I think I was 23 years old in this one. I went to hike to the summit of Mount LeConte one spring weekend. This photo was taken on May 1st. Must have been 1980. We had been unable to make the summit the day before because the snow was too deep. We just gave out of energy along The Boulevard Trail and had to pitch our tent below the summit and head back down the following morning. This photo was taken at the intersection of The Boulevard Trail and the Appalachian Trail. As I recall, I was referring to my Appalachian Trail Guidebook at this spot.
Some years later. Married. Here I am on the summit of Mount Mitchell, highest peak in the eastern USA with my then-little boy, light of my life, Andy. He's 21 years old, now. The little tyke I could carry around in my arms is just a sweet memory.
Andy, hiking around the summit of Mitchell that same day. All of the balsam trees were dead, then. Killed off by the twin effects of acid rain and the balsam wooly adelgid (introduced pest). The balsams have since recovered and now the summit is clothed in a new forest of young balsam trees.