A.T. Challenge – Devil Fork Gap to Fork Ridge Trail

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I may be planning a hike in France (see previous post) but I am still hiking on the Appalachian Trail for my Carolina Mountain Club hiking challenge.

The toughest part was deciding if we should go. The forecast was awful. It had rained hard all day Sunday and was still raining when we woke up. But by 6:30 am, (decision time), it had stopped raining for an instant and we decided to go. It was the right decision. Again, just like on Saturday, there wasn’t a drop of rain on the trail.

This time, the A.T. Challenge foursome went southbound from Devil Fork Gap to Fork Ridge Trail – 11 miles, 2,600 feet. New piece of trail for this year, new flowers.

AT-paintedtrillumMost of the white trilliums were gone but the painted trilliums had replaced them. Also trout lilies were abundant. Trout lilies are difficult to photograph since their heads droop.

This was a two-shelter day: Flint Mountain Shelter and Jerry’s Cabin. We also passed the gravesites for a couple of victims of the Shelton Laurel massacre during the Civil War. See the top picture.

Men are brutal in war time. Some historians still attribute the isolation of Madison County on the massacre which happened over 150 years ago. The graves and the meadows were definitely the highlight of the day.

We also passed a single grave of a man who walked the A.T. in 1968. Obviously, he wanted to be buried on the trail.

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A few A.T. thru-hikers are still moving through the area.

One man, with his red shirt and red pack cover, contrasted so well with the meadow. The flat areas were beautiful. All they needed were a few cows. I feel that this area rivals Max Patch in its beauty and serenity. But Max Patch is popular because you can get there in a 1/4 mile from the parking lot. This lovely spot requires a lot more walking.

Just before turning down Fork Ridge Trail, we hit Jerry’s Cabin. Hikers were still drying out their gear. Packs, sleeping bags and shirts were hanging from trees and make-shift lines. It looked like a slum.

We only have two more hikes. Wow!

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