Surprise on the A.T.

ATmaintenance201211-Hannahwithdeer

I expected a routine maintenance trip on the Appalachian Trail, yesterday. We’re in the middle of hunting season and we made sure to wear orange vests.

We planned to clip branched, clear the trail of branches and pick up some garbage. We did all that and more. Hannah, our granddaughter, came with us. She and her family were visiting for Thanksgiving and a day of trail maintenance is becoming a tradition. Our way of giving thanks.

ATmaintenance201211-cuttingatree

We were not prepared for the tangle of branches that fell as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Our section of trail, from Devils Fork Gap north for 2.5 miles, has a section of rhododendrons that always needs clearing. But this time, Lenny, Hannah and I spent over an hour cutting, clearing and moving dead limbs from the trail. You can see the effect of the work right away.

ATmaintenance201211-deerThen we climbed the trail and saw a tame fawn coming toward us. We stood dead still while the fawn approached us. I started taking pictures and it wasn’t fazed at all. The fawn wore an orange ribbon around its middle, a sure sign that this was not a wild animal.

It got close to Hannah and didn’t mind being petted. In fact, it was nuzzling up to her, maybe looking for food. But we didn’t feed it. We surmised that a local family had taken in the deer when it lost its mother. It looked like it has been born this year.

Finally we walked on. The trail needed a lot more work.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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