Spring Has Sprung, Time For A Hike On The Benton MacKaye …

After a unseasonably cool winter, the weather finally broke and we decided to take the kids out for an overnight hike. We did this one on a Friday night to avoid conflicts with spring sports and with spring break.  Here we are at the parking area at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail. The dog is more excited than anyone and is hauling his own food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  All in - the dog's pack weighs about 8 lbs - nearly the same weight as my empty (and aging) Dana … [Read more...]

Bill Irwin, First Blind Hiker To Hike The Appalachian Trail, Passes Over The Weekend

I read Bill Irwin's book during my 1994 thru-hike - very inspiring.  He was the first blind hiker to hike the entire Appalachian Trail and did it with the assistance of his dog Orient.  Sad to hear that he has passed over the weekend: "Bill Irwin, who in 1990 became the first and only blind person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail without human assistance or companionship, died Saturday morning." A video story on You Tube...             … [Read more...]

Letting Rebel Go: Saying Goodbye To Man’s Best Friend

I miss my dog – not that I don’t have a new one, but I can’t forget my old one. It was 18 months ago, when Rebel sat outside the door watching me pack for a hike to The Perch in North Georgia. He died within ten days of that trip, and I vividly recall (and photographed) him sitting by my shop door – barking as if to join me. Arthritis kept him from the trail in his later years, but he never gave up hope that I might take him along. I have a new dog now, and he too has taken to the trail … [Read more...]

There Is Magic On The Appalachian Trail

Spring is a special time on the Appalachian Trail. Every year, 2000+ people show up at Springer Mountain (the official start of the A.T. in Georgia) to head north. In 1994, I was one of those people - and ever since I pause for a moment to think about the next group to head North. This year, I had a friend making the annual pilgrimage and drove across town to meet Scott "Zip" Willits on 3/16/12. We met up at his sister's house in metro-Atlanta, and it was a beautiful spring day - the kind … [Read more...]

Springer Fever

I always get nostalgic this time of year for a hike to Springer Mountain on the Appalachian Trail (or on the A.T. as it is more affectionately called).  It was 17 years ago this April that I left Amicalola Falls State Park near Dahlonega, Georgia and began a 2000+ mile thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Since then, the A.T. has had countless hours of volunteer work to maintain, upgrade, and re-route the footpath which has added nearly 30 miles to the route since 1994 (the year of my … [Read more...]