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Appalachian Trail... photos and journal

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


(Page 7 of 10 pages)


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All that I can say is that it was hard to leave Brown Gap after an hours worth of fresh eggs, sausage, orange juice, and so many fine people but the trail was calling.

Lots of good talk around here!

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Walking across the great expanse of Max Patch.

Sort of neat looking across Max Patch toward this family enjoying the day!

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The forest was begining to sprout into summer.


From my journal(April 29th) Day-13..."Like in most trail towns, once I'm there for a night it's usually a slow-go to get out of town the next morning and so it was with Hot Springs. I was at the grocery store when it opened at 8:00 a.m. and bought about three days worth of food to get me to Erwin. At 8:30 a.m. I sat down with about fifteen other guests of Elmer's for an organic breakfast of fruit, muffins, granola, and soymilk. Elmer himself sat beside me and we talked various trail conversation.

Later I was on my way walking down Main Street and across the beautiful French Broad River which is a very popular whitewater rafting destination. It was a pleasant walk through town when right before crossing the bridge I hear a car screech to a halt with someone yelling "BOLT!". It was hard to believe but it was Jester from the A.T. class of '94. It was great to see Jester after eight years and we talked for a few minutes but he was in a hurry to get his daughter to a doctor appointment so before I knew it I was climbing the steep trail as it made it's way quickly high above the low river basin. What a truly small world this is!

It was a steep climb to get back up on the ridge but it was so good to be back! I'm stealth camped on a ridge just before the Blackstack Cliffs and it's turning out to be a nice cool night. "


Welcome to Hot Springs, North Carolina


I stayed at the very granola-like hostel known as Elmer's and speaking as a southern conservative I must say that it was a most enjoyable stay!

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Just downtown Hot Springs.

As I was leaving town it was great to run into Jester from my '94 AT thru-hike. He was now married and taking his daughter to the doctor so our visit was short but as with anyone who has had the fortune to know Jester... always unforgetable!

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While climbing back up on the ridge there were several great views looking back down on town!

A covered spring along the trail is always a welcomed thing.


From my journal(April 30th) Day-14..."Wow! Exactly two weeks on the trail and Iíll be in Erwin, Tennessee tomorrow. I believe that my body is finally adjusted to moving gracefully through the forest again and my first 30-plus mile day didnít seem to take a toll on me physically. It was mostly a very nice walk although there were a few bumps in the road to get over such as Bald Mountain. Passed through some old home places that were rotting back into the earth and I couldnít help but to wonder who were the people that had made their lives here far back in the hills many years ago???

Also passed by some very old gravesites dating back to the mid-1800ís. As I walked down the trail I desperately wanted to know just who these people were, what were their dreams and goals? I would never know because they were now gone, but the simple curiosity of their graves and home sites left behind gave me new insight to the importance of the moment. I was now alive and making an attempt to live my dreams and it was these thoughts that flowed through my head as I moved on down the trail on this warm April morning.

The woods seemed more alive today than ever before with honey bees and butterflies hustling all the flowers for their precious life-giving pollen. It was fun to watch their busy action while alleviating the encroachment of pain that the trail would too often sneak into my body.

There is a 70 percent chance of rain tonight with the potential of hail according to local weather broadcasts so Iíve got both sides of my tarptent staked down low to the ground. Iím in a thick loamy forest floor, which should soak up the rain like a sponge if it comes. "


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A nice red maple sprout.

I had to chase this peppy white butterfly for quite a while before it would let me get this quick shot.

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An occasional surprise awaited hikers near a few of the highway crossings.

Inside I found pure gold!

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