Big Hike Part 2

April 20, 2007

Here is the view from the top of McAfee Knob, a popular highest-point-for-miles-around destination. You can see the whole ridge that I walked along (12 miles total) along the right side and the green valley below is where I rode my bike to complete the "hike and bike." It was pretty tiring, but I love the way I can see where I'm going and then after a few hours of walking, I'm actually there.

Tourism on my Rest Day

April 18, 2007

After the big hike I took a rest day and went to visit Thomas Jefferson's country retreat, Poplar Forest. It had a big fire in 1845 after which it was heavily remodeled (in Greek Revival style) so the restoration has been a major undertaking. The interior is in progress, so the tour shows lots of the exposed construction - lots of fun. Like Monticello, there are huge tulip poplar trees each with its own lightning rod.

It has been a somber experience being here so close to Blacksburg during the events surrounding the killings. People are wearing their VT hats, car and mailbox banners, sweatshirts, etc. to show their feelings and support.

Tinker Mountain - Big Hike Part I

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Here's a postcard-type view from the Tinker Mountain, a 10-mile ridge walk with views of a reservoir on one side and the toy landscape of farms, railroad tracks, and subdivisions on the other side. The white blazes mark the Appalachian Trail.

Crossing the Great Valley

Monday, April 16, 2007

The sun came out, shining between big fluffy clouds pushed by high winds. I hoped that most of the trees would have fallen during the night, so by morning it would be safe to hike up on the mountain. At the end the Trail crossed the Great Valley (geological reference) through a cow pasture where a couple of the really big black cows acted like they didn't want me to go by. I waited a while and eventually they moved along off the path, but I was a little scared of them.

Next I crossed the railroad - here's the train I waited for before stepping over the tracks. I also crossed under I-81, but it's not so photogenic.

More about Staunton

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Artworks which I passed while cruising through Staunton. I wonder, are there more of them?

On the Trail ... almost

April 14, 2007

As I headed south to begin my new lifestyle as professional AT hiker, the big Nor'easter was coming our way, causing a few rainy days.

I detoured from the Trail in Staunton, Virginia, to visit the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson.

I learned about his Scotch-Irish Presbyterian minister family. Interesting. I thought of him as an Ivy-leaguer because he was a Princeton prof, but he was the son of an immigrant mom, and I can see his desire for education in the context of the family educated as ministers.

He only lived in Staunton for a couple of years, but still it's a nice complex combining the Greek Revival home with two adjacent buildings for the museum, including his car, a Pierce Arrow dating from when he was President. It was brought back to the factory in Buffalo twice a year to swap the enclosed winter body and the open summer one!

The Beginning & the End

A couple of the "peak" moments from past adventures:

Springtime in Georgia - 2005 - fog on top of Springer Mountain ...

Summer solstice on Katahdin - 2006 - foggy again!

First post

April 8, 2007

Here is the beginning of my new Appalachian Trail Journal.

As many of my friends and relations already know, I've been hiking on the AT since 1998. By now, I've walked (in many short hikes) from the Mahoosuc Range on the Maine border, all the way to Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, and also some other highlights like Springer Mountain and Mount Katahdin.

Now I've quit my day job and I'm off on some longer trips to experience more of the Trail.