Perambulating Pearwood’s Peculiar Pinhole Pictures

What happens when you take a lifelong computer geek, train him in the humanities, and send him out on the trail with a pinhole camera? You get absolutely awful alliteration.

(Historical note: I got my first personal computer in 1983 at the beginning of my senior year at Calvin Theological Seminary. Both of my parents already had computers at home. I was destined to be either a churchman by profession and an incorrigible geek or a geek by profession and an incorrigible churchman. Given the doors that closed and opened, I became the latter.)

For the camera geeks, are all the black and white photographs but one taken with the Ondu 6×6 Pinhole Camera on Kentmere Pan 400 developed in D76 1:1 14 minutes. I scan the negatives with my old Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner. Post-processing is with the Gimp on Kubuntu Linux.

Day 1

Lucky from Above the Clouds Hostel dropped me off at the Springer Mountain parking lot. I backtracked up the mile to the summit to put me at the southern terminus of the trail, the official starting point for northbound hikers. It was a stellar day to be on Springer Mountain. There were several other folks at the summit, one of whom actually recognized the United States Army, Alaska (USARAL) patch on my hat. (I flew US Army UH-1H helicopters out of Fort Richardson, Alaska in the 1970s.)

Back on the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain

I needed to be back here and get this photograph. Compare it with the one LandAndSeaEmily took of me last year after she and her cohort of trail angels came to my assistance.

One Exhausted Pearwood on Springer Mountain, February 2022

From Spring Mountain it was a relatively gentle walk to Stover Creek Shelter. It was good to be back at Stover Creek for my first night on the trail. We had quite the merry crew. I slept back in the corner up in the loft just because it was the same spot I slept in last year. The shelter capacity is 14, so there was plenty of room. The shelter capacity is 14, so there was plenty of room. What a difference the bright sunshine made!

Between Sunbeams at Stover Creek

Last year’s photograph with my Argus C3 Brick was entitled, “Between Downpours at Stover Creek”

The People at Stover Creek Shelter

She was standing there as I came in for a closer photograph of the shelter. “If you can hold still for a couple of seconds you will get your picture taken with my lovely little wooden box.” She happily obliged. (If anyone recognizes her, please let me know.)

Day 2

From Stover Creek Shelter the crew headed for Hawk Mountain Shelter. I am not a fast hiker. I caught up with the rest of them at the shelter. They cheered me in. “Pearwood has arrived!”

Chilly day at Hawk Mountain shelter.

It had been a lovely day for the most part, but it was late in the afternoon by the time I got to the shelter, with a chilly wind blowing through. It was time to get the warmer clothes out of the pack. The shelter capacity is 12; there were still a couple of spots left.

(A year ago March, my brother Chuck and I got to Hawk Mountain after sunset and in the pouring rain. It was nasty and cold. The shelter was full. We squeezed into Chuck’s just-barely two-person tent with our gear outside under my tarp. It was not a good scene. Much better this year.)

Day 3

Most of the Hawk Mountain crew was headed for Gooch Mountain Shelter, a significant distance along the trail. I made it to Horse Gap and called it a day.

End of the day at Horse Gap

I am used to calling such places “saddles”. In Georgia, at least, the term is “gap”, the low spot between hills where the land rises in two directions and falls off in the other two. Either way, it meant I had finished a descent and was about to start back climbing again. As the climb in question was Sassafras Mountain I decided this would be a good place to set up camp for the night. A few other folks had the same idea. After we got the tents set up, I took a photograph up through the gap toward the sun and clouds to our west and another back down toward the tents.

Horse Gap Encampment

It had been a long time since the last water supply. We were all conserving water. I don’t think anyone cooked dinner that evening. I spent a comfortable night in my REI Flash 2 tent. I am gradually getting used to how it sets up. There comes a point where setting up the tent becomes second nature. I’m not there yet with this one.

Day 4

Horse Gap is at the base of Sassafras Mountain, the first big climb past Springer Mountain. It took me four hours or so to over the top and down to Cooper Gap. Sassafras isn’t so terribly steep, just relentless.

Max Forester and the Water Buffalo

My last full water resupply had been the morning before at Hawk Mountain. I had managed to scrounge some more from folks who had extra, but I was still watching my supply closely. I was very glad to see the Army water buffalo (yes, that’s what they are called) at Cooper Gap. It was there primarily for Army Rangers doing training in the area but it was available also to hikers. It may just have been my imagination, but it seemed to me the Army had improved the quality of the tank liner since my active duty days five decades ago. The water was delicious.

(The deviantArt WeeklyFotoChallenge for last week was “water”.  As finding a plentiful water supply was the high point of my day, I counted this as my submission for the challenge.)

Max Forester pulled in for some trail magic. He had bottled water and an assortment of snacks. He got pictures taken with each of us there. Most but obviously not all were with cell phones. A character, yea verily, and quite taken with himself. Do check out the license plate.

My original plan had been to continue on to Gooch Mountain shelter, another three and a half miles up and down the trail. It had taken me long enough to get over Sassafras Mountain that I figured it would be well after dark by the time I got to the shelter, assuming I didn’t fall and hurt myself seriously before then. I was getting too tired to be agile and careful enough to trust my footing on the trail. Having been rescued once last year I had no desire to need a rescue again. I called it a day and bummed a ride back to Above the Clouds Hostel.

Welcoming Lights at Above the Clouds Hostel

It was good to be back at Above the Clouds Hostel to rest, regroup, and make arrangements for getting home. I took a series of photographs in the sitting room. It is a most welcoming place.

Steve / Pearwood
Soli Deo gloria

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Comments 5

  • Paul : Apr 30th

    …always enjoy your posts, photos and philosophy — maybe try section hiking on the AT to better control the experience

    • pearwood : Apr 30th

      Thanks, Paul. Section hiking is what it’s turning out to be.

  • Kelli Ramey : May 4th

    Breathtakingly beautiful images.

    • pearwood : May 5th

      Thanks, Kelli. I have fun with my camera.
      Steve / pearwood


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