Four Seasons on the Benton MacKaye Trail
Reflections on Mileposts on the Trail
BMTSouthbound – June, 2009; October, 2009; January, 2013
BMTNorthbound- April, 2010
BMT Davenport Gap to Beech Gap, January, 2010
Links: Photos, Journals, Reflections, Slide shows
http://www.trailjournals.com/mssnglnk Pictures galore in many trail journals
http://forgivenesswalks.com/newsletter-archives/ Words for Winter Walking series
http://forgivenesswalks.com/benton-mackaye-trail/ First Winter Walk and Spring Walk slide shows
http://forgivenesswalks.com/benton-mackaye-trail-winter-thru-hike/ Second Winter Walk slide show
http://forgivenesswalks.com/free-resources/fabulous-foods-for-backpacking/ Upcoming Foods Course
“Stream” Mile 119
It’s milepost 119 from the northern terminus of the Benton MacKaye Trail.
The six men in the BMTA Fall Backpack Trip party keep their pace stepping over the two small streams there. They keep chatting as their feet land firmly on the flat triangle of earth between the streams. In just seconds, they’re stepping up the steep bank and heading south on the trail, bound for the night’s camp at Cold Spring Gap.
“But wait!” I call. “This was my Winter Camp! I thought I could have DIED here!”
No one heard me as I alone halted at this unremarkable spot. The Fall foliage and dark Earth blended pleasantly with the gently rushing streams with no fanfare. My mind was rushing though as I relived the memory of my first winter walk. I had camped here two years earlier as snow fell, choosing a site with a water source and a surprise phone signal.
The snow fell through the night and morning revealed a world of white. Wrapped up in my sleeping bag, peeking out under the edges of my tarp, I questioned my preparedness to go on alone in this deep snow, past the Cherohala Skyway into “The Heart of Darkness”, the ominous name for the remote 10-mile section of the BMT along the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.
Delighted with the beauty of the snowy woods, I was satisfied with the plan I had been able to make with Brenda Harris, a BMT friend who lived nearby, to pick me up at Beech Gap, about 4 miles south, the next morning. “You’ll have to wait until they open up the road,” she had said. Continue reading