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The Best Hikes In The Southeastern U.S.

Backpacker Magazine just announced their Reader's Choice picks for the best hikes  of 2011.  Since I am most familiar with the Southeastern U.S. - I'll focus on the top picks in this area: 1. Ramsey Cascades, Great Smokies, TN - I've hiked countless miles in the Smokies and did a 30+ mile trip starting at Elkmont and ending at Laurel Creek Road, but the Ramesey Cascades have somehow escaped me.  Guess it's time to check this one out.  You can follow this link for maps of the Great Smoky … [Read more...]

Did Earl Shaffer Take A Shortcut On The First Documented Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike?

It is customary in the world of Appalachian Trail thru-hiking to pick a trail name, and in 1994 after reading Wingfoot's Thru-Hiker's Handbook - I came to realize that it was better to choose a trail name rather than have someone pick one for me. So after completing Earl Shaffer's Walking With Spring, I decided to take the trail name "BirdShooter" which was the brand name of the hiking boots that carried Earl Shaffer 2000+ miles up the East Coast and in to history as the first hiker … [Read more...]

Bears On The Appalachain Trail (At Blood Mountain)

Along The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail made the news across the media channels in Atlanta last week when the U.S. Forest Service closed a section of the trail from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap near Dahlonega, GA.  Persistent bear activity caused the trail closure in a section of trail that is heavily used by both day hikers and overnight backpackers around Blood Mountain.  My first thought was of the 2011 thru-hikers that had just started out and who were now making their way from Georgia … [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...]