Category Archives: Appalachian Trail
Thanks to Ryan for taking us on a peaks and valleys trek of the Smokies. It’s great seeing this park from a different perspective!
Much like life, I believe the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) is best understood and appreciated only after both the peaks and valleys have been explored.
The Park’s high country along the Appalachian Trail offers spectacular views and miles of knife’s edge ridgewalking. However, the lesser known (and lower elevation) trails explore the Park’s vastness, with massive trees, huge creeks, and large mammals (bears and boars) that dwarf the hiker.
We chose a nice weekend loop that offered a taste of everything. Let’s get walking!
Me, my brother in law Dylan, and close friend Jonathon on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). As you can see, we’re pretty tough dudes, so the wild boar we stumbled upon in the Park absolutely made the right choice to just keep walking. April 2017.
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Y’all come sit by the fire now…it’s story time! (Tales, Poems, and Songs for the Appalachian Trail Hiker)
What’s a hike along the Appalachian Trail without a good fireside tale? Let Robert W. Service (1874-1958), known as “the Bard of the Yukon,” warm your bones with this classic chiller poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.
Thanks to Sarah and Jay for the tasty tip and positive review of one of the many eateries on the Appalachian Trail!
March 24, 2017
Midmorning, leaving Hot Springs, NC, brunch at the Smoky Mountain Diner called to us. Deviating from the trail slightly, we left our packs on the back porch, and came inside to discover every table filled! As we stood in the doorway, wondering whether we’d be eating trail food for breakfast, a lady about our age beckoned us over and said, “I’ll share my table, if you want.” We didn’t need to be told twice! We quickly sat down and introduced ourselves. Maureen was visiting the town with friends, and seemed enchanted to share a breakfast table with two thru-hikers. We, on the other hand, were delighted to spend time with a person whose interests were wide-ranging and varied. The conversation was lively and diverse.
When we each ordered two entrees from the menu, Maureen’s eyes bugged out a bit, then her expression cleared. ”Oh, will you be…
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Flashback Friday: “And now you know…the rest of the story.” (thanks to Paul Harvey)
Since nothing betters the disposition like hot soup, I put some on the stove in quick order. I mulled my state of affairs over as the brew simmered. I was grounded on the summit in a snowstorm, the extent of which I could only speculate. I had checked the weather forecast before setting out and no storms were imminent. Yet, I harbored no illusions. I realized New England mountain conditions could wax volatile and cruel abruptly. I was in for a doubtful spell of waiting. As this was my first day on a week-long trip, I was provisioned with ample food. I reckoned if the situation turned dire I would break into the summit house, set off the alarm, and precipitate a rescue. Hopefully that would summon help.
The tram cables screeched long into the night and into a foggy Monday morning. The winds…
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Flashback Sunday: though winter is “officially” over, I’m reminded how fickle and unpredictable it can be!
As I mounted the North flank of Jay Peak in Vermont it became plain that I was going to be snowed in. During my climb ponderous clouds unleashed snowfall. The wind lashed ice pellets at my face with shotgun blast intensity. My breathing was strained, my hands were losing sensitivity, and my field of vision was diminished to mere feet.
I knew the crest was within reach in about ten more minutes of hiking. Even so, I knew that if conditions continued to worsen at the rate I observed them, the trail would become concealed in a torrent of white and I would be stumbling for direction in a blizzard. Instantly I knew what it felt like to be apprehended by a blizzard without reference points.
I fished my compass from my pocket and formed my best calculation, slogging forward through drifts of snow which threatened to bury the way…
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Remembering Jack and Wayne along the Appalachian Trail!
This is neither Jack nor Wayne. It is the Real Hiking Viking. But, when I look at him it reminds me of the wonderful wildness that was Jack and Wayne, and they looked very much like him.
The story you are about to read is true; photographic existence of the parties mentioned has yet to be discovered.
Straight up and down; then straight up and down again! Georgia trail maintainers seemed clueless about the need for switchbacks on the Appalachian Trail, which made the footpath through the infamous Georgia gaps more of a roller-coaster endurance test than a pleasant trail. Fortunately for backpackers and hikers tracing the AT through the southern Appalachians Jack and Wayne were there. Or maybe not.
Jack and Wayne appeared with a shock – all laughs and boisterousness – on day three of my hike. The rigors of the trek had thinned the crowd into…
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