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[at-l] Nat'l Trail Days - Oswald Dome

Oswald Dome trail is near the Big Frog-Cohutta Wilderness area in the
southeast corner of Tennessee. I've got the chance to work with the
Hiwasee Hiking Club, they have adopted different trails in the Cherokee
Forest including the Oswald Dome and parts of the new Benton McKaye

I drove over to the Quinn Springs Campground and met one of the club
members and a forest ranger. The ranger has recently moved here from
Tucson, AZ. The plan was to start at the top of the trail and work down
to the campground, about 4 miles. Because we were there early, the ranger
decided to hike to the top rather than drive up. I ask if he preferred
solitude or company and he opted for company so I hiked with him. 

About half a mile from the top another ranger contacted us and reported
that the word day would now start at the bottom and work up!! Oh well, I
haven't been hiking since March and I enjoyed the time in the woods. As
luck had it, another ranger was leading a day hike from the Dome back to
the camp and needed somebody to help shuttle the van back to the bottom
of the mountain. Ranger Steve and I stopped at several points on the
drive down to view the mist filled valleys and hollows, beautiful!

With swing blade in hand, I started working my way towards the top,
cutting as I went. It occurred to me that I haven't used a swing blade
since I was in high school. By the end of Saturday, I could feel it too.
Oh well, that is why God made hot showers.

I've been experimenting with an old frame pack to see how best to make a
"maintainer's" pack. In addition to loops and snaps, I've been thinking 
what I could carry. I recently managed to get a 6 inch mill file for
free, it's a Snap-on!! Can you believe that luck. I got a generic handle
at $1.67. After using the swing blade and having to stop every 5 minutes
to try and retighten the mounting nuts on the blade, I think I've decided
to add a small adjustable wrench to my Snap-on file and Leatherman type
multi-tool gizmo. 

When the work trip concluded, I had helped to clean up about 1.5 miles of
trail. I have mentally work on my maintainer pack and contents, and I
have formed some ideas about a little shed for my backyard. All in all,
the physical and mental activity made for a most wonderful day. Hopeful
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