Sunday, January 1, 2012

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year to friends, family and followers.

The adventure began today, and I was blessed to be hiking one of the most scenic sections of the Appalachian Trail that I've experienced to date. I've uploaded ten new photos from today's trek to my Panoramio page. (Sorry, link is no longer functional.) These are mostly shots from vistas but also of the impressive tilted monolith called Hay Rock.
Here's just a teaser - taken from Tinker Mountain--a long knife edge ridge--and looking south to Carvin Cove Reservoir, the City of Roanoke water supply. It was early morning, and low clouds were lingering from overnight's 'steaming water' - it was a cold frosty morning. The highest peak in the distance, right of center is McAfee Knob.

Later in the day some gnarly clouds began to roll through, and I even had enough rain to break out my rain jacket and cover my backpack with a large plastic trash bag.

I wasn't alone in being caught in the rain. I met more than half a dozen casual day-hikers--this is a popular section of trail for obvious reasons. Everybody got back to civilization safely.

Earlier in the day, and farther out into the wilderness I came across two serious backpackers. One of them, 'Free To Go', is planning a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail starting April 15th. He was taking this weekend on the trail to break in equipment. A big-bearded mountain of a man, I expect he'll succeed. He's already done the Appalachian Trail--North Bound thru-hiker in 1995.

I hiked from before sunrise until after sunset, made it all the way to Lambert's Meadow Shelter and back - total of almost 17.5 miles. I'm a little worn out, but expect to be able to recover with a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow and Tuesday the weather is turning bitter--forecast not to get above freezing even in the lowlands on Tuesday. Fortunately it appears that this cold air will push in dry--no snow accumulation to speak of (fingers crossed).

OK, off to get a little shut-eye.


Here's Haystack Rock and a couple more scenes from viewpoints.  Following that are the day's GPS track and elevation profile, and lastly my entry and that of 'Free to Go' in the trail register at Lamberts Meadow Shelter,

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