roaring fork motor nature trail

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Day 44: Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We started our day by driving up to the Newfound Gap, where we went into North Carolina, momentarily.  We were going to check out Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park, but the fog was too thick to make it worth heading up to a higher elevation, so we headed down to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Grotto Falls.  Grotto Falls is the only falls in the park that you can actually walk behind and that, combined with the fairly easy nature of the trail, made it one of the most crowded hikes we went on.  The falls were spectacular, though. On our way up to the falls, we passed a fairly recent deposit of bear scat, and I commented that on a trail this crowded, we weren’t likely to actually run into a bear.  And then, on our way back to the car when we were less than a quarter-mile from the end of the trail, the bear in picture five proved how wrong I was.  He was gracious enough to pose for that picture before bounding off into the woods.  This led to me talking at length about how we had just seen “a live bear, an actual live bear.”

After finishing the hike, we drove the rest of the Roaring Fork Trail, stopping to check out some of the old farming buildings along the way.  On our way out of the park, we saw a large group of people pulled over to the side of the road, and as we were about to go by, I realized that they were all looking at a bear cub in a tree, so after a quick U-turn, we got out and watched this bear chowing down in the tree for quite a while and it was exactly as great as you would think watching a bear cub at the top of a tree would be.

The Bud Ogle Cabin 04 B&W – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 12, 2014

We can work it out.

We can make it work.

That is nature’s way.

It’s what nature does best.

And we are a product of nature.

We have nature’s nature coursing through our soul.

We are one with it all.

We’ve done what it takes to get here.

How could there be anything that requires more

Than getting here required?

The ancestors are wondering

What’s the problem.

Painted Trillium 2014 02 – Nature Trail, Bud Ogle Cabin, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, April 13, 2014

How often do you live out of your own authority?

How often to you take your cues for living from someone else?

You cannot hope to be who you are, living aligned with the life that is your to live, without being anchored in your own sense of what needs to be done in each situation as it arises.

Growing up is living out of our own take on things, our own feel for what is appropriate to the occasion, and our own willingness to be wrong in serving our idea of what is right.

This is an essential principle in the process of maturation: We have to make our own mistakes!

You will not learn to make your own mistakes looking to someone else for the answers to your questions.

Take up the practice of living out of your own authority and making your own mistakes.

It is the sure path to enlightenment.

Grotto Falls – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN, April 13, 2014

There are two things you have to believe in, starting now:

You have to believe in yourself.

You have to believe in the work that is yours to do.

You have to believe in you, and in what you are about–what you are to be about.

Above and beyond what you do to pay the bills, or what you do to make someone else happy with you.

That’s it.

You can believe anything else your little heart fancies.

As long as it doesn’t interfere with your essential commitment and allegiance to yourself and the work that needs you to do it.