Hiking Middle Prong and Running

The house seems to be in a state of flux and clutter as we move from one camping trip to another, all the while executing our day to day lives. Fall is here. The hot, steamy, drowsy days of summer are behind us and we slip into to crisp fall mornings, warm afternoons and our busiest time of year.

This post was started on the 1st of October, but adventure called, and I am just getting back to finish. Looking back to the last weeks of September and early October, I started running, again. I have struggled with running since the pandemic with no good reason. As it turns out, the pandemic provided me with all the time in the world to work through my running demons and self-doubt and I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. I have struggled with running since. A restart was attempted last fall, but I barely started building endurance when I abruptly quit again. “I’ll get back to it,” I told myself, but I didn’t.

A late September day, photo taken post 3.0-mile run. Because I cannot run my desired length of 5-6 miles yet, I walk the rest of the mileage.

This year, on a late September morning with the promise of fall in the air, I finally pushed myself out the door, again. One of my favorite runners’ sayings goes something like this, “the first steps out the door are the hardest” a saying I have found to be true. Once the shoes are laced, the front door closed and my feet hit the pavement, my mind is free. I have been running pretty consistently for almost four weeks now and enjoying the time to myself. I do have to avoid looking at my ground shadow, who seems to be a fast-walking version of me. In my mind I am running like the wind and that shadow can be discouraging.

Greenway near my house providing a nice mix of sun and shade.
The last of the summer flowers along my neighborhood greenway.

Aside from running, in late September (September 27th to be exact) our Tuesday hiking group officially returned to hiking. Due to other commitments, we were down to three hikers and these three had successfully procrastinated getting out for a month post Wyoming backpack. On this day we hiked the Middle Prong Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an easy 8.0 mile out and back. We last hiked this trail just before Christmas 2021. A more detailed post about the hike is here: https://smithposts.com/2021/12/17/tuesday-hiking-middle-prong-trail/

Long morning shadows along the early parts of the trail. Autumn Equinox has passed, and the sun is changing positions in the sky.

We had a beautiful fallish day to hike, cool in the morning and warming as the hours passed. I remembered this trail as being easy, but longer than we had hiked in several months. I was not disappointed; the trail was indeed wide and easy, along an old logging road. The turn-off to Indian Flat Falls, a “man-way” as it is called, was thankfully just before the trail curves, narrows and heads steeply upwards. I must admit to memory failure on the turnoff. I had in my mind the turnoff was very short. When I felt like we had hiked too far with no falls in sight, I became insistent that we were on the wrong cutoff. John and Tom just shook their heads and continued on. I must have been tired because I continued to insist. In the end, when we returned to the trail from the cutoff, I had to conceed, I was wrong. We were almost back to the car before the age and memory ribbing subsided.

John and Tom crossing a crooked little bridge.
Blue skies and very little color change
Small cascades
Water flow is much lower than our last hike in December 2021. Everything in this area is very dry.
The second falls, located below the falls pictured above. We spent some very enjoyable time next to these falls, watching leaves shoot down between the rocks and eating lunch.
Reflections in a pond.

With that, I will close the blog on September. October is full of exciting new adventures!!

This entry was posted in Fall, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Life, Outside, Running, Thoughts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hiking Middle Prong and Running

  1. travelwhs says:

    Beverly, the hyperlink to the “A more detailed post about the hike is here: post” does not work, at least for me. But good post, read the email version. Will

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