Down under Gregory’s Bald at the west end of the park is Big Shuckstack. A lookout tower is there. Forest rangers used to climb up and sit and watch for signs of smoke. Lower still is Little Shuckstack. It is steep between the two and your knees will let you know, don’t worry, as they did us ten or so Scouts the day we climbed down.
The North Chickamauga Creek Gorge, located 15 miles from downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a beautiful deep central gorge cut into the sandstone plateau of Walden’s Ridge. It is approximately 10 miles long–steep, and rugged with forested slopes and very limited access. This gorge is the upper portion of the 32-mile North Chickamauga Creek, one of the main tributaries of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.
I remember exactly where we met. I remember the intimate lighting and the view outside of all the expensive yachts. A marina restaurant on Chickamauga Lake in East Tennessee. I kept looking around to see if anyone was there who knew me. Yes, I was concerned that someone might see me doing this. But the more I got to know her, the less I cared about that. There are times in your life when you try something you've held back on in the past, and you cross over and find yourself in a new place. She was that place.
I knew a man in Tennessee whose real name was John Smith. I point out that this was his real name because otherwise you would think I was disguising it. John lived in Tellico Plains and he’d been taught to trout fish by a forest ranger who was the best in the region. John became an expert himself and one day I went fishing with him because we were friends. I was no expert when it came to trout fishing.
Animal behavior is always fascinating to me. I filmed this in Bedford County, PA beside the Juniata River. It truly did appear that the geese were embarrassed by the mallard fight and wanted to make them stop. The mallard fight went on and on and was vicious, not sporting. Of course, geese are known to fight as well, but on this occasion they tried to be the peacemakers.
If I could, I would slide out of bed and into the pool. Every morning at six. Then the laps. Thirty six to the mile, half an hour in the cooling flow of water, counting down the distance.
My left hand is getting better all the time. It used to start the pull too soon. The timing now is smooth and the stoke constant. It has taken years of daily swimming to accomplish this.