The AT: Volunteers

AT Volunteers

There are legions of volunteers who maintain the Appalachian Trail. I caught these two ladies clearing brush to either side of the path. How amazing that people care enough to do this!

Today I paid a little more attention to the wildlife around me.

The most exciting creature I saw was a black bear but as is always the case he ran off before I could frame a shot. Many deer did the same thing but one allowed me to get quite close … that is, until I inhaled a fly and started to cough uncontrollably. The most threatening creature was a three foot long snake which I almost stepped on. While I saw many critters I heard many more. If I were a birder I’m sure I’d have been in bird-heaven! Continue reading

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A Look Back: Climbing Ben Nevis

Cold On Ben Nevis

It was cold and wet and foggy; I wasn’t feeling so good physically. However, I was on cloud nine as I sat next to the peak marker of Ben Nevis in Scotland at over 4,400 feet.

Nowhere on my plan did I write “Oh yeah and climb England’s tallest peak.”

Nowhere!

Still, that’s what I did while visiting Fort Williams in western Scotland, on the border of the highlands. From near sea level it’s a persistent climb over several miles as you climb to the peak. At the base they were warning people off due to bad weather but when was I going to come back? Not any time soon so I put on all the layers of clothes I had and set out. It was rewarding.

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The AT: My Hike-Bike Loop

Along the Appalachian Trail, a stretch from Compton Gap to Hogback.

Finally I’m hiking wholly within Shenandoah National Park. Better still, the Appalachian Trail is roughly paralleling Skyline Drive which runs along the crest of the 105 mile long national park. As you can see above, it’s beautiful country seen on a spectacular day.

To this point I’ve had to hike the AT and then retrace my steps to get back to my car. This essentially had me walking each stretch of the AT twice, once in each direction. If covering the length of the park is my goal then this was a pretty inefficient way to go about it. With the Trail loosely following the road I now had an option. I could hike one way and bike the other. Continue reading

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