Standing Indian Loop on the Appalachian Trail: How a myth, a storm, and friendship can electrify your perspective
A long time ago, in the area where Franklin, NC now sits, local Cherokee told a story of a winged beast that swooped down from the skies and stole children. Heartbroken and desperate, the local villagers sent a warrior to the highest mountain to keep watch for the winged monster and to discover its lair. The warrior found the lair, but it was in a place in the mountains inaccessible to humans, so the Cherokee villagers prayed to the Great Spirit for assistance. The Great Spirit heard their pleas and sent thunder and lightning to destroy the winged monster. The lightning scarred the surrounding mountains but the warrior, afraid for his life, tried to abandon his post. To punish his act of cowardice the Great Spirit sent a bolt of lightning to the mountain summit, leaving a bald and turning the warrior to stone. From that day forward the mountain was called Yunwitsule-nunyi which means "where the man stood."
Today we call it Standing Indian Mountain. The bald is still there, as well as the rock scars on the sides of the nearby mountains, but the rock shaped like a man is crumbling, forgotten to all except those that know to look for it.
How long distance trails can become embedded in our psyche
I don't know when I first heard about the Appalachian Trail. It seems like I've always known about it, like it was some seed of knowledge that was embedded deep in my psyche before I was even born, but I must have learned about it at some point. Most likely I was just exposed to bits and pieces of information about the trail and so I learned about it piecemeal. Even the first time I set foot on the trail - on a day hike in Virginia with one of my best friends from college - I hadn't quite grasped the true meaning of the trail. I understood it existed and I understood you could hike it. I even understood that you could thru-hike it if you were crazy enough to love mountains and pain and you disliked showers and soft beds, but I certainly didn't grasp that there was an entire culture of people who lived and breathed the trail.
Jeff Alt's memoir describes his thru-hike adventures and fundraising for Sunshine Communities
I've got to admit something to you all: as much as I love hiking and books I've actually read very few trail memoirs. Sure, I've read the basics like Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods and Cheryl Strayed's Wild, but that's about it (correction: that is it!), and even then those are hiking novels written by writers rather than memoirs written by hikers. So when Beaufort Books reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in reading Jeff Alt's A Walk for Sunshine I was eager to give it a chance.
Carver's Gap to US19 section along Appalachian Trail offers incredible views
Some weekend trips just work out perfectly. Sometimes you expect tough climbs or bad weather, or that you'll have to sleep in a cold car the night before you get on the trail. And sometimes you get a bed & breakfast and a beautiful sunset on a stunning bald. My friend Sherry and I explored the Appalachian Trail from Carver's Gap to 19E over Easter weekend, and it was one beautiful adventure!
Q&A with Emily after her first time backpacking (our Max Patch adventure)
It's hiking season! I'm super excited about tackling another section of the Appalachian Trail this weekend with another friend and I'm still head over heels with the last trip with Emily. To celebrate I caught up with Emily and got her thoughts on her first backpacking trip and what she learned as a newbie.
How I introduced my friend to backpacking with incredible views and juuuuuuust a wee bit of snow
We had a few days off work on March 16 and 17 (rumor has it we got those days off because of the start of the NCAA tournament), so with the extra free time my friend Emily and I headed off to the mountains to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail.This was Emily's first backpacking trip and the pressure was on me to make sure she 1) didn't die, and 2) had a good time. (Spoiler: I delivered on #1, and hopefully on #2!)