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Nature Art: On the Appalachian Trail - Explore

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Sierra Daily

05/27/2011

Nature Art: On the Appalachian Trail

The actual halfway point of the Appalachain Trail may lie in Pennsylvania, but through-hikers consider Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the psychological one. Two powerful rivers merge here, the Shenendoah and the Potomac, and it could be their promise and sparkle through the trees above Harpers Ferry that causes hikers to relax as they descend the 1,500 feet to the town.

In this video, Kevin Gallagher condensed his six-month through-hike, all 2,100+ miles from Georgia to Maine, into 4.5 minutes using stop-action video. Watch the video and read more about his method here.

I've hiked parts of the trail: here in Maryland, considered an easy stretch, and up in Maine, where it is exposed and very rocky. In Harpers Ferry this week, the Potomac ran brown with silt, almost five feet above flood stage. We hiked down the bluffs to the C&O Canal, paralleling the river, hoping to touch the water. On a tiny sandspit, I found these tracks:

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I had tried so hard to pack lightly that I left my sketchbook behind! These sketches, the blue jay head and the red oak leaf, I made on borrowed scrap paper. In some ways, I was more relaxed as I drew because I was drawing on "scrap," not in a sketchbook. You can draw on anything--give it a try when you're out on the trail.

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