A dear friend hung himself from this tree.
I come up here a couple of times a year to visit and hike.
Nearly 30 years ago it happened, near the beginning of autumn. I was teaching school at Highland View Elementary when my principal came to my class and told me.
My friend loved to hike the Appalachian Trail, so he came to this place often; at the top of Hwy. 421 as it passes down into Shady Valley.
The tree began to die after that. It was as if it grew sad, too. It was a mighty red oak and had been very healthy 'til then.
In the first pic at the top of this page the tree can even appear to be surprised, distressed, and in great despair - all at once - if one looks for it.
Finally a few years ago the tree fell across the trail and it was sawed apart to let hikers through.
Of the thousands of hikers who've passed by this tree since all those years ago, I'm sure virtually none knew of her sorrow.
Few knew of my friend's deep sorrow, either.
So am I claiming to be an “expert” on suicide? No. But I can certainly speak from real-life experience.
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