Archive for June, 2015

24th Annual Brown Gap Hiker`s Feast – 4-24 to 4-26-2015

If you are unaware of what the Brown Gap Hiker`s Feast is, you may want to read a previous blog from year #20 HERE that describes the early days and evolution of the annual event. Since there is no need to duplicate it all again here, please read that and then visit the photo gallery for this years pics ! Many think Trail Magic is unnecessary, plus a waste of time and money. Although it is true that almost all thru-hikers do not need trail magic to be able to hike the trail and I will admit that due to the growing amount of it on the AT that it has changed the mentality of a few hikers as they come to expect it etc., compared to the rare instances of it years ago when we first started this, the element of surprise did make for a more enjoyable experience however, there are always one or two that are going through a bad experience and actually it does make the difference in whether they continue or not. It also does make for a wonderful tool to get the opportunity to get to talk to so many people from around the world that you would not ever have the chance to otherwise. Whether they stop for a brief moment for a quick snack and a cold drink before moving along, or end up camping out with us for 3+ days, we have met some unique and memorable people not to mention I have made some lifelong friends at Brown Gap over the years. Breaking bread with strangers opens up a chance opportunity to have time to talk which leads to an exchange of information pertaining to a variety of subjects whether it be trail related or not. We learn so much from others about so many things from trail conditions or ways to improve upon trail type things to many other subjects that are infinite in their variety. I always learn something and I am told that my sharing stories of many years of hiking and trail maintaining experiences has been a great help to others so, anytime someone says I am wasting my time and money doing it, I beg to differ. Always remember, it`s not about the miles but, the smiles and I have seen a LOT of smiles at Brown Gap in the past 24 years !


Looking down into Brown Gap


Posted on 29 June '15 by , under RATtreks. 2 Comments.

Spivey Falls, Spivey Gap Falls, and Big Creek Falls – 4-14-2015

I was very fortunate enough to be invited along on a trip to a local waterfall that requires permission from the landowner to access which is rarely given. This falls being known as Spivey Falls or as I refer to it as Middle Spivey Falls as there are what I consider to be an Upper Spivey Falls and a Lower Spivey Falls (also sometimes called Candler Cove Falls)  and it helps to clarify which ones you are referring to although it may not be an official name by any means. The Middle Spivey Falls are located on private property beside a rental cabin which can always be rented during season which would give you full and private access to the falls during your stay. This would not be necessary on this day and despite a forecast of rain, we took our chances and went anyway. It was a good gamble and it did pay off as the rain stopped during our entire time there at the falls and it was somewhat cloudy so it was possible to get some usable pics of these magnificent falls.


Middle Spivey Falls (John Forbes, Jeff Dean, and Dan Till)


Posted on 26 June '15 by , under RATtreks. 1 Comment.

Buckeye Falls (left ridge) – 4-11-2015

I have made many trips to Buckeye Falls in the past 30+ years yet, only once before have I seen it from the left side ridge. This is due to the incredible difficulty involved in climbing what has to be one of the steepest and most gnarly trail-less ridges in this region. It is overgrown with thick laurels, briers, and other scrub growth, not to mention the cliff-like obstacles encountered before becoming very narrow at barely 3 feet wide. Before it is all said and done it transforms itself into a narrow spine of solid rock, having been eroded over time. Even after all the strenuous effort is sweated out and, all the blood has clotted from the numerous pickers that gouge and tear your skin, there is still not many views afforded as it is very overgrown however, there are a couple spots where one can get a small window to catch a unique glimpse of the falls, almost in their entirety. It is rare that there is enough water flowing to make it worth going to these falls never the less going through the agonizing Hell of climbing the left ridge, but, on this trip there would be just enough water to make it almost worth it. Besides the aforementioned obstructions, some of the worst parts of this trek would be the swarms of blood sucking flies and the intensely bright sun which, would impede any chances of getting top quality pics of the falls.


Buckeye Falls


Posted on 18 June '15 by , under RATtreks. 3 Comments.