed a lot about having patience. We are in the midst of house-hunting, and we both want to find the house quickly. We aren’t under the gun, because our rental is month-to-month now, but I’m still growing impatient. How quickly do we forget that God provides! It was just a few months ago that I was on the trail and agonizing over not being able to sell the Savannah house. Now it has sold, and I’m worrying about something else. So I sat down and wrote a prayer in my journal, and that really helped take away my urgency. We’re doing just fine right now and God will provide our new home. I just have to trust that.

Wolfden Loop

This part of the trail is really nice, and if you want an easy hike with very little up-and-down and very few rocks, this first part of the Wolfden Loop is for you.

White Candle TrailToday’s hike included a .3 mile hike to the End East Loop, which happens to be the newest trail in the whole system. It really feels new too, as there were a few points where I lost track of where the trail actually was, but that might have been because the leaves had all fallen and were piled on the trail. The loop is made up of two trails, the White Candle Trail and the Beaver Pond Trail. Perhaps the best place on the whole loop is Odie Overlook on the White Candle. There aren’t many overlooks on the whole PMT, but this one certainly is the best. In the past, I’ve hung up my ENO hammock and have just sat there and read. It’s a great place to go.

I typically see no one on the trails, but today I actually ran into 3 people! FDR state park will be closed tomorrow and the next day for a couple of days of hunting. So that meant that the hunters were out, staking out their spots. I only ran into one hunter, although Highway 190 was lined with pick-ups all the way back to the park entrance. Ode Overlook with sign

The more fascinating meeting was between me and two older gentlemen who were just there to hike. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I introduced myself. They asked if I was from around here, and I said I was. They happened to be from Peach County, where my wife grew up. One of them asked, “Who’s your wife?” I said, “Molly Sanders,” using her maiden name. He said, “I remember her! I taught at Peach County High School and remember her and her brothers.” Later, I asked Molly about him and he was her homeroom teacher! Funny who you run into in the woods!

Since I didn’t have to preach this past Sunday, I’ve had two weeks to ponder these lessons:

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Canticle 9
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

Since the Gospel is still on John the Baptizer, I thought a lot about him. I was especially reflective of Bishop Alexander’s sermon from yesterday and how he put aside the common notions of John’s message of repentance. Repentance is less about feeling guilty and more about “getting on board” with the new direction Jesus was going. Maybe I’ll play with that notion this week, with the additional idea that the way John encourages the crowds to turn is to share coats and food with those who have none. A seasonal holiday message indeed!

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a few CDs from a guy who lives down the street from the church. His wife had recently died and left a huge music collection. So I went through the stacks of CDs and pulled out a few. So here’s what I listened to on both hikes.

First are a couple of albums from Norah Jones. Jones has a stunning voice. She can pull off the most jazzy croons or the honky-tonkiest country stylings. Her first album, which everyone owns, I think, is full-on jazz. While I have that album, too, I really started liking Jones when I heard her album with a band called the Little Willies, which is a fun country album. Feels Like Home definitely has that country feel, but also has some jazzy tunes. There’s even a duet with Dolly Parton, one of my favorites! I haven’t listened to Not Too Late much yet. I also got Bob Dylan Unplugged. Pretty disappointing recording. First of all, I had forgotten that in the later years of MTV’s Unplugged, they really weren’t very unplugged at all, and this is true of Bob Dylan’s attempt, which is ironic as we all know that Dylan’s best is just him and an acoustic guitar and maybe a harmonica. I also forgot that Bob Dylan is only good in the ’60s. He has not gotten better with time. Finally, I picked up an album I used to own in college, but got rid of. I was feeling nostalgic, so I got Vertical Horizon’s Everything You Want, with their big single of the same name. Not a great album, but it brought back memories. Norah Jones really is the winner in this pack.

Next week, I will complete round 2 of the PMT. What will become of the Hiking Preacher? Wait and find out!

Jeff+