Sunday, March 4, 2012

No Business

Wild flowers have no business blooming on February 25th. It was snowing minutes before I shot this!

I have no business dawdling at a hollow tree creating AT Logo "trail art". But today I took the time. Maybe it was spring fever.

The Appalachian Trail does no business on No Business Ridge. Instead it meanders ... let me rephrase ... it shamelessly gerrymanders its way along a gentle ramp-like grade from Devil's Creek Gap to Temple Hill Gap.

With intent to go north-south, it swerves westward past every swale, wash, gully and stream crossing, and it veers eastward around every buttressing ridge and prominence.

Just look at the GPS track ( below ). The trail designers clearly decided they would take charge of the topography and create a smooth elevation profile in some truly rugged and wild country - and they succeeded. For that reason, this was a very unusual stretch of trail. In terms of points of scenic interest, there was only this one decent vista, with Roan Mountain dominating the horizon.

No Business Shelter, like virtually every shelter in Tennessee, does no business with privy manufacturers. You need to do your business out in the woods. And at No Business Shelter, if you do your business down the hill behind the shelter you are doing it in the headwaters of the well-marked vigorous spring that is the shelter's water supply (a few hundred yards downstream). Who ever chose the location of No Business Shelter has no business being in the business of locating shelters.

At either end of today's 16 mile out-and-back leg, the trail got down to business. It 'behaved' more like the familiar AT I've come to know and love. From Spivey Gap it ascends 500 feet following a lively rushing mountain brook - always a pleasant walk to have the company of the roar of moving water. Then it wanders over the gentle but rocky lower slopes of Flattop Mountain until it reaches Devil's Creek Gap. On the other end, beyond Temple Hill Gap, the trail undulates up and down 50 feet or so over six distinct knobs that comprise Temple Ridge. The first of these, counting from north to south, was my turn-around-point. There is a seventh knob, which is the mother of them all: Temple Hill. But the trail bypasses this, making use of a well-designed old woods road that chooses a steady, moderate grade along this mountain's eastern slope.

Now back to the 'trail art' for a moment. I have been developing an interest in photographing the AT logo as it appears in its many manifestations along the trail. Today I was inspired by this maintainer's chain-saw 'masterpiece' on a huge-diameter blow-down tulip poplar tree at Temple Hill Gap.

I took the inspiration and went wild. I plead temporary insanity. I manufactured several more trail-side logos and found one occurring naturally in roots on the treadway. For an hour or so I fancied myself the 'mysterious trail-art phantom' who leaves the logo as evidence of his passing. I even thought of carrying a scissors to cut logos in rhododendron leaves. It would be a grand obsession, but it won't work. No, I can have no business other than my stated 'mission' - Georgia to Maine and back, all by day hikes, passing every white blaze twice and visiting every shelter, documenting my hike here.

No, I'll do no business with distractions, even attractive, appealing ones (visiting friends, eating at restaurants, staying at motels) lest they undermine the 'prime directive': 4368.4 miles or BUST!


Here's the promised track with link to more photos:

AT Day 50 - No Business Ridge at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in North Carolina

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