More Than Just Another Pool

John Burrows | Shining Rock Wilderness, NC

There is a turquoise pool at the confluence of the Shining Creek and the East Fork of the Pigeon River in the Shining Rock Wilderness. Most hikers would pass right by it, but for me it’s more of an important internal landmark than a physical one. Thirty years ago my father proposed to my mother near the union of these two streams and since then it has grown to occupy a special place in my family lore. Growing up, I remember spending weekends camped by the shore of that pool with my parents, swimming, fishing and sailing pistachio-shell boats down the current. As I got older, the scope of exploration grew to the headwaters of those streams where they came gurgling out of mile-high Appalachian granite. That pool was a basecamp, a landmark, and an anchor for all that exploring. Even now, from halfway across the country, it still holds a certain gravity that keeps pulling me back, home.

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