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Appalachian Trail... photos and journal

Spring of 2002... In the upper south...


(Page 3 of 7 pages)


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It had been a long hard days hike when I finally arrived at McAfee Knob in the early evening. When you're in the presence of such a magnificent view, late in the day, and have it all to yourself somehow all the pain of a hard days hike is forgotten.


From my journal(May 15th) Day-29..."Seems that the days are getting longer and for the last several days now I’ve been on the trail by 6:30 a.m. It was a pleasant cool morning walk down the trail then up to Tinker Cliff, which I had, all to myself with a clear morning sunrise. It was still very windy and cold so I didn’t stay up top long and made my descent only to make another climb back up on the Tinker Ridge about 14 miles to the Troutville interchange where I had a nice all-American fast food meal at Burger King, then topped it off with a big butter pecan milkshake.

I then bought $54.00 worth of groceries and got out of this hot, noisy place. My pack is so much heavier now and hopefully enough food for the 133 miles to Waynesboro. The trail was really graded nicely north of the interchange area and I cooked a supper down at Curry Creek where I recalled camping 8 years ago and how happy that I was that evening long ago.

My momentum continued strong about a mile past Wilson Creek Shelter which was quiet with a few tents set up. I camped on a sharp ridge in a curve of the trail where I realized that I have now hiked 1/3 of the trail. "


McAfee Knob was a great way to end yesterdays hike and it was Tinker Cliffs that started off another days hike!

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This was quite a dramatic shot of a group of ants hauling off their prey... all happening directly on the Appalachian Trail unbeknownst to most who walk the trail. There's another world taking place within our own if you just make the effort to look for it... and a good macro lens helps!

Nice purples!

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Wild iris were everywhere, usually growing in patches.

Nice colors produced by the magic of the early evening sun.


From my journal(May 16th) Day-30..."This was a tough day (like they all are J) not so much due to rough terrain, but I’m packing so much food from yesterdays grocery store visit. Needless to say, I’m eating like a horse!

For the first time the trail meandered along the Blueridge Parkway at places. Floyd Mountain was a tough climb, then up to Apple Orchard Mountain at 4,225 feet and the highest point on the entire Parkway. I stopped early just past the Thunder Hill Shelter where I have my tarptent set up on a windy hill where a deer wanders nearby. I am more exhausted than usual and must eat down my pack weight! "


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This connected chain gang of some sort of black caterpillar-like warm fuzzies stretched across the trail. An interesting arrangement of nature that I still haven't figured out.

Another nice bloom to brighten the day.


From my journal(May 17th) Day-31..."Another long day on the trail and a very hot one at that! My pack weight is now much more humane and I’m not exhausted now as I was yesterday evening. I had a good momentum all day as I moved most efficiently through the forest to the point where I was looking forward to the uphill climb out of the James River valley. Only passed one south bound hiker today and two north bound section hikers… I suspect that I must now be ahead of the main thru-hiker thrust except perhaps for those who began in February or early March.

At Matt’s Creek Shelter my spirits were greatly projected upon seeing that Brawny had signed the register just yesterday with a special note taunting me something like-“Lightningbolt: So are you still planning to catch me?” After seeing that I wouldn’t go back to Trail Days if a private jet were sent for me! That moment really lifted my spirits and got my mind off of the heat and humidity of the James River basin.

Atop Bluff Mountain was a memorial to “Little Ollie” whose body was found at this spot in 1891 at age 5 after wandering away from school and getting lost. I picked and wrapped a small bouquet of white flowers then placed it on the monument and began my descent. I made it a mile or so past the Lynchburg reservoir where I’m camped down in the valley tonight. "


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Whooooah! Guess that I'd better back off again!

This must have been the day of the bug.

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And here's another one that I found but it is actually only the empty shell of the bug that was. Quite a gem to leave behind.

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