On New Years Day,
the Nomad departed on the
Florida National Scenic Trail from the
National Preserve, near the
Reservation, deep in the
bound for the AT and
Baxter Peak, Maine, some 3,400 trail miles and nine
months north, across sixteen states and most the entire
eastern North American Continent!
NOTE: The map below is from
1998 and no longer shows the accepted route. For a current
map and descriptive outline of all trails, please click on
the ECT/AMT Guide in the navigation bar to your left.
did he go? Indeed, what is it that lures the long
distance hiker to “shoulder his gear” and “be hittin’
the trail?” What is it that beckons and draws us from
our loved ones and from the comfort and safety of our
homes to head off in all directions …“long gone,” into
the rain and the cold and the dark and unknown?
There’s a trail way up yonder I’m preparin’ to hike.
It has no beginning or end.
But, awaitin’ that journey, ol’ AT and I’ll be…,
A’chasin’ rainbows ‘round the next bend.
Nimblewill Nomad had long marveled at the
accomplishments of the likes of Earl Shaffer, Gene Espy,
Warren Doyle, Grandma Gatewood and Dorothy Hansen. They
all thru-hiked the AT. The book entitled Walking
With Spring, written by Earl Shaffer in 1981, is a truly
inspirational account of the first recorded AT
The fact that Crazy One (as Earl is known to his friends
on the trail) enjoyed the ‘48 spring season longer than
anyone else on the continent…by simply walking along
with the show, is absolutely intriguing! For you
to see, by hiking north at the customary rate of 15-20
miles/day and departing Springer Mountain in early
April, one progresses at about the same rate as the
changing tilt of the earth-to-the-sun moves the spring
season north, with spring lingering with you to finally
bid farewell and move on somewhere in Virginia. But,
spring starts much earlier the farther south you go; so
does not the hand of this fair maiden belong to the
suitor who begins hiking the earliest in the year and
the farthest to the South? Indeed it does!
The Nimblewill Nomad, during the “Odyssey of
’98”, claimed the longest courtship with this
beautiful showy maiden, having been
in her company longer than any other person in the USA!
Is not a hike of this nature a delightful, frolicking
affair? Do you not envy one who has, by his
ever-presence, indulged and flooded his senses with the
explosion of color in every shade and hue, with the
fragrance of the dainty flowers in bloom, with the
returning songbirds glad and cheerful voices and the
slow, gently increasing caress of the bright warm sun on
his face? So, as Crazy One, fifty years ago; having
thru-hiked the AT, and having been long faithful, did
take the hand of “The Spring of ‘48"; so, the
Nimblewill Nomad, having, also been long faithful in
like fashion, took the hand of “The Spring of