The Unexpected Beauty of the Appalachian Trail



It has once again been far as well extended because I wrote a weblog update. To bring any individual who’s questioning up to speed, I have now completed the trail! I summited Katahdin on September 17 and am now back at house in England. I do not know if I can place into words how unbelievable the previous six months have been but I’m going to attempt! This post is one particular that I’d been writing all through the second half of the trail but by no means got about to posting. Immediately after this I’m going create a post or two detailing the latter components of the trail and my general thoughts and feelings concerning my thru-hike.

Created it!

For this post I’m going to concentrate on the smaller, attractive points about the trail that took me by surprise.


For me, fireflies have been one particular of the ideal surprises of the trail. As far as I’m conscious we do not have them at house but it could just be that I’ve just by no means been in the correct location at the correct time to see them. Prior to this trip if you have been to mention fireflies to me my thoughts would have gone straight to the song by Owl City. Now, my thoughts is filled with photos of tiny pinpricks of light illuminating the evening. As with any truly cool phenomena it is not possible to take a photo of this attractive sight. At initial there would just be one particular or two. By mid-June there have been hundreds. As the sun started to set you’d start off to see small flashes of light about the undergrowth. My most memorable firefly practical experience was basically not on trail but when staying with a pal of Slouch’s in Pennsylvania. We have been driving by means of the countryside at evening and I was blown away by the sight of the fields on either side of us. Thousands of fireflies will have to have been flying about these fields, every single of them providing of an intermittent glow. It looked as if hundreds of arcs of light have been becoming lit up in turn. I was blown away by the beauty of fireflies and by the truth that they appear to be such a commonplace issue in this location and not just a thing uncommon you may see on trail if you are fortunate. I was sad when the climate began to transform and firefly season ended. I would urge any individual who’s by no means observed them to take a drive by means of Pennsylvania on an early-summer time evening.

Sparkly Ground

Prior to beginning the trail I bear in mind reading in my AWOL guide that there’s a kind of rock named mica that is shiny and is pretty typical in North Carolina. I created a mental note to appear out for it. I’d observed shiny rocks ahead of and was expecting to see possibly the odd rock or two with a bit of a glittery tint. The reality was really distinctive. The entire way by means of Georgia and North Carolina there have been patches of the trail with so substantially mica that the soil itself seemed to be sprinkled with glitter. It looked as even though somebody had walked along in front of me with a salt shaker complete of glitter strapped to the bottom of their pack! And it was of course noticeable in the rocks themselves, with huge silver patches glistening in the sun. As we moved farther north the mica content material lessened and I forgot that it’d ever been there. Then we got to New England. There was so substantially mica in New Hampshire that there have been literal flakes of shiny silver material lying all more than the trail. The soil was shiny once again and I was reminded of how fascinated I’d been by this at the starting of the trail. Like with the fireflies, it is tough to photograph. I’ve attempted various occasions to take photos of the “glittery soil” but finish up with just a photo of  muddy path.

Abandoned deck chairs by a misty lake in Maine.


There’s often a thing attractive about water. For the entire trail there’s been lots of fairly waterfalls and streams. As we’ve gotten farther north there have  been far more and far more lakes. Possessing reached Maine, specially in the 100-Mile Wilderness, there are various lakes each and every day. There’s a thing exceptional about these lakes that I haven’t observed anyplace else. The pine trees stretch correct down to the shoreline, with smaller rocky outcrops becoming the only way to see across the lake. They have a exceptional stillness and make you really feel as if you are the only particular person for miles about. A single of my favored nights on the trail was when we camped at the Antlers Campsite, correct on the edge of a lake. The sky was clear so the complete moon was completely visible. The moon and its reflection have been glowing so brightly that I believed it was a fire when I initial caught sight of it by means of the trees.

Consuming lunch by a lake in the 100-Mile Wilderness.


Prior to the trail the only animals I believed about have been bears and the infamous mice that inhabit the shelters. Even though at initial I’d have stated I’d be delighted to by no means see a bear, I was glad to see 4 all through the trail. All of them have been fairly smaller and fortunately I by no means saw their mothers! I by no means saw any mice in the shelters. I saw a handful of nearby and one particular evening a especially brave one particular stole a tissue from close to my head, but other than that I was blissfully ignorant of their presence. The wildlife that truly caught my eye was the points that I hadn’t been expecting. The most frequent huge animal that I saw have been deer, normally seeing various a day in Virginia. Outdoors of that most of the creatures that I crossed paths with have been tiny! My favored have been the vibrant-orange salamanders that would litter the trail, specially right after it had rained. Then there have been the frogs, ranging in size from totally grown toad-like points to the tiny small points the size of a fingernail! And each and every size shape, colour and degree of fluffiness of caterpillar! The final animals that I will have to mention are the squirrels and chipmunks, which I group collectively for the reason that they behaved in pretty comparable strategies. Pretty much each and every time I heard a rustling sound close to the trail I would appear about to see a small furry creature scampering about in the trees.

A salamander.

There have been numerous other attractive points about the trail but hopefully this was sufficient to convince you that it was a definitely attractive location!

Thanks for reading!

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