Benton MacKaye Trail Trip Video – March 8, 2015

  We had nearly perfect Spring weather for this hike last weekend in North Georgia.  My dog slept for most of the next 24 hours after our 9.7 mile loop hike on and around the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness.  Spring has finally sprung! … [Read more...]

LEN FOOTE HIKE INN, NORTH GEORGIA – TRIP VIDEO (FEBRUARY 2015)

This is a winter hike to the Len Foote Hike Inn that we did with a group of dads and sons from St. Jude Catholic Church. Kudos to the staff at the Inn - who provided outstanding customer service during our visit. What a great place.... … [Read more...]

Spring Hiking On The Benton MacKaye …

After a unseasonably cool winter, the weather finally broke and we decided to take the kids out for an overnight hike.    We did this one on a Friday night to avoid conflicts with spring sports and with spring break.  Here we are at the parking area at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail. The dog is more excited than anyone and is hauling his own food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  All in - the dog's pack weighs about 8 lbs - nearly the same weight as my empty (and aging) Dana Design backpack! Here we are climbing to Long Creek Falls along the A.T. and headed northbound.  The trail is nice and wide in this area and it is a pleasant walk to the waterfall and junction with the Benton MacKaye Trail. There is … [Read more...]

Spring Has Sprung, Time For A Hike On The Benton MacKaye …

After a unseasonably cool winter, the weather finally broke and we decided to take the kids out for an overnight hike.    We did this one on a Friday night to aviod conflicts with spring sports and with spring break.  Here we are at the parking area at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail.The dog is more excited than anyone and is hauling his own food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  All in - the dog's pack weighs about 8 lbs - nearly the same weight as my empty (and aging) Dana Design backpack!  Here we are climbing to Long Creek Falls along the A.T. and headed northbound.  The trail is nice and wide in this area and it is a pleasant walk to the waterfall and junction with the … [Read more...]

Red Flags In The Idaho Backcountry

When Mark John spotted two hikers in the backcountry of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness - something didn't seem right:  "Usually when you meet people in the back country, you have a pretty good encounter, you know, and talk about where they've been and where they're going. But they didn't want to talk," he told reporters at CNN.Salmon River - Frank Church River of No Return WildernessThe Idaho horseman was riding with his wife and another couple when he came upon James DiMaggio, 40 and Hannah Anderson, 16 who were hiking near the Salmon River.  He had a backpack, and she was wearing what looked like either sweatpants or pajamas.  "They were just like a square … [Read more...]

Search For Missing Maine Hiker Now Focuses On Trail Near Stratton, ME

The Associated Press reports that the search for a missing Maine hiker now focuses on a short section of trail near Stratton, ME: "The Maine Warden Service is narrowing the search area as it tries to determine what happened to 66-year-old Geraldine Largay of Brentwood, Tenn. She contacted her husband on July 21 from the top of Saddleback Mountain but failed to meet up with him as planned the following day.  Authorities are focusing on a 14-mile section of the trail in Carrabassett Valley, but believe the best chance of finding the missing hiker is in a nine-mile stretch between Lone Mountain and a dirt road west of Sugarloaf Mountain." Largay was last heard from on July 22nd and the search is now … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip – Part Two (Coming Soon)

Had a chance to record a podcast with Mackie recently for "The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip - Part Two".  It's in the editing room right now and should be ready for release by the end of this week. In the meantime, check out "The Ultimate Summer Roadtrip - Part One" if you haven't already.  It will get you primed for Part Two and recaps a cross-country hiking/backpacking trip I did with Snyder (aka The Ox) two years after my 1996 trip with Mackie (who is shown above at our interview in Richmond, VA). … [Read more...]

Appalachian Trail Virus Runs Rampant In North Carolina

There is a virus running rampant in shelters on the Appalachian Trail in western North Carolina. Not the best place to come down with a stomach bug!!!  No Business Knob Shelter   Press release from the U.S. Forest Service. Spokesman Stevin Westcott said he is unsure how long it will be before the virus subsides.  HOT SPRINGS — Hikers may want to avoid sections of the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs, N.C., especially the stretch running north to the Tennessee border. A number of hikers have been sickened by a severe, 24-hour stomach virus that is being passed between hikers. Shelters to avoid include No Business Knob, Big Bald and Hogback Ridge. A section of the Appalachian Trail runs through the Appalachian Ranger … [Read more...]

When The Weatherman Blows The Forecast (aka Our Epic Venture To Long Branch Shelter)

It is sunny when we leave Atlanta and the forecast is for temperatures in the 50's in nearby Franklin, N.C.  But as we drive the 2 1/2 hours north to the Appalachian Trail we spot a line of clouds and a cold front pushing in from the Northwest. Mobile checks at the Weather Channel has the forecast in constant flux - and deteriorating quickly. The light rain projected to hit in the late afternoon arrives as snow and a winter advisory is issued for North Georgia and Western N.C.  But we press on and take the Long Branch Trail two miles and 800 feet up to the ridgeline and the Appalachian Trail at Glassmine Gap. Fortunately we have heard rumors of a new shelter in this area but the two-story structure is not … [Read more...]

Long Branch Shelter replaces the old Big Springs Gap Shelter

Out with the old ... and in with the new:  The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Nantahala Hiking Club, and a local company - Goshen Timber Frames - teamed up for the construction of Long Branch Shelter near Glassmine Gap.  The new structure is located north of Standing Indian on the Appalachian Trail and about 17 miles from Franklin, N.C. The new two-story Long Branch Shelter replaces the old Big Springs Gap Shelter (shown below), which was built just north of Albert Mountain.   The Big Springs Gap Shelter is reportedly in a state of disrepair and is scheduled to be dismantled.  It is a short walk from a parking area, so the new site for the Long Branch Shelter will offer backpackers more solitude and … [Read more...]