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Nancy Simpson's LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE, New and Selected Poems was published by Carolina Wren Press (N.C. Laureate Series, 2010.) She is the author of ACROSS WATER and NIGHT STUDENT, State Street Press, still available on WWW at Alibris and Books Again. Her poems have been published in Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review and other literary magazines. "Carolina Bluebirds" was published in THE POETS GUIDE TO THE BIRDS, Anhinga Press). "Grass" was reprinted in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Southern Poetry Review: DON'T LEAVE HUNGRY ( U.of Arkansas Press.) Seven poems were reprinted in the textbook, SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN POETRY,(McFarland.) Two poems were published in SOLO CAFE, Two more poems were published in SOLO NOVO."In the Nantahala Gorge" was published in Pisgah Review. "Studying Winter" was reprinted in Pirene's Fountain Anthology and "The Collection" in Collecting Life Anthology. Most recently, Southern Poetry Review Edited by James Smith, published "Our Great Depression," and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. VII: NORTH CAROLINA,Edited by William Wright, reprinted "Leaving in the Dead of Winter."

Sunday, May 29, 2011


One year ago, my heart slowed. I could barely walk room to room in my own home. After the resynchronization of my heart pump, one year later, I found myself out and about, wanting to walk.

This was my first walk, although if I recall correctly, I sat most of the time in a car and was driven to Lake Chatuge 
and to the banks of The Hiwassee River.

The year 2011 will go down as the year I fell in love with that river - the Hiwassee River. I walked along its banks in a number of places. Some of these riverbanks, I had walked on before.  Others I've only just discovered within the last few months. This is the year I connected the dots and realized that these special places where I walked were all the same waters belonging to  the Hiwassee. This is the year my heart beat with new joy. Walking along the banks of the Hiwassee River, I became well again. 

Walking with Jeremy.

Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, there is a river named Hiwassee. The Hiwassee River has its headwaters on the north slope of Rocky Mountain in Towns County in Georgia. It skirts the town of Hiawassee in Georgia. The river flows northward into Clay County, North Carolina into Lake Chatuge,.  

Lake Chatuge is a long-time favorite place of my entire family. We have walked there, swam there, picnicked, attended weddings there. I have gone there many nights with family members during past years to see the moon reach fullness.

Lake Chatuge  is a control dam and a hydroelectric dam on the Hiwassee River owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.  They built the damn in the early 1940s. The dam impounds this 7,000 acre lake that shores on the North Carolina - Georgia state lines.

Memory came back to me of a special boat trip in 2005 with my Simpson cousin Kathleen Larsen and her family, with my son Tim, his wife and children and with my sister Dorothy and with our dear Aunt Mozelle. On that day we navigated all of
Lake Chatuge on the N. C. side and all of the Hiwassee River to the far side of the town Hiawassee on the Georgia side.
Lake Chatuge as viewed from Ramey Mountain in Georgia.

Lake Chatuge as viewed from the top of Cherry Mountain in Hayesville, NC.

The Hiawassee River flows from Chatuge Dam, into the town of Hayesville, (where I live) across Clay County  (the county where I live) and then flows into Cherokee County through the town of Murphy, NC, near the home of poet Mary Ricketson, author of I Hear The River Call My Name ( Finishing Line Press.) The Hiwassee River flows westward into Tennessee, and into the great Tennessee River a few miles west of State Highway 58 in Meigs County Tennessee.

Photo above taken on Hiwassee River at the point where it leaves Lake Chatuge at Chatuge Dam.

Photo taken of Hiwassee River as it  moves toward the town of Hayesville in Clay County, NC.

The Hiwassee River has been known by various names and spellings, including Eufasee, Eufassee, Euphasee, Heia Wassea, Highwassee, and Quannessee. Some Cherokee scholars believe that the name came from the Cherokee word "Ayuhwasi", which means a meadow or savanna.
The Hiawassee River today passes through Clay County, NC, passes near downtown Hayesville at the site of the ruins of Spike Buck Mound and what remains as a “historical site” of  the Indian town named Quanasee.

These photos were taken as I walked with Tim along the banks of the Hiwassee River as it flows past what
remains of the Indian Town of Quanasee (in site of present day Hayesville.)

Photos taken at the historical site of Spike Buck Mound,
in sight of present day Hayesville, NC,

Spike Buck Mound at what was once Quanasee.

Lynn planned a March Forth on March 4th program.  I know she was trying to encourage me to keep walking, but the challenge for me was that I had to go someplace I had never been before. A friend told me about Mission Dam in Clay County.  We went there for a walk.

The Hiwassee River as it flowed along beside the river road was a magnificent sight to see. That is
the very day I  began to connect the dots. I understood that I had been walking all these months beside the same river.  From that day forward, I've had to admit, I am in love with with this river - the Hiwassee River.

 Our walk came to a quick end  by KEEP OUT signs posted for our safety by Duke Power Company. 

History Also says - The Hiwassee River and its tributaries were part of the homeland of the Cherokee in the early 18th century. A town known as "Hiwassee" (Ayuhwasi) was located near the mouth of Peachtree Creek near Murphy, NC. The Valley River contained many Cherokee towns, sometimes collectively called the "Valley Towns", from what is now Andrews, NC, near the headwaters of Valley River to its mouth at Murphy. The Cherokee town known as Great Hiawassee (Ayuhwasi Egwahi) was located in today's Polk County, Tennessee, where the Hiwassee River emerges from the mountains.
The Hiawassee River system has history in Hydrography also, being dammed by the Tennssse Valley Authority (TVA) in three locations, all three in Western North Carolina: The river is dammed by the  Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) all in western North Carolina:  Chatuge Dam in Clay County, Hiwassee Dam in Cherokee County, and Apalachia Dam, in far Western North Carolina near the Tennessee State Line.  Water is diverted from the stream bed at Apalachia Dam and sent through a pipeline which is tunneled through the mountains for eight miles (13 km), then gravity-fed through the Apalachia Powerhouse to generate electricity. The stretch of the river that flows between Apalachia Dam and Apalachia Powerhouse features reduced flow and is shadowed by the John Muir Trail in Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest.  

This photo was taken on one of my spring walks, Easter Sunday 2011 while walking at Hamilton Gardens that slopes on the hillside shore of Lake Chatuge near Hiawassee, Georgia.

Walking with Tim at Lake Chatuge on the Hayesville, NC side
at Chatuge Dam, on Mother's Day.


Brenda Kay Ledford said...

What lovely, peaceful photos of Hiwassee River. It is a beautiful body of water. I'm so glad you and your family could walk together and enjoy this lovely scene.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I'm happy that your heart was healed and that you were able to walk without breathlessness. Ah, but then you saw the river and were breathless, again!

Nancy Simpson said...

True, Joan Ellen. You get it.