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.