View Full Version : Weary's Words from November 2000

09-10-2003, 18:44
I saw a photo of Weary with TJ aka Teej in the photo album on this site. Several years ago (11/20/2000) Weary answered a question on a public forum (Trailplace) with a very nice response. I liked what he said so much that I saved it to a Word document. I post it here for you to read. They are his words, not mine. I hope he does not mind me posting what he wrote again.

". Is the AT a wilderness trail or is it a tourist trap?"


THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, is a nearly 2,200-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine, bisecting most of the wildest country remaining in Eastern United States. The trail follows the bony backbone of the Appalachian Mountains, the eroded remains of peaks that once stood higher than Everest.
The trail is many things. It's 40,000 white blazes on trees, rocks and fence posts; and an estimated five million footsteps. It's also spectacular mountain vistas, wild forests, and great beds of wildflowers -- trillium, delicate mountain bluets, wild iris, pink lady slippers, trail side mayflowers, startling bright blaze orange azaleas, and brilliantly white flowering dogwood.
The trail is walks through national parks and forests; walks past hill farms and woodlots, and occasionally down main streets of quiet mountain towns.
The trail is brisk cold days of early spring, March snows, chilly April rains, the heat of summer and the beauty of a New England autumn. It's walks above the clouds, through the clouds -- and occasionally into cloudbursts.
The trail is a giant black snake, imitating a rattler, rustling dry oak leaves as a hiker eases by; and its two bear cubs scurrying up twin saplings, while the old sow disappears into the brush -- only to be heard scuffling in the distance, circling to protect her babies.
The trail is the sound of a partridge seeking a mate, drumming on a hollow log, sounding like a malfunctioning chainsaw to one puzzled hiker.
It's the cry of a pileated woodpecker, its red crest flashing through an ancient and decaying forest, the faint gobbles of a wild turkey on a brisk spring morn, and the slow circling of a hawk, seeking its supper. And it's a tiny, gray bird flying through the feet of a startled hiker from a trail side nest, filled with the mouths of hungry nestlings.
The trail is the hulks of four 60-year-old cars rusting away in an ancient farm pasture, now part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
And it's a cooking pot one chilly spring morning in Georgia, and the yodeling of a coyote heard from a remote mountain shelter.
The trail is also 4,000 volunteers clearing blowdowns, brush and thistles while battling black flies and mosquitoes and sometimes angry hornets part of the greatest volunteer recreational project in history.
And it's four million day hikers, out for a summer's walk. Some two thousand thru-hikers, of which a 100, maybe 200, will actually reach the trail's end on Katahdin.
The trail each year attracts a community of people: a few thousand with a dream of walking through these wilds for months on end from a wooded mountain in Georgia, north through spring, summer and early fall, to a barren and often icy summit in Maine; many more just out for a day, a weekend or a week of respite from civilization.
The trail is a community of hikers enjoying the beauties of nature, and sharing concerns, blisters, adventures, sore toes, sprained knees, and the wonders of a wild country. It's two 20-year-olds jogging to catch Solo Sal, a 62-year-old retired school teacher who had left her tent poles behind.
It's an 80-year-old-retired grocer in North Carolina offering a hiker from Maine "a ride to the top of the hill." Some hike alone, others with friends, lovers, relatives -- or strangers met a few moments, or a few days earlier on the trail. All share a common experience, a common adventure. All join in each others successes and tribulations, share meals when supplies run low, and lament the mishaps and illnesses. Trail registers are filled with words of encouragement for those left behind.
Like the hay mowers on Robert Frost's New England hill farms, the people who hike the trail, hike together, "whether together or apart."

Lone Wolf
12-30-2006, 04:30
out of the cellar

The General
12-30-2006, 05:23
Yep, that just about hit's the nail on the head. To me it is what it says and more. Long may it be preserved.

Many thanks to all those who each year make the whole trail experience possible. Happy Trails for 2007

TJ aka Teej
12-30-2006, 10:09
Like the hay mowers on Robert Frost's New England hill farms, the people who hike the trail, hike together, "whether together or apart."

Good stuff. Thanks for finding this gem!

12-30-2006, 10:59
It sums the whole thing up very well. Of course Weary was one of the finest journalists Maine has ever had. He is a top grade writer and Maine readers have appreciated not only his writings but his involvenent in protecting the enviroment for years, He was and continues to be one of the champions of both AT and wilderness protection in the State of Maine.

the goat
12-30-2006, 13:21
i really enjoyed that, thanks weary.

(also thanks to mowgli for posting it)

12-30-2006, 13:48
very nice weary, thank you. :sun

12-30-2006, 18:24
That's a great piece of writing Weary. You have no doubt been an incredible asset to the AT for all the effort you've put into it over the years . Hopefully others will be inspired by your dedication and continue with the preservation efforts that you have worked so hard for. Thanks for your service


12-30-2006, 19:03
That about somes it up for any of our beloved long hikes....some more " wild " then others..:sun

12-30-2006, 19:39
I read that as well and saved it, but lost it when the computer got thrown out. Thanks, I get to save it again. Wonderfull work...

Lone Wolf
12-30-2006, 20:19
out of the cellar

I'm glad I dug it up. It's a good summation.

12-30-2006, 20:28
I'm glad I dug it up. It's a good summation.

Yeah, thanks! The PC that I had saved the file on crashed and burned. I saved it again on my new machine. :)

12-31-2006, 21:27
wonderful. i mean, what's left to say?

Bare Bear
01-03-2009, 02:28
Some things bear repeating.

01-03-2009, 23:09
Some things bear repeating.
Thanks Bare Bear for reviving some old memories.

01-04-2009, 12:24
Yes thanks. I wasn't a WB member when this eloquent piece first appeared so I'm grateful to see it now. And thanks Weary. I'd like to see this published in AT Journeys.

01-04-2009, 12:35
Thanks for digging that one up. A very enjoyable read. I been kinda lazy this morning but while reading this the sun has peaked through the clouds so I'm now heading out the door for a walk on the trail.:)

Many Walks
01-04-2009, 12:50
Well done, Weary. Thanks, Mowgli for posting.

01-04-2009, 19:57
Weary's words sparkle like moonlight on fresh snow.:)

01-04-2009, 20:04
Very nice piece. Thanks, Weary et al.

Crazy Larry #1
01-05-2009, 13:29
Wow Weary! That was an excellent read, well put.........

Thanx for sharing that Mowgli!

gold bond
01-05-2009, 16:13
If anyone was to ever "need a reason" to throw a pack on and go, well you now have one! Well stated.