I’m going to try to keep this short, so I can just get it posted. We hiked Cow Rock Mountain (again) and it did not disappoint. The trail has changed some because there has been so much rain and also because there are not as many hikers on it right now. It is a part of the Appalachian Trail. In fact, it’s over-grown in a couple of places. I made sure to look and listen closer for snakes . . . something Wessy was not going to do. Glad she has me to be concerned.

This is a “soft” photo meaning it’s not sharp, but it is sort of cool. The bee (and there were plenty of them on the trail) kept going in and out of the flower. The reason it’s “soft” is because of the low light in the dense forest. Plus, guess who was pulling?!

Yelp! Pulling some but she is using a leather lead now and going to dog training every week. Honestly, for a nine-month old puppy, she’s doing great.

I think the reason I keep returning to these mountains is to train her on how to walk with me on trails. I’m learning, too. The rock on this trail is loose in many points, and there are some steep “ups and downs,” so I tell her “slow.” She is learning how to pick out the safest route for me to hike, and believe it or not, she is doing really well.

She stops and waits for others who are hiking with us. Of course, I have to say something like: “Where is Pat? Or where is Anne?” Then she turns, sits, and waits for them to catch up. Catch up is a real thing because she is a fast mover! Zoooooom!

Beautiful Joe Pye Weed. We love it. It’s also known as Eutrochium purpureum or “the Queen of the Meadow. ” It’s a favorite of butterflies and grows up to 7 feet in shady woodland and savannah settings. Its leaves have a sweet vanilla scent, and its flowers are typically a pale pink or purple hue.

You will find this wildflower across central and eastern United States but also into southern Canada! It has many medicinal properties and has been used by Native Americans for centuries to cure a range of ailments. It’s actually named after a Native herbalist (Jopi) from the 1800s, who was renowned for treating illnesses like typhus and fever with this herb. Pretty cool!

Once we climbed up to a certain point, we dropped back down to a field of wild flowers! Beautiful until we got in the middle of it and Wessy discovered a yellow jacket nest. Just Yikes! The two of us got through, but Pat didn’t.

Of course, Wessy did not get stung but Pat did. So as Pat beat yellow jackets off her shirt, Wessy sat nearby watching! Such an interesting dog.

The trail to the top from Tesnatee Gap is just less than a mile but it is rated difficult. Click here for directions. I made a crazy mistake. I had two migraines the day before and was so weak from the headaches. I didn’t think about what I had done until I got to the top. Then it hit me that I was really struggling in the August heat.

But Wessy makes life fun . . . she enjoys every moment and here she is standing on an iconic white blase for the AT. She’s my girl!

Once we got to the top, it was time for lots of water and bird watching! We watch a lot of birds these days.

Pat is amazing with her new hip. Seven weeks away from surgery, and she was cleared by her doctor to hike. Blood Mountain next?

A former AT thru-hiker “Lightfoot” told me that the next time I hike this trail to keep going past the first overlook to the second rocky view. I did and it’s beautiful and a totally different view of the mountains. There is a third overlook that I’ll hike to the next time we are here.

Wessy girl resting in the grass. “More water, please!”

Here’s the view from the top of Cow Rock Mountain. Wildcat Mountain is straight across the gap.

Me and Wessy standing at the second overlook. She is such a loving dog. I think I’ll keep her! Hike on Wessy Girl! I’m so proud of you!