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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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         PHOTOS 33: FARMS AND FIELDS         
MARCH 23, 2006
"Taxation is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the
maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo.
And I'm afraid to say, that these days, all I'm getting is moo."
- Terry Pratchett

Smooth trail + great weather on Day 64 through a  peaceful farm in Pennsylvania.

There is plenty of "moo" along the Appalachian Trail, down in some of those valleys I showed you in the last essay.

Fortunately, it belongs to the friendly cows whose pastures you cross. They are probably more used to you being on their turf than vice versa, so they just stand there placidly as you walk by. I thought walking would traumatize them less than running. I was a guest in their domain, after all.

Even though I've run through cow-filled pastures on the AT in the Catawba Valley near Roanoke it was still a surprise in Tennessee on Day 29 to run right up some family's dirt road and through the middle of their farm! There are two other (nicer) photos of the farm in Photos 6. These two are new:

There were no cows close by but the friendly farmer who was busy on his tractor (lower right corner of photo below) took time to wave to me. I almost felt like I was trespassing.

The feeling disappeared as I went through more and more "working" fields and pastures as I journeyed north. I loved them, even when I had to dodge fresh cow pies. I felt like I was "back home."

I spent my first ten years on a beautiful farm in southern Ohio where we raised dairy cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and other critters, as well as a huge garden and some crops. It was Nirvana to a young tomboy like me. I have many pleasant memories of that farm. My older brother and sister had to do more of the work to keep it operating, however, so their perspectives are probably a bit different than mine!

In this essay I will share my favorite farm and field photos from Tennessee to Vermont.

The Tennessee farm is above. The next farms through which I got to hike were in southern Virginina, where the Trail often drops down into the fertile valleys.

The first three photos in the next section below are new ones from Days 33 and 34. If you click on those links and Photos 25 you can see the other farm photos from those days that I've already posted in this journal.




My favorite days in Pennsylvania were the ones in which I got to walk and run through farms in the beautiful Cumberland Valley - they weren't rocky like most of the Trail in the rest of the state.

Some of the photos below are new and some are repeats of the beautiful fields along the AT that I saw on Days 64 and 65 (south and north of Boiling Springs) and Day 69 where the AT crosses PA 850.










Then there's that "cows in the mist" farm I crossed early one foggy morning (Day 98, to be precise) near Hwy. 22 in the Pawling, New York vicinity. There was even a sheep nearby.

Even though the bovine in the third photo below looks like she's guarding the Trail, all of the cows I passed on the AT either nonchalantly ignored me or simply looked at me with curiosity. None were as bold as the horses in Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area that begged for a handout.




I have photos from only two farms in Massachusetts.

On Day 102 Jim and I ran past the marker for Shay's Rebellion and through the cornfield in the second photo below. See the journal entry that day for a refresher course on the significance of that Revolutionary War monument.

(High taxes and post-war economic woes, hmmmm? Things haven't changed much in over two hundred years, have they? Sorry - tax season always makes me cynical. Check into the FairTax if you're interested in a sane method of taxation.)


I ran through the farm below, also in Massachusetts, on Day 104 between The Cobbles and Greylock Mountain. Perhaps it is one of the farms in the valley landscape I showed in the last essay from the summit of Greylock.


The last farms I photographed were near Hwy. 12 north of Woodstock, Vermont on Day 112.

The first photo is an overgrown field above the farms. The second one shows cows near the trail head parking lot on Day 76 when Jim and I ran a little of the AT while we were tapering for the Vermont 100-mile race. The cows were farther away from the Trail when I passed through on day 112, so I didn't photograph them that day.


Now you know why I said there is plenty of "moo" along the Appalachian Trail. And you haven't even seen all my cow pictures!

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Trail with all the critters I saw last summer, and traipsing through fields of corn and hay brought back all kinds of happy childhood memories. What a treat for AT hikers who want to escape the bedlam of more populated areas.

Have you hugged a cow lately??

Next up: while we're on the subject of fields, let's look at fields of flowers along the AT that aren't necessarily on working farms but are just as pleasant to run or hike.

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

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2006 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil