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4/29 – 270 miles I hiked 17 miles to Deer Park Mountain Shelter, 3 miles from Hot Springs, NC. It was a long day. Much of the trail ran through beautiful mature woods, filled with tall poplar and massive oaks, laced now and then with streams and tunnels of rhododendron, on all fairly level walking.

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4/28 – 254 miles Now that we are past the Smokys the weather has been good. I left Standing Bear Hostel early and faced a long, steady climb of 3000 feet to the top of Snowbird Mountain. There is a VOR navigational aid on top of the mountain and views for many miles. A lot

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4/26- 220 miles I was out of the shelter early, a heavy mist had settled in in the night saturating the trees and causing them to constantly drip. I was hoping for a clear day. I would pass by Charlie’s Bunion, a unique rock formation, and climb several mountains over 6000 feet. What happened next

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- 4/21 . 19 miles From Spence Field Shelter to Derrick Knob Shelter, we experienced the full challenge the trail could throw at us: steep climbs and descents, rocky traverses, muddy, rutted, and rooted sections, all the while encompassed by a mist that had increasingly turned into a steady rain. We donned raingear and pack

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I caught the shuttle from Hiawassee back to the trail at 9 this morning. The motel I stayed in last night was a little rundown, but it was clean and cheap. Some of the young hikers that stayed there partied for awhile and finally went to bed about ten. Hiawassee is a good place to

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I awoke to my last day in Buffalo at the usual early morning hour. My body was still on the work schedule of the last year and told me it was time to get up. I doubt I could have slept in anyway because there was a certain excitement to begin my long vacation. I

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Published on March 11, 2012, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

The weather was beautiful today so I decided to take a short hike. There were a couple of reasons to get out and do some serious walking: I wanted to test out my knee to see how it has survived the winter, and I also have a new backpack I’ve been dying to strap on.

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Published on May 29, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

On the third day of our hike we walked into Gathland State Park, site of the famous War Correspondents Monument.  Standing 50 feet high and 40 feet wide, it is quite impressive to see. We were looking forward to our arrival at the park because of a soda machine rumored to be there. A cold

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Published on May 27, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

On our second day, we pushed ourselves well past our normal hiking range. There was a campground at Turners Gap, by US40, that boasted a free shower and restaurant within minutes of the camp. After two days of dripping perspiration and trail food, both options sounded good.  The hiking was easier the second day. We

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Published on May 7, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

On Thursday and Friday I hiked the AT for 18 miles. I had almost forgotten how hard it is to walk uphill all day with a full pack. When I hiked with Daryl, Donna, and Dick, we could share some of the gear, combine uses for items like a water filter, stove, first-aid kit, GPS,

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Published on May 5, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

Damascus, Virginia is home to an annual festival know as Trail Days.  It celebrates the quest of hikers – both past and present – that attempt to hike from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. In a few short days, the little town will be mobbed by lanky, smelly hikers, young and old, male

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Published on April 10, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

For five days now, I’ve been at a campground on Padre Island Nat’l Seashore near Corpus Christi, TX.  It’s a nice little campground right on the beach, cool in daytime because of the ocean breeze and mild at night for the same reason. I have taken many walks along the shore.  I can’t say this

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Published on March 28, 2011, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

There are few things quite so unsettling as to be driving along in the middle of nowhere and realize something is wrong with your vehicle. Why is it that vehicles break down on lonely stretches of highway, far from towns and civilization, never a single bar of cell service, and on Saturday night?  If ever there was

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Every once in a while, someone will ask me about the title of my blog. I get that same look you get when a dog tips his head, and they ask, “What does it mean ‘Searching for Bronson’?” I’ve been thinking of changing the title again just to keep everyone guessing, but before I do,

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On Wednesday, Richard, Dianna, and I loaded my van with the bed for Carrie, pictures for Nancy (Dianna’s cousins), and keepsakes to store in there truck, and drove to Bakersfield.  The weather in Bakersfield was a lot colder than what I’ve been used to the last couple of weeks. It went down below freezing in

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Not long after I arrived in Southern California, it became crystal clear why so many people live here. While every other part of the country lay buried under snow, suffered from ice and wind, or shivered from the cold, the LA area basked in warm sunshine. I have a hard time realizing it is January

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High profile vehicles like mine are no fun in the wind. My van danced and rocked as I drove through the San Gabriel Mountains, demanding all my attention just to keep from being buffeted into another lane. To say that it was windy is a gross understatement. A steady wind is one thing but strong

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On Sunday, the second day of 2011, Daryl, Les, and I went hiking in the South Mountains near Phoenix.  Les, a good friend and hiking partner of Daryl, and incidentally a professor of botany at Arizona State University, gave me an introductory lesson of plant life in the Arizona desert. It was amazing to learn

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The cliff dwellings were quite interesting. It’s one of the few sites they let you walk through the ruins, although, there are guides stationed strategically to keep an eye out for mischief. It was afternoon by the time I finished looking around so I decided to stay another night in Gila NF. As I drove

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During the last month, Daryl, Donna, and I had been considering an overnight hike someplace in southern Arizona. It would be Donna’s first experience at backpacking and my first experience camping in a wilderness where rattlesnakes, scorpions, and coyote call home. Daryl has hiked in several areas around Phoenix and knows the climate and terrain

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I took a long weekend break from National Park sightseeing and explored the region of desert east and south of Phoenix. Donna is willing and able to try a short backpack hike and I’ve been looking for someplace that would be fun but not too extreem. I don’t want her first hike to be freezing

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Daryl and I awoke just before dawn at our campsite in Grand Canyon National Park. We breakfasted on oatmeal and granola and prepared our backpacks with the lightest gear we had.  I was using my ultralight pack and Daryl left his tent behind in order to save a couple of pounds. Today was the start

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The Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the world, beautiful, awe inspiring, take your breath away magnificent… blah, blah, blah. Now, take that same canyon, put on a backpack and hike from the rim to the Colorado River, decending along a narrow path that drops almost a vertical mile to the canyon floor

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After spending two nights of freezing temperatures in the low twenties, I headed south to lower altitudes and warmer weather in a place everyone knows – Zion National Park. Nothing about this park is like I remember it, and it has become so commercialized it’s not even near one of my favorites. Even on the

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