November 20, 2015
It is tough being a lawyer. Not because the job is particularly hard, but because of the stress. Imagine your worse memory: parents splitting, getting arrested, losing your job, losing your house, losing your kids. All day we listen to people describe their worst moments in life. No one goes to a lawyer when they are blissful and happy; they go to them when they are having their worst day.
To me, nature is the antithesis of man-made strife. Nature is beauty, simplicity, God-made gorgeousness. In order to relieve that weekly stress, I’ve decided to take off several hours early every Friday to end the week on a positive note.
Perry and I drove out after work and I felt like a kid cutting high school. The sun was shining, it was chilly: a perfect fall day.
According to Cherokee mythology, Kanati (or Kana’ti) was “the First Man and guardian of the hunt. It was Kanati who taught the people the skill of hunting.” The Kanati Fork Trail is a short, wicked, little steep path off of Newfound Gap Road. At the trailhead, you literally start hiking upward immediately, and it doesn’t stop until you reach the western terminus at the Thomas Divide Trail. It gains 2000 feet in 2.9 miles. For the first ¼ mile you hike beside the stunning Kanati Fork with amazing views.
The trail itself is beautifully maintained. Given the woods chips next to many logs, a National Park trail crew must have been there yesterday or today. The trail is narrow for a while with steep drops on one side, and the switchbacks ascend until Turkey Flyup (not “Fryup”, which I initially read). Beautiful vines, rhododendron and burls give way to great views of the eastern Smoky’s after 2 miles.
At the top we stopped to rest and enjoyed the last of the sun, before making our way back to the car. At the end, we bushwhacked to the Kanati Fork. At the end the stress of the week was gone, and the calmness of nature was the only feeling left.
Total mileage is 5.8 miles.