The other day I made plans to meet up with a good friend from elementary and high school. His name is Colin and he is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Greeneville is pretty close to the trail and he happened to be in the vicinity so we met at Devil Fork Gap where the trail crosses NC Highway 212 just feet from the boundary with Tennessee. When I pulled up in my car, Colin (trail name Scarecrow) was already there waiting and we hit the trail soon after my arrival. It was exciting to think that the last time I had hiked this section of trail was nearly 13 years ago during my thru-hike!
After we started on the trail, we soon crossed over a livestock stile and headed into the woods.
As we ascended higher the trail got steep. Luckily great conversation about old times and family kept our minds off the climb. When we had ascended to the top of a ridge we were treated to a great view of some of the distant mountains.
We spent some time traversing the ridge, mostly ascending but also descending for short stretches. Eventually we found ourselves at a junction in the trail. A side trail led to the Hogback Ridge Shelter and we followed the trail so Colin could get some water and we could relax for a bit.
According to my journal I stayed at the Hogback Ridge Shelter when I had thru-hiked, seeing it did not inspire any memories. A barbed-wire fence that ran parallel to a long portion of the trail did seem to look familiar though. I remembered walking along the fence as a light drizzle changed over to flurries and my journal seems to confirm this.
When Colin had returned from getting water we relaxed for a few minutes before it was time to get moving again. Colin would be heading north while I would retrace our steps back to Devil Fork Gap. We got a photo of the two of us together
After I watched Colin walk away, I made my way south. Since I was alone I didn't feel guilty about stopping to take photos and so I stopped several times to photograph the many wildflowers in bloom like bloodroot,