Leonard Adkins on the changing terrain, and changing weather, of the Appalachian Trail:
We started in the morning beside the Pigeon River at an elevation of 1,400 feet above sea level. Rising on the pathway that was sometimes going uphill at more than a 25% grade, we gained almost 3,000 feet in elevation to top out on the 4,263-foot summit of Snowbird Mountain. Soaring views of the highest peaks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park enticed us to linger before continuing. We lost 1,300 of those hard-gained feet by descending into Deep Gap before rising once more to 4,629-foot Max Patch Summit.
This vast change in elevation permits us to experience two seasons in just one day. As we drop into the gaps and valleys, we see evidence that spring is on its way. Some of the trees and underbrush have small leaves spreading their fingers out from the branches to catch bits of sunlight. Thousands of spring beauties spread across the forest floor, almost giving the impression that the ground is covered by a light dusting of snow, while bloodroot, rue anemone, and trillium line the pathway in fewer numbers. Ramps, those Southern Appalachian delicacies that have spawned a multitude of stories about their heady taste and odor, are growing in such quantities that large patches of hillsides are covered by their distinctive green fronds. However, once we rise back onto the ridgetops, the flowers are nonexistent, the trees are winter bare, there is little hint of green, and temperatures are definitely a few degrees cooler.
Leonard’s newsletter is well worth bookmarking. Looks like he’s posting an update every couple weeks.
In other AT News, the Free State Hiker has another tenant.