Saturdays in the Fog

Double Arch

At Double Arch on September 26, 2015.

It has become a passion.  Something I think about and work at in my spare hours.  I love hiking- every element of hiking.  The time in the woods, the quiet of the solitude, the crunch of the leaves, the wildlife, the cool breeze against my face all remind me of the reason that I love to hike.

For more than ten years, I have been interested in the Appalachian Trail (AT).  I have thought and dreamed about hiking this 2,000 mile plus stretch of happiness but the circumstances of our home were not such that permitted my adventures.  In the past year or so, we have moved beyond that road block.

My 13-year-old autistic son does not like nature- at all.  Bugs, spider webs, or even the crush of the leaves effect him and overwhelm his senses.  Only in the past year has he started to venture out with our family and has made several visits to Red River Gorge and a walk to the Indian Post Office (a local hiking spot).  He is doing much better and seems to occasionally enjoy our trips.  His development and the love of my wife of 21 years has now moved me to the point that I think it is time to start the AT.

For a few weeks, I have been working to research, order, and test equipment that I will need to complete the first section of the AT from the Springer Mountain approach trail to at least Unicoi Gap.  My parents have agreed to drop me off at Amicalola State Park in Georgia to get started.  I have been hiking with full pack (25 pounds) to many of the local areas that are good to hike including the Red River Gorge, High Knob, and the Marcum Heights trails here in my home town.

On Saturday, September 26, I ventured with pack to Double Arch in the Auxier Ridge section of Red River Gorge.  The rainy morning turned beautiful and the hike was great.  The solitude and quiet of my walks help release the stresses and troubles of the long weeks and my insanely overbooked schedule.  My foggy morning walks help me reset for the next week and I think the AT will be transformative for this old man.

I look forward to more practice runs and hikes in preparation for my AT time.  It may take me several years to complete the trail as a section hiker, but I will see Katahdin some day.

Find out more here:


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
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5 Responses to Saturdays in the Fog

  1. Gayle Deaton says:

    What an adventure! I’ve been on very short sections of the AT in several states, including Georgia and Maine, and the hq in Harper’s Ferry. It’s so beautiful. Wishing you all the best, and will be praying for a safe and wonderful hike!


  2. Kristen Richerson says:

    This is so awesome Stephen. Wishing you many wonderful hikes. Wishing I was going with you. I also love to hike. I have been keeping up with some of your adventures on Facebook. Will be thinking and praying for you.


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