Jul
29
2009
0

Camping on Big Stamp and Other Adventures

A couple of weeks ago, while hiking in towards Sam’s Gap on the Appalachian Trail in the late afternoon, I ran across a fellow walking the opposite way.  At first glance, I thought that it was somewhat odd that he wasn’t carrying a backpack, not even a daypack.   And, as our paths inevitably crossed as we approached each other from opposite directions, he asked me “How far does this trail go?”  I told him that “This trail goes all the way to Maine.”  He laughed and said, “Yeah, right…”, then mumbled something and kept on walking.  I didn’t have the time or the inspiration to explain Benton MacKaye’s amazing vision, so I let him pass and walk on into the bliss of the unknown trail; perhaps he will figure it out some day–perhaps not.  Either way, I have decided that I have no inclination to be a public relations representative, or spokesperson, for the Appalachian Trail.  I just like to hike.

With that in mind, I actually got to do a little bit of camping recently, hiking in on the Appalachian Trail from Spivey Gap and climbing over High Rocks and Little Bald to the camp spot at Big Stamp–about 6 1/2 miles.  It had threatened rain most of the afternoon, and there were even a couple of passing showers, so I found myself walking up the mountain hills faster than I would have liked, with a 45-pound pack, hoping to set up my tent in the meadow on top of the mountain before any really bad weather struck.

big stamp

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Written by in: Trailstealth |
Jul
06
2009
0

Summer Adventures

It is easy, sometimes, to get too caught up into where you are going, and forget to enjoy the place where you are.  When I am out hiking, I try to remind myself that it isn’t always the destination that is the center of attraction, but rather the getting there.  Curbing that anxiety to be somewhere else is not always easy for me, and indeed, I see it in the eyes of the ‘thru-hikers’ that I meet sometimes.  It is easy to recognize; the robotic voice and faraway stare, as they contemplate how many more miles they have to walk to maintain their unrealistic schedules in the back of their obsessed minds.  That is why it is so refreshing, I suppose, when I meet someone who not only doesn’t have a ‘summit date’ for Katahdin planned, but doesn’t give me that look like they expect me to pull out a banjo at any moment and start picking the       theme to ‘Deliverance’.

Katahdin

Mount Katahdin in Maine

About a week and a half ago, while on a Appalachian Trail Volunteer Maintenance Work Trip near Spivey Gap with the ‘Rat Patrol’s’ trail crew, Rat and I met a fellow hiking the trail that wasn’t in too big of a hurry to get anywhere.  In fact, he stopped and told us the story about he had gotten lost a few times, walking off in the wrong direction.  I just had to laugh, having done that myself a time or two.  By the time Rat had answered all his questions, and it was time to move on, the hiker had a new trail name–‘Wrong Way’.  That is how it works sometimes, the inadvertent and unexpected has a way of sticking with you, whether you like it or not.  As I recall, I received my trail name by a similar unintended, spontaneous custom.

Rat doing trail work

Rat cleaning steps near High Rocks

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Written by in: Trailstealth |

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