Tales of the Trail

We are off the trail now, as planned, and relaxing at Misty Mountain Inn & Cottages in Blairsville, Georgia. Cabin 4.

We came of the trail at Woody Gap.

We now have this:

Yesterday we had this:

We don’t appreciate what we have, nor do we appreciate the power and magesty of nature which we think we have conquered. But that is a delusion. It was before us, and will be after us. This infrastructure we have created is as fragile, and temporary, as a spider’s web, a butterfly’s cocoon, and a Robin’s nest.

I will soon begin a series of post entitled “What I Learned on the Trail.” Not what I learned with complete certainty, but glimpses and hints. I’m not even sure what it is I really learned. Maybe just some kind of awareness? Language struggles to convey reality. Language, and this blog post, are just facades as to what really is.


Final Gear Check


Final gear check. We leave in the morning at 9 a.m. EST.

By the way. Jenifer and I very pleased with the Altra trail runners. I did a post awhile back on them.

Brasstown Bald: Highest Mountain in Georgia

We decided to do some sightseeing before tomorrow so we visited the highest point, the highest mountain, in Georgia from where you can see four states.

Brasstown Bald. Real name is Enotah in Cherokee before the land was stolen under Andrew Jackson who ignored a Supreme Court ruling setting aside the removal. Then came the Trail of Tears.

Now it has an asphalt walking trail or you can ride up in a van. White people and semi-bored tourist.

Jenifer learns to embrace the suck.

Hiking Trail to the Top

Observation Tower

We went on this side trail aways, but not far. We were told that further in it gets hard, rated difficult, with a rock scramble.

We saw patches of black bear fur on this trail plus two rude hikers. One a Brit or some other close UK relative. You know the kind that resents other people invading their special place?

Arkaqua: A Difficult Side Trail

Dancing Bear Cabin at Misty Mountain Resort

At the Dancing Bear cabin where we will stay tonight, at Misty Mountain Resort, as well as next Friday and Saturday night. The 🐻 motif is prominent.


Early this afternoon we are going to hike up Brassbald Mountain. That post for later.

Tommorow morning we start the real hike. We are taking a shuttle from here to Amicalola State Park. An hour and 20 minute ride. Then we hike back for six days, and get get picked up at Neels Gap which is a 15 minute drive from here.

So, we will be on the trail for six days. Final gear check today.

Some rain expected this week. We are carrying pack covers, ponchos, and Gossamer Gear ultralight trekking umbrellas. No metal parts. Also wearing stuff that dries quick – no cotton.

Appalachian Trail Abventure: Almost there…

In Tennessee now, and will be in Georgia before long at Misty Mountain Resort. Will start hiking the AT on the approach trail to Springer Mountain on Sunday.

We had a few minor sit backs.

At the very last minute our dog sitter plans fell through. Minutes before we were leaving.

Jenifer’s niece, Emily, came through. First issue.

So a bit after 8 p.m. we packed up:

and left:

Next, in Pedukah Kentucky, at 3 a.m., Expedia reservations were messed up and it was about an hour until we got that fixed.

More later!

Ugly Hiking the Appalachian Trail

We are getting ready to section hike the Appalachian Trail. We will leave May 4th and come back May 13th. First time. I plan on going back next year by myself and doing four to eight weeks. God willing I will continue until I finish.

I am lucky that I have the summers off but unfortunately my wife does not. More than likely all my future hikes will be solo.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to post stories about our hike on this website, or provide a link to a Tumblr blog. Tumblr is super easy on a phone. Or maybe nothing.

I’ve been reading and watching videos about hiking the AT as well as the PCT Trail for about 2 years now. I’ve done some local hiking, and I managed to get some gear that should see us through on this walk – and see me through on subsequent hikes although I’ll make some changes. Everybody does.

I think everybody hikes these long trails ugly. They’re difficult, and you don’t know what you’re going to run into when you start. You have to plan for weeks, months, on speculation Without Really knowing what you’re really going to need and what’s just going to be getting in the way and deadweight. For example, I decided to take trekking umbrellas, in addition to ponchos as backup, for rain protection. My theory is that it’ll be easier to hike in the rain with the umbrella. These Trucking umbrellas are more popular on the PCT because a lot of the hiking there is done in the sun. Very little hiking is in the sun on the AT. We’ll see. There’s a lot of serendipity and no small amount of chaos, on even the best planned journey.

Long-distance backpacking is the ultimate in minimalism. Almost everybody packs things they think they can’t live without only to discard them later. On the Appalachian Trail people sometimes leave hundreds of dollars worth of gear behind in hiker boxes because they realize they didn’t need it after all. I’m in the process of trying to get rid of all the excess baggage in my life. I wonder what I’ll leave behind?

The beauty is of course in the landscape, but also within the inner landscape which gathers clarity on such activites. The inner you that is suppressed with all the hubbub and nonsense we deal with in our modern world. It comes out of the shadows when you’re less distracted, and you’re less concerned with the triviality that we’re bombarded with day by day. One which is social media. Also the inner struggle that happens when you make the decision if you’re going to continue or come off the trail. I want to stay on the trail to the end. Such treks truly are The Road Less Traveled.

Simple Coffee

We got rid of three coffee makers, including a Keruig, and we now have two. A Melitta black plastic pour over, and a French press.

In the past I have broken at least three glass presses, and they have a tendency to cool the coffee too quickly anyway. I started thinking that since those are known issues somebody has come up with a solution. They have.  Double-walled stainless steal French presses.

Picture of Insulated Stainless Steel French Press
Double-walled Stainless Steel French Press

For now I am keeping the Melitta since it takes up practically no room, but we have been using the French press exclusively. We gained a lot of counter space in our small kitchen, and it saves on electricity.

After I turn off the burner, I put the press down where I boiled the water to keep it hot as it seeps. I wonder if I could just boil the water in the press itself with the filter/plunger out? I don’t see why not unless it would not hold up to the heat for some reason.

These come in various sizes, from different manufacturers.

I am very satisfied with this, and do not miss the Keruig at all.  We had long ago gone to the reusable basket anyway because the cups were so expensive.

I really enjoy finding ways to simplify my life.  So far, every single step of the way has not only made things simpler, it has also made them better.