Noland Creek June 25, 2012Posted by Jenny in hiking, nature, Smoky Mountains.
Tags: Lakeshore Trail, Noland Creek, rosebay rhododendron
I never would have done this hike under normal circumstances, but I’m very glad I did it.
The other day, while gardening and moving around bags of compost, I got careless and ended up mildly straining my back. I’ve been through this routine before—it all has to do with proper lifting technique. I appreciate this especially since my former companion Bob worked for UPS and was constantly being trained and retrained about lifting heavy objects.
I rested for a day after the incident, then did a challenging hike, and the next morning realized I’d overdone it. Getting out of bed—ugh! Had to roll to the side. I rested another day. But I must keep active! On July 8 I lead the Roaring Fork hike for the hiking club—can’t let myself be a slug! I did some intensive Internet searching under “back strain,” and found information that said that walking was good as long as it was on even terrain and not too steep.
So I searched for a hike that would be on a roadbed or a wide graded trail that did not climb too steeply—supposedly the leaning forward when climbing is bad for the back. I kept looking at the map, seeing possibilities, and then rejecting them out of pure repugnance for anything that doesn’t involve climbing. Finally, I came to my senses, focused on the necessary parameters, and determined on Noland Creek off the Lakeview Road (the “Road to Nowhere.”)
Amazingly, I’d never been on that road before. Well, maybe not so amazing considering my preferences in hiking—I have no interest whatsoever in the Lakeshore Trail. But I arrived at the Noland Creek trailhead, dropped down on a steep rough pathway that I soon realized wasn’t the real trail, but before long connected with the nice graded trail up Noland Creek.
I’d decided that since I couldn’t climb, I’d walk as fast as I could. Why not jog? I’ve tried it a few times and hated it, hard to say why. Maybe the repetitive pounding. So I walked very fast for 45 minutes until I came to the third bridged crossing of the creek. As on a previous trip to Deep Creek, I found myself fascinated by the patterns of water.
The thing besides the water that amazed me this day was the rosebay rhododendron, everywhere, climbing steeply over the trail, singing out with its blossoms all along the stream, the hillsides, just out of pure exuberance.