Posted by: pjbarr | April 4, 2010

Back Into the Woods

Start: Nantahala River
Finish: Grassy Top
Distance: 3.1 mi.
Trip Distance: 138.1 mi.
Side Trips: Horace Kephart Grave
Side Trip Miles: 0.0 mi.
State: North Carolina
Highlights: Horace Kephart Grave

“The man who goes a foot, prepared to camp anywhere and in any weather, is the most independent fellow on earth.” – Horace Kephart

As I suspected, it was difficult to leave Allison today. I did my best to delay it. I didn’t set back out on the trail until nearly 5:00pm.

Today wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped. Having access to my lap top made me remember many tasks and correspondence which I had forgotten to take care of before I left or new ones that have surfaces. I ignorantly tried to handle them all but it is impossible and unbelievably overwhelming and frustrating for this reason it is good to get back out on the trail and in the woods.

I put so much effort into my journal website before I left, but I continue to be exceedingly frustrated that many things are still not functioning. For those that are reading I hope to work on the Trip Statistics, Peak bagging List, Calendar function and Photo Gallery soon the next time I get time in a town. As well as add photos to many of my post entries. This may not be a preoccupation that I should be concerned with considering my focus should be hiking, but I know may people are interest in my hike and I so appreciate their interest that I desire for my journal to be thorough and well functioning. (*As of 4/25 Peter has most of these things fixed)

Allison and I are staying only a short distance from the Bryson city cemetery. Today we visited it and found the gravesite of another of my hiking heroes Horace Kephart. I am on the verge of entering the Smokies where much of its beauty and preservation can be attributed to this man. He was a forefather in realizing the joys of long walks and night out in the wilderness, especially the Smokies. It appeared that someone had been chipping small fragments from the top of the boulder that hosts a plaque in his honor and serves as his head stone. Not replaceable, I collected a small rock fragment and put it in my pocket. I will carry it and put it atop Mt. Kephart next week. Thanks for all you did for the Smokies, Kep.

Allison dropped me off at the NOC just before 5:00. We ran into 3 Bears and I was glad to see another member of the original group as welll as to introduce him to Allison. He tool our picture on the footbridge that hosts the AT and crosses the Nantahala River. Then Allison and I parted at the train tracks for another two weeks.

I didn’t cry this time, but despite having a rested body, my heart wasn’t into hiking tonight and my pace was slow. I especially was not looking forward to the brutal climb out of the Nantahala gorge.

I hiked about 3.5 miles and decided to call it quits since the sun was getting low. I am camped on a small, non-grassy knoll just west and above Grassy Gap. The bugs are bad so I built a fire and the smoke seems to be keeping them at bay. I am enjoying my new Big Agnes tent in spite of its extra weight. It is another clear starry night.

Tomorrow Allison will fly to New Mexico to begin a week long vacation with her friend Lauren. I am envious of the location and its mountains but I cannot be too jealous for I am gallivanting in the ridges of the Southern Appalachians day after day – all with Allison’s overwhelming blessing. Starting tomorrow, she and I will have never been so far apart in distance, but never will she be closer in my dreams.


  1. Hey Peter!! Finally got to looking you up. Your post is so heartwrenching…. Live your dream.

    Looking to see you in PA

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