Friday, February 06, 2009

The Trail That Clawed Back

Later, when I have time, I'll post photos of, and speak of, the trail that kicked my ass. It's the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Not only is it the highest hiking trail in the eastern USA, it's also, as far as I'm concerned, the toughest twelve miles of hiking in the East. I've been on steeper trails, and trails that delve deeper into wilderness. But for sheer physical exertion that seems almost unending, I've yet to meet its match here on this side of the country. When I post on it later, I'll tell you why this is so.

In the meantime, here are two self-portraits that I took on the trail on a hike there on a bright, unseasonably warm November day in 2004. In the first photo, I was about a mile and one-half into a ten-mile round trip. I was fresh, the day was bright, and I had plenty of energy. In the second photo, the light was fading, the day was at an end, and I was pretty much completely exhausted, my legs cramping from lack of the potassium that had been leached out of my body. And I'd run out of water, and it was looking like I wasn't going to make it back to my truck before the park gates were locked for the night. Oh, it was a true hike, friends.

On Mount Craig, looking north toward Big Sam, Cattail Peak, Potato Knob, and Celo Knob.

Later in the day, a mile and a half to go. Almost defeated. Ugh.

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