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Appalachian Trail... photos and journal

Spring of 2002... In the deep south...


(Page 3 of 10 pages)


Welcome to North Carolina!


Finally to my first state line and it was just as I had remembered it from my previous thru-hike... just an inconspicuous place that the trail passed on the climb up to Bly Gap.

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At Bly Gap that famous old gnarled oak tree was still there like an old friend expecting my return. How could I deny it the pleasure of a picture? Wouldn't you like to have known the thousands and thousands of hiker's who have rested for a moment at the base of this truely magnificent tree over the last 75 years? Such simple mysteries like this is what lures me back to the trail year after year. Looking past the tree you can see hints of the trail heading north.

It was a very steep climb up from Bly Gap into North Carolina and I had to pause for one last look back into the mountains of northern Gerogia through the early spring growth.

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While continuing my climb up from Bly Gap the trail literally turned into a natural tunnel made from living mountain laurel. It was so thick that there were absolutely no other alternatives to the trail. I'd bet that the summer growth makes the trail quite dark along here later in the season!

Although I'd made it to Muskrat Creek Shelter, I decided to set up my tarptent atop the ridgeline above the shelter where I enjoyed the full vivid arena of a mystical orange sunset.

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Is this some kind of a bug or what!?! ...Just crawling it's way along the leaves in front of my tarpent.

Although my camera didn't pick up the true colors of this particular sunset, I was glad to be here on the ridge and not cramped up in the shelter a few hundred yards away in the dark swamp!


From my journal (April 21th) Day-5..."Wow! What a day... and my longest on the trail so far coming in just before dark at 8:00p.m. At sunrise both of my heels were swollen and sore but they limbered up as I made it on down the trail. At the Deep Gap parking area I took the Kimsey Creek Trail to Rock Gap and it was so beautiful to be off the ridge for a while and down in the lush valley. Spring had already arrived down there with so much greenery, creeks, bridges, and grassy fields.

At Wallace Gap a man picks me up and takes me to the Rainbow Springs Campground & Store run by the Crossman's for the last 18 years Mrs. Crossman told me. When I got to the front porch I was greeted by a sign that read "Hikers- Leave your backpacks on the picnic table under the gray canopy. They will be safe there because nobody wants your weight!" That reminded me of my stay here in '94 where they had signs posted for everything here!

Dr. Beep was also in the store as we carried on a hefty conversation with Mrs. Crossman as she informed us of everything from a nearby forest fire to the man who wrote funny stuff about them in his book, "A Walk In The Woods". It was really a great experience talking with such matter-of-fact and down to earth people as the Crossmans. What you see is exactly what you get with these folks and I didn't detect an ounce of grooming the conversation for nobody! They were the real deal and for those who bypass Rainbow Springs will never know... and thatís too bad.

I ate two grilled chicken sandwiches, a chocolate milk, and a pint of butter pecan ice cream, then bought a few things to get me to Wesser. Looking at my food bag tonight I must get there by lunch tomorrow because I'm almost out. I had to pass through the beautiful overlook at Wayah Bald so that I could get to here by dark, stopping only briefly at Swinging Lick Gap to sign my name as a thru-hiker on "Slim Jim's" backpack with a big black marker. They gave me a few ramps to nibble upon as I pounced toward Cold Spring Shelter where I'm now set up on the ridge facing east. It is so beautiful here! "


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Just a snail in the trail you might say!

This was an amazing root system that I found along the Kimsley Creek Trail. Sort of made me wonder how those roots got lifted up so high. This kept me quite puzzled for several days, but I later passed by a tree just like this which had evidently sprouted atop a large lock and the root system just twisted its way around the rock. Perhaps this was one possibility to my newest mystery... but what had happened to the rock?

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More beautiful flowers to brighten up my day.

Rainbow Springs Campground is about a mile down the mountain and off the trail (usually an easy hitch) and if you bypass it then you will have missed a great place and the colorful personalities know as the Crossman's who have owned and operated the campground for the last 18 years.

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The Crossman's live here with the general store down below.

Dr. Beep carrying on a heavy conversation with Mrs. Crossman inside the store.

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