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Longstride: Trail Journals

Hiking and Backpacking Trail Journals by John “Longstride” Bafford

A feed by John “Longstride” Bafford


Day 27: A Sterling Day

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-06 01:25, modified on 2019-07-09 03:48

Today was our final day on the Benton MacKaye Trail. Nearly 300 miles of hiking brought us from Springer Mountain, in Georgia, to the Baxter Creek Trailhead in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

read more (978 words, 4 photos)

Day 26: The Oscillating Forest

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-05 01:26, modified on 2019-07-07 03:10

Our penultimate day on the trail brought us up and over three ridges as we neared the end of our northeast trek through the Smoky Mountains.

read more (1281 words, 3 photos)

Day 25: A Race With The Rain

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-04 02:04, modified on 2019-07-06 13:36

With our longest day in the Smokies ahead of us, we got up relatively early to try and beat rain we suspected was coming.

read more (917 words, 2 photos)

Day 24: Snake Charmer

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-03 01:53, modified on 2019-07-05 23:45

Today may be our easiest day in the Smokies, but it was not without its challenges.

read more (1270 words, 4 photos)

Day 23: Tunnel to Somewhere

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-02 02:10, modified on 2019-07-05 16:49

Our third day in the Smokies briefly reconnected us with civilization, before veering further off into the wilderness.

read more (813 words, 4 photos)

Day 22: A Cornucopia of Animals

Permalink - Posted on 2019-07-01 01:23, modified on 2019-07-06 00:06

Our second day in the Smokies continued along the Lakeshore Trail, taking us past cemeteries, ruins, a former town, and a veritable zoo of animals, including everyone’s favorite, ticks.

read more (791 words, 3 photos)

Day 21: The Great Smoky Mountains National Tick Refuge

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-30 01:40, modified on 2019-07-01 16:08

Today, CareFree and I entered the Great Smokies Mountains, beginning the last leg of the trail.

read more (916 words, 3 photos)

Day 20: Zero at Fontana Village

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-29 02:50, modified at 13:34

We had a great of doing (almost) nothing at Fontana Village, after yesterday’s strenuous hike.

read more (168 words)

Day 19: Trail Maintenance Requested. Bring Lawnmower.

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-28 03:05, modified on 2019-06-29 13:26

An incredibly hard day of hiking brought CareFree and me to Fontana Village, our gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

read more (975 words, 2 photos)

Day 18: Overgrown Balds

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-27 00:04, modified on 2019-06-29 12:27

Our second day back on trail, we made good progress, going further than expected, even though the trail got a bit more challenging.

read more (963 words, 3 photos)

Day 17: Fantastic Sunsets Are Why We’re Out Here

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-26 01:43, modified on 2019-06-28 20:16

Finally back on the Benton MacKaye Trail today, CareFree and I eased into the trail with a “short” hike to a wonderful meadow.

read more (891 words, 4 photos)

Hungry Hiker

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-25 03:20, modified at 20:01

This morning, CareFree and I began our return to the Benton MacKaye Trail. We finished packing our packs, loaded up the car, and headed off on a road trip to Tennessee.

read more (756 words, 1 photo)

Return to Trail Preparations

Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-16 13:08, modified on 2019-06-25 03:28

Soon, CareFree and I will be returning to the Benton MacKaye Trail to finish our thru-hike. But first, there were some things we needed to take care of.

read more (711 words)

Recovery Road Trip Day 3: More Blue Ridge Parkway

Permalink - Posted on 2019-05-04 03:45, modified on 2019-06-23 04:51

Day three of our road trip home saw a big change in scenery, a lot of driving, and an evening rainstorm that followed us through half of Virginia.

read more (671 words, 3 photos)

Recovery Road Trip Day 2: Starting the Blue Ridge Parkway

Permalink - Posted on 2019-05-03 00:59, modified on 2019-06-22 16:02

The second day of our road trip back home was pretty uneventful, with more sightseeing, hiking, and driving.

read more (609 words, 4 photos)

Recovery Road Trip Day 1: The Cherohala Skyway

Permalink - Posted on 2019-05-02 02:41, modified on 2019-06-22 02:45

Having declared a pause on our BMT thru-hike due to my back injury, CareFree and I began a several-day drive back to Maryland, with sightseeing (and hiking) along the way.

read more (1014 words, 4 photos)

Day 16: Departure

Permalink - Posted on 2019-05-01 01:51, modified on 2019-05-07 15:18

My back cooperated enough that CareFree and I made it to the next road. But that’s as far as we could go. With great reluctance, sanity (and safety) required that we pause our hike with a little less than halfway to go.

read more (1409 words, 2 photos)

Day 15: Precipice

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-30 01:28, modified on 2019-05-02 14:56

CareFree and I made progress today, but nowhere near as much as we hoped, as my back pain took a major regression. We did hit one milestone, though: halfway.

read more (908 words, 1 photo)

Day 14: Trekking Poles Are Not Salt Licks

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-29 01:34, modified on 2019-05-01 14:10

After two days off, CareFree and I returned to the trail today. While my back is not yet fully recovered, the pain is gone and most of my flexibility and mobility has returned.

read more (667 words, 4 photos)

Day 13: A Lazy Day in Tellico Plains

Permalink - Posted on 2019-04-28 01:28, modified on 2019-05-13 03:07

CareFree and I had a lazy day in Tellico Plains, enjoying a museum, and re-planning and obtaining supplies for the next leg of our hike.

read more (409 words, 1 photo)