I have to dedicate this song to a buddy of mine who is a long-time resident of Buena Vista, Va. Sitting around a campfire one day along the Little Irish Creek forest road on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, talking about my many hikes, as I often do, John mentioned the story of Ottie Powell, who died just a few miles from where we were camping at that night. He was found on Bluff Mountain where the Appalachian Trail crosses the peak now, just above where Blue Ridge Parkway's Bluff Mt. Tunnel goes through the mountain. I remember reading about this 4 year old years before while reading about hiking the Appalachian Trail, which I plan to do when I am able (after retirement). This little guy walked miles to the top of Bluff Mountain, above the town of Buena Vista, one autumn day after getting lost from his schoolhouse collecting firewood. I then learned that there was a book published about his ordeal back in 1925. I went to the Library of Virginia to read about little Ottie. I read that book and put most of its contents on one of my websites, linked from www.HikerMania.com. I recall hiking to the site of Ottie's death and how strenuous that hike up that mountain was. I couldn't imagine a 4 year old doing that walk, while scared and freezing. That night there was freezing rain and snow. He died just hours after getting to the top, known because of his undigested food in his stomach. His daddy was a preacher. I took that information and put a twist on the story about him wanting to meet the Man half way to heaven. There are stories of hikers on the Appalachian Trail hearing a little boy in the woods on top of Bluff Mountain. Today when one visits the memorial on top of the mountain, hikers leave little toys and rocks for the little guy to play with and for 'safe passage' through that area of the woods. Read the story yourself and check out the links towards the bottom of this page which shows that USA Today's 10 most haunted hikes in America include Ottie's wandering stretch along the A.T. I am very proud of the chorus in this song. This song was the very first song I wrote. I had to edit it down to about a quarter of the size it once was. It is always tough to edit down a song because so much effort was put in it. Having to decide which parts must go is not fun. Did I mention I love the chorus on this one? I feel it is very catchy.

The USA Today's top 10 Haunted hikes in the nation includes Ottie Powell's haunt. Click Here

My site detailing the research I did on Ottie's fatefull journey. Click Here

Meet The Man Half Way

Copyright Registered with the Library of Congress as: Delbridge Lyrics Volume 1, September, 2010
© 2010 J. Andy Delbridge

Printable version click here

The Blue Ridge glowed peacefully from the day’s first rays
1891--a cold Autumn day
Teacher from Dancin’ Creek sent the students for firewood
Little Ottie Powell gathered what he could

As Ottie tried to free a stubborn chestnut limb
The other boys returned to class way ahead of him
The lost boy began to run chased only by his fears
Ran up the mountain until he disappeared

His little legs took him so far and so high
So high he touched the sky where the hawks and eagles fly
Fighting Mother Nature the boy could not win
On that cold, Virginia mountain chilled by the wind
He went up that mountain some say
To meet the Man half way

He ran for miles 'til he reached Bluff Mountain peak
He laid down, closed his eyes, started his final sleep
In just one more week he would’ve turned five
Never again would anyone see him alive

After five months, the news quickly spread
His body found with his hat still on his head
The very next day the grieving neighbors gathered around
That sad April day little Ottie was laid in the ground

Repeat Chorus

Today hikers speak of a phenomenal tale
As they camp on Bluff Mountain on the Appalachian Trail
They hear the giggles of a boy whose out of sight
Who never is seen in the dim moon light

He went up that mountain some say
To meet the Man half way
Above Buena Vista that day, he met God half way

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Ottie's grave in the shadows of the Blue Ridge
photo of grave courtesy of Daniel Mays

The Peak of Bluff Mountain where Ottie Met the Man

Return to Valley Bridge Lyrics

Updated September, 2010

Please contact me. andy@delbridge.net

Andy Delbridge