Hot Springs, NC, to Erwin, TN – Chapter 8

I am walking from Hot Springs, NC, to Erwin, TN, on the Appalachian Trail.

I leave Hot Springs early in the morning. I read Chapter 8 of the Tao te Ching, translated by Steven Mitchell.

“The supreme good is like water,”

“which nourishes all things without trying to.

It is content with the low places that people distain.”

I was given some moonshine in Hot Springs. In the afternoon, I share it with south-bound hikers. This is “Papa.”

I offer moonshine to a father and son from Minnesota.

It feels warm in the belly.

The next day, I reach a specially constructed ridge line trail, completed in 2015. The graffiti reads, “unending rock scramble.”

The ridge line

“Thus it is like the Tao.”

View from the ridge


“In dwelling, live close to the ground.”

“In thinking, keep to the simple.”

“In conflict, be fair and generous.”

South-bound thru-hiker “Intrepid.” Each of us walked over the terrain that the other will encounter. We discuss which springs and rivers we found to be  dry.

Sign for the Sheldon graves.

Graves of two Union soldiers and their cousin. They were shot here by Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War (War Between the States),. The two brothers were coming home to visit their family. In these mountains,  some families and towns were for the Confederacy, others were for the Union.


“In governing, don’t try to control.”

“In work, do what you enjoy.”

“In family life, be completely present.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself”

I reach Bald Mountain.

“And don’t compare or compete,”

On Bald Mountain, I encounter a scientific group who are capturing birds in nets and banding them.

They place bands on the legs of the birds and release them.

They measure and weigh the birds before release.

This is  a scientific study.

“Everybody will respect you.”

I walk past a hawk decoy. They attempt to attract them and many other species for banding.

The decoy

No talking


Let’s do an experiment. I walk past a place where the chi energy is flowing up the hill. The water flows downhill and the chi flows up the ravine. I reach the place and face the energy.  Can you feel the chi?

First glimpse of Irwin, TN, after five days of walking.

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