Of course we hit the trails again.

But without our wily guide, as our senior pup was quite content to remain asnooze on the sofa. There’s nothing historic about the park; the promise of slightly more challenging trails than the day before was the draw. We are eager to get back into our hiking game! (A point not lost on our tired legs the following morning, I might add.) 

A pretty overlook of Cherokee Lake, which does have an interesting note.

“In order to maintain dissolved oxygen concentrations in the river below the dam at levels that will support aquatic life (like fish for all of the sportsmen), perforated hoses suspended above the bottom of Cherokee Reservoir are used to inject oxygen into the reservoir water and devices which resemble large underwater fans located just above the dam are used to push warm oxygenated water downward to the depths where water is released for hydroelectric generation.”

We passed a family coming from the opposite direction, and the little girl in the group excitedly yelled to us, “THERE ARE BEAR CAVES AROUND THE TURN. BUT, ‘SHHH, YOU HAVE TO BE VERY QUIET SO YOU DON’T WAKE THEM!”

More wildflowers. Or weeds. Or herbals. I don’t really know. Pretty certain the purple one is ~just~ a diminutive Iris.

The Internet tells me this “weed” might be Shepherd’s Purse, yet when I research “Shepherd’s Purse” I am informed it is a mustard variant that long ago escaped the Mediterranean (where it was used to treat WWII soldiers wounds owing to its blood-clotting capabilities) and landed on this side of the pond.

Just as our wander was ending! She didn’t seem terribly bothered by us; and I might even write that she posed for me when she spied the camera.

For this wander we packed a picnic of Toasted Focaccia Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers and Herbed Cream Cheese, but of course we all nom-nommed before I could take any snaps. Trust me, they were delicious.

As we lunched we spied numerous Virginia-tagged vehicles coming into the park, as the park is about an hour from the state line. And why were so many Virginians coming to this park, you might wonder? Because their tyrant governor has closed all Virginia parks rather than managing the shutdown on a regional basis. The virus is concentrated in Northern Virginia, where most of the state’s residents reside; of course families from Southwest Virginia would think to simply drive to one of the open neighbors. Tony and I did the same thing on numerous Sundays in Austria; our adopted country may have been “closed,” but Slovakia, Hungary and CZ weren’t!

Local trivia. Fred “Pal” Barger met Ray Kroc in 1955 at a national restaurant convention in Chicago, where they discussed restaurant construction. A year later Pal opened the first of what is basically a regional McDonald’s (only serving drive-through) in the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia area that, judging by the queue we waited in for milkshakes* on our drive home, has a cult following.

More local trivia. Pal’s was the very first restaurant company to win the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award. Now you know.

*I ordered an Unsweet Tea, as I can not do SweetTea. When we reached the pickup window the clerk handed me the beverage and said, simply, “Unsweet.” I guess here in the South, if it doesn’t have diabetes-inducing levels of sugar in it, it isn’t proper Tea. 🤣