Over, Under, Around or Through?

As a hiker, you look for white blazes on trees every 50 yards or so…..but the AT Trail Volunteers have a MASSIVE task keeping the trail clean, safe and passable.
Sometimes they can’t get to it all….which is when you have to choose……over….under…..around…or through


OVER-  when it’s a small enough obstruction, over is the easy choice.  It gets more complicated the bigger the log.  Many hikers will go out of their way to get around a knee high log


UNDER-  when there’s no other choice, it’s belly up to the dirt and do your best Army crawl…with or without pack!


AROUND-  when the other 3 choices just don’t make sense….it’s the one thing left!


THROUGH-  when those wonderful trail workers make your choice all too easy;)

Then there are the curious folks who ask us……….
Sooooooooo, what’s the AT REALLY like?  Tough question….here are some basics:

1.  The trail is most often no wider than a pair of boots.
2.  Sometimes you can’t see a trail because of all the leaves


3.  At times, the trail is a rock maze
4PUDS stands for pointless ups and downs, seemingly done at the whim of the creator of that section of trail
5.  Yesterday we probably walked more than a mile on a combination of blacktop and gravel roads…
6.  Some sections are well marked and others you have to be a detective and find the trail.
7.  To make sure we’re on the right path we often look behind us for white blazes marked on trees (northbound markings)
8.  Sometimes there are no trees and blazes are on rocks, telephone poles, guardrails, backs of highway signs & even roads and bridges
9.  The trail often takes you to the highest part of every mountain….view or no view
10.  When there is a view, it’s often spectacular!
11Lunches are most often chosen for the spectacular view, not the time of day
12The trail has lead us through open pastures (complete with farm animals), crop fields, tunnels of rhododendron and mountain Laurel, across rock faces, and of course through the woods (talk about variety)


Today’s hike is History, tomorrow’s hike a Mystery.  Right now is a gift.  It’s why it’s called the present!

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Comments 2

  • James "Grandpa" : Apr 4th

    Hey Duke, hope you’re doing well out there. I spoke to you just a few miles west of 77 on Thursday 3/31 with my buddy and son. That weather Saturday night was insane near pearisburg. Best of luck to you!!

    • Duke Conrad : Apr 4th

      Hey ‘Grandpa’,

      weathers been awesome the last couple days and should hold out thru Wednesday for us. This Thursday-Saturday is a whole nother story! It may make Pearisburg loom mild;). Snow showers possible all 3 days…..last 3 in Virginia….what a great send-off. Right now the 1st day in Tennessee looks good as well (of you can believe long-term weather forecasts…50/50 at best). Thanks for checking in and following!



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