Get Above It in Tennessee's Big Frog Wilderness

Get Above It in Tennessee's Big Frog Wilderness

After a night of wind howling through the treetops above my campsite, I wake to a silent dawn. The rain that drummed on my hammock all night turned to ice when a cold front moved in. A thick, freezing fog has settled here on the top of 4,222-foot Big Frog Mountain, outlining pine needles and spider webs in sparkling frost. I break camp in the chill and start the next leg of my hike through a series of rhododendron tunnels.

The hunching trees loom over me through the swirling mist. It’s a far cry from the golden sunlight I enjoyed yesterday, when I traversed the forested mountainside and wove in and out of ravines. Now, ensconced in swirling gray, I can’t help but daydream about the rolling, cloud-licked landscape I saw yesterday through the leafless trees. Today I’m descending into the greenery of the Rough Creek valley—with a few more views of the hills, if the clouds burn off. But even if they don’t, I can feel the tangle of ridgelines there just out of sight.

Sometimes that’s enough.

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