ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Yes folks, Nimblewill has laced up his Oboz trekkers and is shouldering his Murmur backpack
one more time–for the last, last time!

This year’s odyssey will be known as “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter – Hike On.”  This will be the ultimate journey in this old man’s life, one of body, mind and spirit.

This trek begins at Flagg Mountain, the southernmost mountain in the Appalachians
Mountain Range. From Flagg he’ll follow the Pinhoti Trail through northeast Alabama into
Georgia where he’ll connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail–which leads to Springer Mountain
in north Georgia. On Springer Mountain he’ll pick up the Appalachian Trail and hike it on to
Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Journal entries and photos will be posted often. Gonna be another predictively unpredictable
Nimblewill Odyssey – Bama to Baxter 2021 Hike On.

Sure be great to have y’all come along…

Journal 216-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Thursday–September 23, 2021
Trail Day–216
Trail Mile–-0.0/2221.0
Remaining Miles–396.4
Location–Galehead Hut

Another grand stay at Galehead Hut. It was a much needed day of rest for me, yet one of urgent concern, as the weather conditions, especially the high winds, which remained constant, rattling windows and doors, kept driving heavy mist-laden clouds through the entire day.

A group of students from Indian River School came in just before supper. They’d hiked four miles up the mountain from a side trail (which Odie and I could well be hiking ourselves tomorrow). I offered and was given the privilege of presenting a program in the evening. An attentive, well-behaved and respectful group of youngsters. I told them a little about long distance hiking, especially along the Appalachian Trail. We had a good time!

The forecast for this day was anxiously awaited by all this morning. It was not what any of us wanted to hear, but not unexpected–continued high winds on the ridge, 20-40 mph, gusting to 70 mph. Hiking is nearly impossible if not outright dangerous under those conditions. No better outlook for tomorrow. Continued high winds with thunderstorms. This harsh weather is not relenting. Rather, conditions are expected to and are getting worse. Not much discussion needed. Odie and I, we’re getting off this mountain today. We’ll return and continue over Franconia Ridge another time when conditions are better.

The trail the school kids took to get up here connects to the AT a short distance past the hut. Eight o’clock, Odie and I take it and off the mountain we go, down, down, and down some more to the Gale River Trailhead. A shuttle by Odie’s friend, Marleen, gets us to his old bus. A stop in Lincoln (where dear friends Chickety & NeighborDave connect with us), then we all head over to the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff.

Fall is not just in the air anymore; the seasonal change is here. At the lower elevations the mountainsides reveal the beginnings of fall color. Fall’s always been my favorite season…

 

MA NATURE’S PAINTBRUSH

Ma Nature’s got her paintbrush out, Brushin’ o’er the green.
From her palette, every hue,
To brighten up the scene.

 In red and orange and yellow,
She paints so brilliantly.
And there, a touch of umber,
She threw that in for me.

 Now, what’s all this excitement?
It happens every fall.
It’s nothing but a rerun,
In case you don’t recall.

Well, we’ve seen the work of masters Hanging in our galleries.
But none can match Ma Nature’s hand, When She paints autumn’s trees.
Ahh, ’tis a magic time of year,
A spell cast over all
For all the seasons we hold dear,
The best, by far…is fall.

 (N. Nomad 10/98)

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Thursday–September 23, 2021

Trail Day–216

Trail Mile–-0.0/2221.0

Remaining Miles–396.4

Location–Galehead Hut

 

Another grand stay at Galehead Hut. It was a much needed day of rest for me, yet one of urgent concern, as the weather conditions, especially the high winds, which remained constant, rattling windows and doors, kept driving heavy mist-laden clouds through the entire day.

A group of students from Indian River School came in just before supper. They’d hiked four miles up the mountain from a side trail (which Odie and I could well be hiking ourselves tomorrow). I offered and was given the privilege of presenting a program in the evening. An attentive, well-behaved and respectful group of youngsters. I told them a little about long distance hiking, especially along the Appalachian Trail. We had a good time!

The forecast for this day was anxiously awaited by all this morning. It was not what any of us wanted to hear, but not unexpected–continued high winds on the ridge, 20-40 mph, gusting to 70 mph. Hiking is nearly impossible if not outright dangerous under those conditions. No better outlook for tomorrow. Continued high winds with thunderstorms. This harsh weather is not relenting. Rather, conditions are expected to and are getting worse. Not much discussion needed. Odie and I, we’re getting off this mountain today. We’ll return and continue over Franconia Ridge another time when conditions are better.

The trail the school kids took to get up here connects to the AT a short distance past the hut. Eight o’clock, Odie and I take it and off the mountain we go, down, down, and down some more to the Gale River Trailhead. A shuttle by Odie’s friend, Marleen, gets us to his old bus. A stop in Lincoln (where dear friends Chickety & NeighborDave connect with us), then we all head over to the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff.

