As a girl growing up in the mining camps of Clairfield, roaming the “strip roads” with my father, we always had Cumberland Mountain on the far horizon as our landmark. To me it was a wall dividing two worlds, and I was forever curious about the world on the other side of the mountain. Everything on the southeast side of the mountain was known as “the valley,” a place people dreamed of living someday. The western side of Cumberland Mountain with its coalmines and deep hollows is a stark contrast to the eastern side of the mountain with its lush pastureland and farms, with Norris Lake in the distance. Having a place in the valley meant that you were successful and had “moved up” in the world. When I hike Cumberland Mountain, I am still struck by the contrast between these two worlds. On a clear day you might hear the heavy equipment of the mines on the western side of the mountains while the cattle are bellowing on the eastern side. As an adult, I have lived in both worlds and enjoy each for what it has to offer. The “hollers” and streams on the western side are wild and beautiful, while the bucolic scenes on the eastern side are peaceful and serene. –SP

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