10.9.2018 Black Mountain Hike by Stephanie Hewgley

Last Tuesday Oct. 2, I signed up to go on a waterfalls tour with Tennessee state parks. The adventure involved a lot of hiking; however, the scenery was beautiful and I loved learning the history from ranger Randy Hedgepath, the State of Tennessee naturalist. On the last day of the tour our agenda was totally changed after discussion with the group.  Ranger Randy decided to take us to the top of Black Mountain overlook. He told us it was the origin of the tune Black Mountain Rag. His favorite version was played by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Well, it was a beautiful overlook and being the skeptic that I am did some research. Black Mountain Rag is the title of one of the most popular fiddle tunes in history. It became popular in the 30's under the name "Black Mountain Blues" after the name of a mountain in Cumberland County, Tenn. It was purchased in 2002 and has been managed by the park system near Crab Orchard TN. Not up for a hike? Then as you drive toward Knoxville on I40 look for the mountain with the big radar tower on top when you get near the Crab Orchard exit.  That would be Black Mountain.  The radar is used to direct planes into the Nashville airport.