All of these photos were taken, I'm pretty sure, in 2005. I did a lot of hiking in 2004 through 2005, all of it solo. Back then I didn't know anyone else who hiked or backpacked and so I took a lot of such trips by myself. Sometimes Carole and I would camp at a nice National Forest campground and she'd stay at the campsite while I climbed mountains or wandered around hunting for waterfalls and big trees.
I took this self-portrait on the last camping trip we went on without our travel trailer. The evening I took this, a big black bear came into our campsite and dismantled it hunting for food. After that, we vowed to get a hard-sided travel trailer, which is one of the main reasons we ended up buying our Casita. (I think the name of this waterfall is Mooney Falls. Near Standing Indian Campground in the Nantahala National Forest here in North Carolina.)
This was taken near the summit of Whitetop Mountain, the second highest mountain in Virginia and one of the few peaks in that state to stand over a mile in elevation.
This is my Sound of Music pose. This was taken in late November and it was hellishly warm that day. About 80 degrees even there at about 5400 feet above sea level.
Nantahala Lake. Not really a hike, but a paddle. Carole and I took the canoe out on the lake. This was on the same trip when the bear raided our camp.
I took this one on what I like to term: The Hike that Nearly Killt Me. This is on a patch of the Black Mountain Crest Trail. It's probably the toughest trail in North Carolina. I've hiked it a number of times, and every time I do it I end up in bad shape. Leg cramps, sore joints, exhaustion. On this trip I did the trail in halves by camping at Deep Gap in the middle of the trail, but the second day was a hike out to the northern terminus, then back to the Gap to pack up my stuff, then out to the southern terminus. I thought I was gonna die by the time it was over.