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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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"Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them."
- Orison Swett Marden

Fat Man's Squeeze rock formation in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Virginia.

I can't think of a more appropriate quote than the one above regarding my initial battle with rocks on the Appalachian Trail and my eventual acceptance and even interest in them.

As some would have said earlier and more succinctly, "Deal with it!!"

I really did learn to appreciate the numerous types and formations of rocks I encountered along the AT. The geological history of the mountain chain is fascinating. Even though it was difficult sometimes to wind my way over, around, through, and even under some of these rock formations, they made my journey more interesting. And some of designs within the rocks themselves were just gorgeous, especially in New England.

In this entry I'll present photos of my favorite rock formations and in Photos 2 I'll continue with unique rock colors and designs. I promise to keep these "photo essays" shorter because of all the photos and the time it takes some computers to download them. (We were finally able to get a DSL connection recently on our little rural road. What a relief from the glacially slow dial-up connections we had previously!)

Virginia has some of the most interesting and unusual rock formations along the entire AT. Here are several examples, starting with Fat Man's Squeeze (above) in the Mount Rogers NRA on Day 32 and the well-known McAfee Knob near Roanoke, modeled by Graham Zollman on Day 42, below:

Equally-popular Dragon's Tooth, near Catawba, is shown below on Day 44 and an interesting layered rock from the same day is below that:


The Guillotine, found on the north side of Apple Orchard Mountain, is really cool to walk under. (Who can run the first time under that thing? I had to check it out pretty thoroughly first!) See Day 47.

Also in Virginia are the balanced rock and fluted rocks in the next two photos below, from Day 56:


New York has a really interesting rock formation right on the AT in Harrimon State Park, the infamous Lemon Squeezer, shown in the photo below from Day 94.

It would be difficult to get through it with a large pack; I barely made it with my small one. Not only is the crevice narrow, it is also at a weird slant. There is an alternate trail around the thing but it's a lot more fun to (carefully, at an angle) ooze through the slot. An additional challenge is the steep wall to climb just beyond it. Hint: long arms and legs help.

Here are two views of the Lemon Squeezer:

Maine, of course, has the notorious Mahoosuc Notch with its moss-covered boulders the size of dump trucks and houses. If you have time, good weather, and adventuresome companions, it's fun to crawl up and over and around and through and under these rocks like kids on a jungle gym.

I took these photos on Day 127. The rocks are bigger than they look; unfortunately, no one was around for perspective.


The rock pile above was easier to crawl through (dark space on left) than over!

Next up: photos of beautifully colored and patterned rocks.

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil