Let’s Take a Walk

I hiked the Appalachian trail North Bound (NoBo) starting in Georgia on April 1st, 2015 and made my way north through 14 states.  My trek was a little different than most as I skipped over a segment between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to escape dangerous heat and to arrive at Mount Katahdin before it closed for the season.  I then returned to Pennsylvania and hiked north to Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts in completion of my thru hike with 2,189.3 miles done!

Join me on my journey:

Georgia:

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Welcome to the Georgia mist, there was an eerie beauty to it

 

North Carolina:

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Red Eft settled into the middle of the trail, just one more obstacle in a day
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It was a rough day in the rain and her blanket was needed
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Pausing to appreciate the most simplistic beauty

 

Tennessee:

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Hump Mountain had more false summits than should be permitted

 

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When you take time to look around you will discover beauty hidden in the most unexpected places

 

Virginia:

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Wind Gap: Nothing compares to sitting down with dinner after a long day of hiking and having a life sized screen to watch as the colors paint the sky

 

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Virginia Creeper making its way up to the tell tale “White Blaze” of the AT

 

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Goats Beard in seed after a light rain, this beauty was the size of a baseball

 

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Looking out from Whitetop Mountain during morning light.  It’s hard to complain about this view while doing a little morning stretching.

 

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Tucked just of trail this little one was doing just what it should while waiting for mom to return

 

West Virginia:

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Standing at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry

 

Maryland:

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I-70 Footbridge

 

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No Shame hanging out on High Rock

 

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High Rock

 

Pennsylvania:

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Hiker trash fashion!

 

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The corn field welcoming us into Boiling Springs

 

Massachusetts:

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Looking out from Mt. Greylock as we got ready to settle into the first portion of our leap-frog

 

Vermont:

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Watching the sunset from atop Killington, No Shame couldn’t help but be the star of the show

 

New Hampshire:

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Mount Mousilauke cairn.  The weather changes so quickly atop these mountains, shortly after capturing this image we watched a storm cloud encroaching turning the sky a deep dark grey.
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Looking along the Franconia Ridge to Mt. Lafayette.
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Lake of the Clouds, aptly named.  This trail sends you just below this lake and unless you know to duck around to the backside of it you’ll never see this view.
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Mount Washington is known for its unpredictable weather.  We’d enjoyed a beautiful day at Lake of the Clouds looking out across the ranges with few clouds in the sky.  Our morning was very different as we woke to a heavy grey cloud cover.  This stretch of trail is just south of the summit along the AT.

Maine:

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There was this small opening in the trees along the water, from it you had the most stunning view of the lake.  As the sun set I listened to the calls of the loons and appreciated the simplicity of the woods.  Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to

 

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Woke to crisp reflections and mist rising off the water.  There is nothing like this in the “real world”.  Antlers Campsite in the 100 Mile Wilderness.

 

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Looking down Hunt trail from the Table Top of Katahdin

 

Pennsylvania (again):

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Bladder Campion covered in dew

New Jersey:

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Sunfish Pond, the story of how the trail provides for us all:

 

I had very few places on trail where I felt uncomfortable in a situation but this was one of them.  I had stopped for lunch pond side when this man came out of the woods, literally bushwhacking.  He asked to join me on the stone beach where I was seated I quietly gestured to the rocks.  As we sat there chatting he complimented the sound of the bell on my dogs harness, the dog who was laying down sleeping, who had been laying still for the past 20 minutes. This was the moment when the quiet voice inside my head got a bit louder, the voice that when you’re alone in the woods on a epic journey you key in on and trust.He finished his meal before me and headed north along the trail.  I slowly packed up, hoping to put a little distance between the two of us.  In the course of the next 15 minutes we managed to leapfrog each other a number of times.  Once again he was ahead of me and I paused to talk with some day hikers, again trying to create space.  I hiked off confident in the fact that he was 10 minutes ahead of me and branching off the AT.  And yet he came crashing out of the trees with no obvious trail near by, a map flapped in his hand and he rushed up to me sputtering about how the trails had changed and he couldn’t figure out where he was on the map.  I stopped to problem solve, I knew where he wanted to be and where I was going were two different places in different directions.  We looked over the map but he seemed unable to accept the reality of which trail he needed to be on, that the AT would not in fact loop back around to where he’d started earlier in the day.  Just as I was about to point in a direction and tell him to hike I heard footsteps headed our way.  I look up from the map to be greeted by a friendly face, a face I’d seen earlier in the day and who had been extremely excited for my journey.  I raised a hand and greeted him by name with much more volume than necessary.  I quickly explained the dilemma of the guy with the map and expressed the fact I was going a different direction.  Without pause he looked me straight in the eyes and stated that he would walk the man out, he was headed that way and it would be nice to have company.  As we looked at each other I was reminded of how the trail brings forth the generosity, compassion, and vigilance of those surrounding us.  Things which often get lost in our day to day rush in the “real world”.  Thank you for taking the time to look out for me which allowed me to continue my journey feeling safe knowing the trail would continue to provide.

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There was no variation between the trail and the surrounding forest once the leaves had fallen.  One can not complain when the world surrounding them is a blanket of yellow.

New York:

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Looking out to the Hudson River and New York City from West Mountain Shelter
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Standing at the road crossing at the base of Bear Mountain.  I hesitated to pause for this picture for fear I would get smooshed by a passing motorist but standing there in the moment with the autumn air playing around me and the smell of warm leaves I couldn’t pass up the imagery.

Connecticut:20151106_131820

Massachusetts (again):

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No Shame hiding from the rain while I finished breaking down the tent and packed my gear
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Beartown Mountain Rd.  This road crossing is fresh in my mind.  The beauty of the mist late in the morning provided an eerie element to the day.
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Mt. Greylock bathed in evening light as I made my final dash to the monument.  The place where I began my leapfrog and ended my thru hike!!!
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Joyous leaps into the air as friends and family celebrate the final moments of my journey!

 

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