Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Success! The connection to the Appalachian Trail

Back home with the white blazes after being away for far too long.  My ten-month double thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail began 1 January 2012 and concluded on 3 November 2012.  Last time I passed this particular place (twice on a long out-and-back day hike, as always) was on February 18, 2012.

When I touched this white blaze it marked the completion of a long, meandering three month walk from my current home on Topsail Island, NC.  The final tally: 694.43 miles from my living room to the AT at Yellow Mountain Gap on the NC-TN border.  The last steps marked the fulfillment of another leg in my 'Personal Continuous Footpath' - a series of walking adventures that are taking me back to all the places I've ever lived using nothing but my two feet for transportation. 

Today was a gorgeous sunny day, and I had to force myself to turn around and not just ramble on following the white blazes to infinity.  I had 16 miles of peaceful back-road walking to get here, and my 65-year-old body was saying 'wait until tomorrow when you can tackle this favorite piece of the AT with fresh mind and spirit.'  And so I reluctantly heeded.

So for today's agenda: getting there was all the fun.  Below is a gallery of photos with captions intended to document the experience.

Christmas Tree Hill.  This area of NC is saturated with Fraser Fir Christmas tree farms.
The long and narrow Pittman Cemetery.  Chance for a little off-road walking.
Flower meadow at Yellow Mountain Gap
Hemerocallis Fulva 'Europa' - the most widely distributed daylily.  It's considered a problem invasvive - pejoratively called the 'ditch lily.'  It's a sterile triploid, and was responsible for the emergence of the daylily as a horticultural phenomenon in the USA.  Dr. A. B. Stout  studied this, successfully breeded with it after thousands of attempts, and pioneered the field of daylily hybridizing.  Today the result is around 50,000 named varieties of daylily.  My personal contribution to the named varieties, during my daylily hybridizing career, is about a dozen.
I hope these children were okay
Old Montezuma Road - a peaceful meandering country lane

Unfortunately today's near-perfect weather can't last.  The mountain weather gods are fickle creatures.  The coming days look to be more summer-like with haze and humidity at best, and thunderstorms at worst.  

Here's the map of today's route:

Connecting to the AT at Yellow Mtn Gap at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Virginia

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