Hi! This is Philip back again. I was off-island, as we say, hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains, and then joining thousands of other folks at the National Storytelling Festival in the tiny village of Jonesboro Tennessee.
Every fall I hike to Mt. LeConte in East Tennessee. It was an eight mile hike to over 6500 feet. As you might imagine, the views were fantastic. At sunset we sat on a rocky outcropping watching the sky turn shades of red, orange, and pink...and then deep violets. Finally there was that inky blackness and hundreds of distant, sparkling, fiery diamonds strewn across the heavens. Much like Ocracoke's sky, but enchanting because of the altitude & the rolling mountains as far as the eye could see.
One endearing fact about LeConte is that there is a "lodge" on the top of the mountain. There are no roads leading up there, but years ago they built this lodge (don't ask me how they did it). Every spring they helicopter great quantities of food and supplies in. Then throughout the season (the lodge is closed in the winter -- too much snow) they use llamas to transport linens and trash up and down the trails.
Anyway the benefit to me and my companions is that they feed us and give us lodging when we get to the top. So our packs are lighter, and we eat better than the typical hiker!
Unfortunately, I returned home with a severe case of bronchitis which has kept me at home for days. Finally I drove to Avon yesterday to see a doctor (we have no health care provider on the island until next week). Now, with antibiotics I should be improving steadily. So I expect to be back, posting journal entries on a regular basis. I thank Jude for keeping up with island news while I've been away or out of commission. I hope she'll continue to post some more. I like her style.
You can read our latest newsletter here. It's the story of the Community Store and other general stores on the island.