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Think outside, no box required.

In Aha!, Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies on June 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

#WeAreTheWild
#DirtyDozenHikeChallenge
#IntoTheWoods

… These are just a few of the hashtags used by those who are participating in the “Dirty Dozen Hike Challenge” co-sponsored by The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine. There’s little I need to say about this event. You can Google it and/or friend their Facebook page. But the best thing to do is to answer the call.

… Here are a few photos from my first five hikes. Enjoy.

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

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Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Occasionally you'll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

Occasionally you’ll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

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Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

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Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My lovely wife joined us too.

My lovely wife joined us too.

I don't think you're supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

I don’t think you’re supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

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Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A view of the falls

A view of the falls

Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a 'gentle' rate or slope.

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a ‘gentle’ rate or slope.

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

Deadwood serves at 'food' source for shell-like growth.

Deadwood serves at ‘food’ source for shell-like growth.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

Toadstool sans toad.

Toadstool sans toad.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

Slug on orange-red 'mushroom.'

Slug on orange-red ‘mushroom.’

This 'mushroom' reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

This ‘mushroom’ reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

You've got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

You’ve got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you've covered so far.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you’ve covered so far.

By the end of the day, I figured that I'd live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.

By the end of the day, I figured that I’d live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.

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  1. Nice pics! I stopped at Tom Floyd Wayside on a very cold, rainy, foggy day in late October. I felt for the guys backpacking through that night…dropping into the 20s!

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