Rugged climb on the Appalachian Trail

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Yesterday my wife and I and a friend challenged ourselves to a hike we haven't done in years, and that matters when you reach our age. We hiked the AT segment from Sinking Creek to Bruisers Knob, a seven-mile round trip with a climb from 2180 feet to 3448 feet, about 1300 feet, most in the first two miles. It was a beautiful day, and we were reacquainted with one of the mysteries of the trail.

After leaving the parking area at the Rte. 630 bridge across Sinking Creek the trail climbs moderately through open forest and passes an abandoned log cabin.

1. Abandoned cabin
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The trail crosses under the mighty Keffer Oak (photo from last Feb.)

2. Keffer Oak
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From there the trail winds steeply up the side of Sinking Creek Mountain.

3. Steep Trail
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This part of the trail has recently been rerouted, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do it. The reworked trail features some impressive stonework by the trail builders

4. Stone steps
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After reaching the top of the ridge of Sinking Creek Mountain, the trail is virtually level for the next seven miles. It passes under power line with impressive views of the valley of Sinking Creek.

5. Valley view
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6. Valley View
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After about another mile, the trail passes through an area of rather mysterious stone cairns.

7, Cairns
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8. Cairn

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Many conjectures have been made as to how and why the cairns were created. My wife suggested that they may have been piled there as the CCC trail builders in the 1930s worked to clear the trail of rocks. The trail is remarkably smooth there compared to most other areas.

After lunch at the top, we made our way back down the steep slope. We all had wobbly legs by then.

9. Winding down
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Butlerkid

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Congrats especially to you for making the hike!!!!! Testament to the recovery you have made after your health scare! Thanks for taking and sharing these wonderful photos! I'm sure I would struggle to complete that hike! :eek::oops:
 
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What a fabulous effort, and adventure. Putting us young'ns to shame!
Congrats especially to you for making the hike!!!!! Testament to the recovery you have made after your health scare! Thanks for taking and sharing these wonderful photos! I'm sure I would struggle to complete that hike! :eek::oops:
Thanks, folks. This may be the last time we do this, though I would like to attempt it after I turn 80 in about 14 months.
 

NCV

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This set reminds me of the mid Apennines where I like to walk.

I enjoyed this set as you have illustrated a place where I will probably never get to hike.
 
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Just terrific, Jim. Way to go, and thanks for the inspiration, both photographic and otherwise.;)
Thanks, Eric.

That's the largest cairn I've ever seen. Absolutely fascinating.

I look forward to your photos of the same hike after you turn 80. Way to go, Jim!
Thanks, Mike. I'll confess that the cairn in my photos has been enhanced a bit by passesersby, but there are literally hundreds of smaller ones in the area which don't show well in photographs, especially now with a fresh coating of leaves.

These photos are fascinating, and your ambitiousness in undertaking this hike is simply awe-inspiring! Kudos to you and your companions on this intriguing journey! The views are spectacular -- well worth it, eh? -- and thank you for sharing them with us!
Many thanks, Connie.
 
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This set reminds me of the mid Apennines where I like to walk.

I enjoyed this set as you have illustrated a place where I will probably never get to hike.
I have the same reaction to many of your posts, Nigel. It's great to have access to this wonderful forum and far-flung community.

Wow what a great hike. So much to see and admire. So much to come across and cause the mind wonder who and what had passed through before. Love these types of hikes.
Many thanks, Bob.

Beautiful trip and documentary, Jim. Beautiful week of weather to enjoy the outdoors!
Thanks, John. Come down and join me sometime!
 
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That's probably true of all cairns that are medium size or larger.
Of all the rock piles I saw in that area, the one in the photo is the only one that clearly had been added to. Most are like these:
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