The AT: My Two-Hike Overnighters

Butterfly

Though I don’t pay much attention to them, there is a huge variety of insects to be seen along the trail. One of these hikes I’ll need to focus on them but until then I’ll just keep avoiding them underfoot.

First it was an idea and then an accomplishment. Within 24 hours I hiked 22 miles and biked 17.5 miles and in between I slept like a log on Loft Mountain. This took me half way through the South District of Shenandoah. My second time out I hiked an even more ambitious 23.1 miles and biked 22.1 miles while collapsing at a Days Inn overnight. I was going out with a bang! (Or a thud!)

Allow me to give you a feel for what a day hike along the AT is like. The picture below I took early on my first day. From this view point you can see Loft Mountain in the distance. Over hill and dale the day’s hike was 13 miles and this is what it looked like. Good thing I didn’t expose myself to this ominous prospect too often or I might have given up!

 13 Mile Hike

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A Look Back: Shooting Eyes at the National Zoo

Eagle Eye

This noble picture has found its way into several web sites and one book. I don’t shoot to get published but I have to be honest and say it certainly feels good when people ask to use my pictures!

Many of the animals I see along the Appalachian Trail I see only fleetingly. Bears scamper off often before you can even focus on them. Deer may pause and stare but it’s only seconds before they bound away. Rarely do I have the privilege of staying in their presence for very long.

OK, so at the zoo they’re confined and that explains why they can’t run away!However, nowadays animals are not caged and they’re treated quite well within their confinement habitats. At the zoo I’m able to linger in their presence and that’s what I was looking for to put my new lens to quick use last Christmas.

I went to the National Zoo to focus on animals’ eyes.

Click here to view a reprise of my old blog post.

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The AT: Two More Hikes Down

AT - Two More Hikes Down

The haze and the foliage conspire to create a sense of “softness” to views from atop Shenanadoah NP. Rather that resent its fogging affect in photography I’ve come to enjoy the mood that it sets.

Rocks. They stand in stark contrast to the misty softness which pervades the park and rocks define some of her most interesting features. Three I’ve hiked are Old Rag Mtn, Stoney Man, and Bearfence Mountain. All three are excellent examples of this.

AT - Two More Hikes Down 1

This week I hiked twice. Once took me past my half-way point, from Hawkbill Gap to Booten Gap (10.2 miles). Another took me to the two thirds marker at Swift Run Gap (11.3 miles) where US 33 crosses the park. With four more day hikes I’ll achieve my goal and be in Waynesboro!

The AT in Shenandoah is at a high altitude and is usually much cooler than the surrounding lowlands. This explains why it was a popular get-away for the rich and the powerful in D.C. before the days of airconditioning. This week has been particularly pleasant for hiking as it’s been unseasonably cool and dry. My first hike started at 64 degrees; my second hike at 59 degrees. On neither day did the temp break above 80.  Continue reading

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