Mule Knob (center) Calhoun's highest peak shown from high meadows
Forester Russ Richardson reaches the top at
1584' discovering the elevation benchmark
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist
By Bob Weaver
High places bring exhilaration to the human spirit, a magnanimous view of creation, with the brushing of weather against the face and a closeness to the mystical universe.
It has been said if one is able to quiet themselves for a few moments, there is little falsehood on a mountain.
Calhoun's highest peak is Mule Knob, between Nicut, Grannyshee, Walnut and Chloe (Rt. 16) in Washington District. It is 1584 feet high, with an unobstructed 360 degree view of the Appalachians, the world's oldest mountains.
Layered outlines of taller mountains can be seen 100 miles to the east, Webster County and beyond.
You can actually look down on the water tank beside the Mt. Zion Church miles away, and spot some of the county's other high peaks, Desert Knob (1342') near the Roane County line, and Palsor's Knob (1250') and Rattlesnake Knob (1310') not far from the Village of Hur.
The local residents claim you can see Spencer in neighboring Roane County.
Traveling to the knob with Crummies Creek forester Russ Richardson, we went by four-wheel drive though the backwoods from Nicut-Grannyshee, eventually walking up the steep precipice, a poor man's stress test.
The 2003 ice storm leaves evidence of destruction on the mountain
Richardson and his Labs work their way toward the top
Oldtimers like Scott Bailey said "At one time Homer Reip kept it clear for pasture land, having about 50 head of cattle."
Bailey said the name Mule Knob came from a Civil War incident where soldiers tied-up some mules on the mountain, the soldiers then being killed during an encounter. Locals later found the remains of the dead mules.
Mule Knob is the site of one of Calhoun's 911 radio towers.
More recently several meadows below the knob have been re-newed, with one turned into an apple orchard.
Orva Siers Parsons, wife of Paris Parsons, was born on the north flank of Mule Knob in a log cabin, she being the daughter of Harrison and Ola Weekly Siers.
More recently, her daughter Betty Parsons Earl purchased the land and cleaned it up, selling it to an out-of-state buyer.
Glendon Davisson, who resides on nearby Sears Run, said neighborhood families during his childhood had a ritual of gathering up for a picnic on Easter and walking up the mountain to spend the day.
Climbing the last 200 feet (L) nature's free stress
test - what appears to be abandoned corn sheller (R)
Forester Richardson said there are some rather unique trees on the pinnacle, including the fruit-bearing Hackberry tree, although the invasive Tree of Heaven could be found.
"There is a richness to the earth on the knob, black and loamy, a great place for mushrooms," he said.
It is comforting to gaze upon miles of our regional forest from Mule Knob, knowing that every day in the USA there is ten square miles of woodlands (6,000 acres) cleared and concreted, while thousands of acres of mountains are leveled and deforested each year in West Virginia with mountaintop mining.
Calhoun is almost 90% covered by trees.
"The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, and of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains." - John Muir (1838-1914) American naturalist