The views on my lunchtime walk today were of a snowy Grand Mesa and patches of snow in the shadowy parts of the Riverfront Trail in Grand Junction. Feeling that cold wind and looking at the snow brought back memories from late fall hikes with my dad in Georgia.
I grew up in Georgia and once or twice each year we’d make trips to the mountains. We didn’t hike much back then, but we enjoyed the views and the fall colors. Later, when I was in college, my dad decided to backpack portions of the Appalachian Trail. His final segment on the Georgia portion was a short day hike from Springer Mountain to Long Creek Falls. I got to join him for this last segment. The photos below are courtesy of Dad.
Looking up Chester Creek from a bridge on the AT
Back then I didn’t own “moisture-wicking” gear or a nifty pack with a hip belt. I might have had a pair of hiking boots, but I certainly didn’t have a camelbak hydration pack! In fact, in some of the photos below you’ll see I was wearing a leather bomber jacket and carrying a denim backpack. It didn’t matter though, the experience was still the same: Dad and I, alone in the wilderness and the cold, eating Lance brand cheese crackers at Long Creek Falls as it started to snow on us.
Later, as the temperatures fell, we hurried back to the truck where Dad set up his camp stove and heated water for Ramen Noodles. They were the best noodles ever! I’m sure that had something to do with the cold temperatures and the novelty of slurping hot noodles while sitting in the truck, but for whatever reason, they were great.
Dad and I at Long Creek Falls
I asked Dad to send some logistical information about the trail and our route: We parked on Forest service 42 where the A.T. crosses the road. this is about 0.9 miles north of the southern terminus at Springer Mountain. We proceeded northbound on the A.T. and after about 1.4 miles came to Stover Creek Shelter where we read a few pages in the shelter register. Continuing north on the A.T. about 1.5 miles we came to the log bridge over Chester creek. Just after the creek, we crossed USFS 58 at the area called Three Forks. This is the convergence of 3 mountain streams that form Noontoola Creek. From there the A.T parallels one of those creeks (Long Creek) for 0.9 more miles to Long Creek Falls. On the return, we used the Benton McKaye trail which intersects the A.T. several places along that section. We were on the BMT on Rich Mountain when we first noticed the snow.
Crossing the bridge at Chester Creek
Memories of early hiking experiences have definitely helped to shape my attitude towards hiking and outdoor adventures these days. The uncomfortable moments, like snow and cold weather, are always evened out by wonderful moments like eating noodles and sitting by a waterfall.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!