Happy Memorial Day

I’m spending Memorial Day on the Appalachian Trail. I think that qualifies as patriotic!
The weekend has been memorable from a number of perspectives, some pleasant, some unpleasant (if you remember the climb rating system, unpleasant is well unpleasant).
Saturday brought a trail gathering at “The Captains.” Access was via a short zip line where you clip your pack on the line, sit down on a small seat and pull yourself the creek. It’s amazing that people put on such events for us hikers. Burgers, hot dogs, salads and drinks. Eat as much as you like, with camping space available on the property. I had a few things to eat and headed back out. Here’s a shot of some happy hikers.

The climb to the next shelter marked the first of three tough climbs over the weekend. But, the reward was the shelter and rest. I didn’t even need to cook dinner as I was still full from the gathering at “The Captains.”
Sunday featured another tough climb to Kelly’s Knob. In addition to the grade and length, the thing that made the climb just a bit more difficult was the monotony. A part of the climb was on an old road and the view never changed. You’d hike for five minutes, look up and what you saw was exactly what you saw the last four times you looked.
But, as is often the case, I got to the top. Completely soaked with sweat but at the top. Kelly’s Knob is a outcropping of rock with great views. It’s not a solid piece of rock, had to jump some fissures to get the best view.

Fortunately I took my pack off, and made the leap to the best views successfully! Thank goodness, it was a long way down.
Today, Memorial Day would bring the Keefer Oak. It’s the largest tree on the southern part of the AT. It’s over 18 feet around at the base and estimated to be over 300 years old. It was as advertised and more, very magestic. Take a look, although I promise pictures do not do it justice.

Still feeling good about the tree we hit a climb with an estimated 20% grade. Yikes, the third one in three days. My recovery is not what it used to be and I definitely felt this one. Thank goodness it was going to be a short day!
On the plus side, once I the ridge line I got great views of the valley below and the climb and ridge line I would be hiking tomorrow.

Also on the ridge line was the Eastern Continental Divide. A rain drop falling on one side would flow to the Gulf of Mexico, a rain drop falling on the other would head to the Atlantic Ocean.

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