Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

October 15, 2013

Enjoying Nature: The Magic of the Mountains

CROSSVILLE — John Denver had a hit song called “Rocky Mountain High” about finding beauty and serenity in the Rocky mountains. But you don’t have to go to Colorado to experience the magic of the mountains. Every time I drive east out of Knoxville or Maryville and first see the 6,500 foot high Appalachians in front of me, I break into an automatic smile. There is just something about mountains.

Here in Cumberland County Tennessee, we are not in the mountains ... we are on the plateau. The highest point in Fairfield Glade is 2,130 feet altitude at Chestnut Oak Ridge where the water towers and the cable tv satellite dishes are located near Druid Hills Golf Course. The water tower near the Good Samaritan campus on Peavine Mountain is at 2,117 feet elevation. Some nearby peaks that you might know are Renegade Mountain (which is officially Haley Mountain) at 2,670 and Black Mountain, nearby, at 2,828. The highest peak in Cumberland County is Hinch Mountain with an elevation of 3,048 ... that might be tall if you came from Delaware, but it is just a baby by mountain standards.

Some folks set a goal to reach the highest points of a given area. A number of people have achieved the “seven summits” which is the highest peak on each of the seven continents. Obviously, that accomplishment is out of reach for most of us.

In the U.S., there is a group called “Highpointers” who promote climbing the highest peak in every U.S. state. You could start with Florida’s Britton Hill with an elevation of only 345 feet above sea level and move all the way up to the Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska at 20,320. But I suggest that you forget those extremes in height and distance and start closer to home.

The highest point in Tennessee is close by and easy to achieve. You can drive to the parking lot at Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and walk the half mile paved trail to the top. Clingman’s dome is 6,643 feet above sea level and also the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. The views can be spectacular on a clear day, and even on a cloudy day being above the clouds is a very cool experience. Stay awhile, look around, experience the altitude, notice that even the plant life is unique at that altitude. Always take rain gear ... mountain weather is forever changing. High in the mountains, everything is just a little different.  Check off Tennessee.

You are now ready for your next step. Go to the highest mountain east of the Mississippi ... 6,684 foot Mount Mitchell, NC. Mount Mitchell is about a four hour drive from Crossville. I suggest staying a night in Asheville as part of the trip. The hike to the top of Mount Mitchell is even easier than the hike up Clingman’s Dome. Park in the lot by the museum and refreshment stand and walk about a quarter mile on a paved path to the top. Of course, you can always start on a lower trail and make it a longer trip to the top. Check off North Carolina.

You can stop there or keep on going. A few thousand feet higher is Guadalupe Peak in Texas at 8,749 feet in altitude. The hike is hard, but very doable. It is about 8.5 miles round trip with about 3,000 feet elevation gain. If you then feel ready for a “fourteener,” you could try Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado at 14,433 feet high. The route that my wife and I took was about a 4,000 foot elevation gain and a 14 mile round trip. No special climbing skills are needed, but the ability to handle the elevation can be a challenge. Some of the magic of mountains begins to decrease as the effort to breathe increases.

You don’t often hear people talk about the magic of their TV, or the magic of one more golf game, or the magic of doing nothing. If you are feeling a little bored, or a little old, or a little same old, same old ... take a drive, and go experience nature at its most beautiful ... experience the magic of the mountains.

Comments, questions or suggestions for future nature articles are welcome at

Text Only
Glade Sun
  • Pats big day - Jensen photo.jpg FFG Resident Services presents painting to the Pat Summitt Foundation

    A dramatic portrait of Pat Summitt, painted by Chuck Jensen, was presented to the Pat Summitt Foundation by Fairfield Glade Resident Services at its Community Information Event on memory care.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Rotary district gov1.jpg Rotary District Governor visits Glade Rotary Club

    The Fairfield Glade Rotary Club welcomed Rotary District Governor Jerry Wear from Pigeon Forge.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 'Anything Goes' to benefit Resident Services

    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now heaven knows, Anything Goes.

    July 23, 2014

  • Simms work on display beginning Aug. 3

    From Aug. 3 to Aug. 29, the Cumberland Art Society (CAS) will exhibit original creations by award-winning artist John Simms, who is internationally recognized as a Master Portrait Painter. The Creating Tomorrow’s Heirlooms exhibit will feature fine art in oil, acrylics, watercolors and charcoal. Please plan to meet Simms from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the CAS Backdoor Gallery, 186 S. Walnut St. in Cookeville.

    July 23, 2014

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Rafael 4.jpeg.jpg 'Wild Man' debuts at Palace Aug. 23

    "He's cool!" "He's famous!" "He's awesome!" "He's an icon!" "Ladies love him!" And, "He's Wild!"
    Crossville's own Wild Man Billy Ralph, Rafael R. Soriano, known for his signature song "The Dark Stranger," is making his debut appearance at the Palace Theatre Aug. 23.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Garden scholarships1.jpg FFG Garden Club presents five students with scholarships

    The Fairfield Glade Garden Club, in conjunction with members of the 1st National Bank of Tennessee, honored three returning students and two new students with scholarships as they continue their agricultural and horticultural education in their selected fields.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Normandie 2010 014.jpg Faith Bible Fellowship welcomes missionary musicians July 27

    Longtime French radio program producers and musicians, Daniel and Francoise Dossmann have lived through many transitions throughout their lives. Thirty years ago, they traveled from France to Ecuador to serve as missionaries with HCJB Global, (now Reach Beyond). After 17 years in Quito, Ecuador, they began a new phase of ministry in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire. At the end of 2004, a civil war erupted and a mandatory evacuation ensued.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Abacus Column: Fairfield Glade golf courses — a product of talent, desire and commitment

    On a recent Friday morning, a friend and I were playing the back nine of Dorchester Golf course. At the tee box on the unique par three 13th Hole, we met a young gentleman named Rob Krumple. Rob is a course maintenance employee reporting to Dorchester Superintendent Mike Wilson. My friend and I often comment about the excellent condition of our courses and since we had opportunity to pass a compliment on to Rob, we did.

    July 23, 2014

  • rotary0039.jpg Rotary Club presents scholarships


    July 23, 2014 4 Photos

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014