Fall is not just in the air anymore; the seasonal change is here. At the lower elevations the mountainsides reveal the beginnings of fall color. Fall’s always been my favorite season…

 

MA NATURE’S PAINTBRUSH

 

Ma Nature’s got her paintbrush out, Brushin’ o’er the green.

From her palette, every hue,

To brighten up the scene.

 

In red and orange and yellow,

She paints so brilliantly.

And there, a touch of umber,

She threw that in for me.

 

Now, what’s all this excitement?

It happens every fall.

It’s nothing but a rerun,

In case you don’t recall.

 

Well, we’ve seen the work of masters Hanging in our galleries.

But none can match Ma Nature’s hand, When She paints autumn’s trees.

 

Ahh, ’tis a magic time of year,
A spell cast over all
For all the seasons we hold dear,
The best, by far…is fall.

 (N. Nomad 10/98)

Journal 215-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Wednesday–September 22, 2021
Trail Day–215
Trail Mile–-0.0/2221.0
Remaining Miles–396.4
Location–Galehead Hut

The favorable weather that’s come my way this trek has been such a blessing, really unbelievable! After 215 days I can pretty much count on one hand the really nasty days dealt me. So, this day I’ve no excuse to complain, and I’ll certainly not complain.

Forecast for Mount Washington, for the Whites is not good for the next three days–fog, cold wind, and rain. Really bad conditions to attempt traversing Franconia Ridge, the peaks there just shy of or above 5,000 feet–Mount Garfield, Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln. Steady winds on the exposed ridge line are expected to be 35-50mph with gusts reaching 70mph.

Odie and I will take a pass on that. At this point in my hike there’s no reason to risk illness or severe injury. So, there’ll be no hiking today. Rather, we’ll be staying here at Galehead Hut again tonight, likely longer, until this storm clears out. Patience old man, faith and patience…

Adopt the pace of nature.
Her secret is patience.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

Journal 214-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Tuesday–September 21, 2021
Trail Day–214
Trail Mile–-7.2/2221.0
Remaining Miles–396.4
Location–Galehead Hut

A much needed rest at Zealand Falls Hut. And good food. Two wholesome meals, supper last evening and breakfast this morning.

And the energy for this hiking today? Every ounce is needed. First energy sapper–a 2,000-foot climb up to Mount Guyot through the rocks and boulders, followed by another 500-foot continuation up and across South Twin Mountain. There has been no letup, the trail is literally a bed of rocks and boulders. Off South Twin we’ve a 1,200-foot nearly straight down bailoff to Galehead Hut.

Another eight hour day to do a little over seven miles.

Odie and I check in. Then I head straight for my bunk and sleep soundly until call to supper at six.

These tall spires, these sharptop mountains that are the Whites, literally punch holes in the sky. They make for not only unbelievably rugged trail, but also, unsurpassed beauty–a realm untouched by time or space…

 

HIGHLANDS JOURNEY
 
The mountains are temples for seekers of truth,
Old testaments chiseled in stone.
Here seraphs come winging from fountains of youth,
And we are no longer alone.
The toil of the climb, heart-pounding, the drum,
A realm of the here and the now.
Old memories past, sunrises to come,
We falter to cradle our brow.
We cling to a dream; we struggle and grope;
We worry and trouble the trail.
While all the time doubting, yet hoping on hope,
While all the time fearing to fail.
Comes now the true journey, a proving of mind.
The days pass so fleetingly fast.
What joy to see clearly, where once we were blind;
Our prayers are all answered at last.
How can there be sorrowful suffering and war?
A quandary to you and to me.
For up here with Nature, no window or door,
From trouble we’re sheltered and free.
The highlands, a sanctity welcoming all,
The bosom of God’s Holy Grace.
Where gathereth creatures both mighty and small,
In Nature’s demurring embrace.
For here nearest heaven the days are so sweet,
The essence of peacefulness, joy.
And all the true goodness we ever could meet,
Our senses are keen to employ.
There’s rolling green meadows where breezes drop in,
To linger and dance in the grass.
And here rest we down all our burden from sin
To the trail…’neath our feet as we pass.
Glad waterfalls leap, to the heavens exclaim,
Free last from the clutches of earth.
Cast out here our heartbreak, our sorrow, our shame,
Rejoicing a life of rebirth.
Oh what is this tugging we feel in our heart,
That’s calling so clear and so loud;
And what is this instinct that sets us apart,
From the masses, the rest of the crowd?
We might as well ask for the secret to time,
And solve then the mystery of space.
For man can find neither the riddle or rhyme,
To puzzle the pieces in place.
So, journ we the highlands, near heaven on earth,
Truth-testing our mettle and mind.
A pathway to wisdom, right judgment and worth…
That’s eluded near all of mankind.
(N. Nomad 10/01)

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