Tag Archives: Len Foote Hike Inn

Trail Therapy

cbspringerCB and Jeff Butler are among the many friends I have made over nearly two decades of being part of the Len Foote Hike Inn community. The two of them have illuminated me with their inner strength and their zest for living in the moment of each day.

Not terribly long ago, CB tells me, she had to deal with losing her son and the fiancee of another son in separate accidents just days apart. This unimaginable pain put a massive stumbling block in the path of this marvelous couple, and they tell me that the pain of  dealing with it was almost impossible to bear.

Almost impossible. But somehow they just kept going — surviving in the millions of moments of each day and learning how to thrive and revel in life. CB decided to take on a challenge last year. She wanted to run the equivalent of the distance of the Appalachian Trail, all 2,189 miles of it. Not surprisingly, she succeeded. Now, her goal is to hike the entire actual AT. Jeff, a pretty fair hiker himself, plans to hike part of it with her and spot her the rest of the way.

I am honored that CB was partially inspired to take on this challenge as a result of reading THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story. I know something about tackling challenges having taken on a few in my days. But I am humbled by how this wonderful couple have fused love and commitment to make life way beyond worth living. I think I might hike a few miles with them on the AT when the time comes.




Looking East through the Keyhole at Hike Inn’s Starbase

Looking East through the Keyhole at Hike Inn's Starbase

At Len Foote Hike Inn, you can see Starbase which tracks the sun’s seasonal progress across the heavens. This photo by Jim Hall, an officer in the Pine Mountain Trail Association, is a view due east through the keyhole which zeroes in on the rising sun at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. For some great hiking, Google Pine Mountain Trail Association to learn about some great hikes in west central Georgia. If you’re in an armchair hiking mood, now’s the time to buy your copy of THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story on sale at Amazon or at the Len Foote Hike Inn, among other places. (Photo by Jim Hall, all rights reserved).

The Old Dunhams Get Resurrected

The Old Dunhams Get Resurrected

Joe Harold, the manager of the Appalachian Trail Museum, sent me this photo taken near the entry of the museum showing a “spinner” book display with my books in it. What amused me is that on top of the display are the four-decade-old Dunham boots I wore on my 1973 thru-hike. As I told my family, this is enough to delight an old codger. If you live in the area, visit the museum and buy a book!
I spent yesterday manning a table at the Thru-hiker Kickoff weekend at the Lodge at Amicalola Falls State Park. The AT Approach Trail trailhead is there, and for many aspiring thru-hikers, it is their first memory of the AT. My table was at an expo crowded with AT lovers of all ages, including the famous Gene Espy who I first met many years ago. He and I traded signed copies of our books. I also spent time talking to the guy who wrote AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and the big tall guy who wrote the book, Skywalker. Kindred spirits galore. I sold and signed a number of copies of THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story and generally had fun promoting the heck out of the Len Foote Hike Inn. Great fun! As my character, Brave Phillie, said: “I love this Springer Mountain. It’s the startin’ line for dreams.” Indeed it is. There are many who dream and do nothing more, but each year, a large group of hopefuls decide to hit the Approach Trail and actually pursue the dream. Now is the time to say Godspeed to them. Stay vertical, you all, and keep walkin’!

Kids in the Woods — Where they belong!

Kids in the Woods -- Where they belong!

These Boy Scouts from a troop near Atlanta were brought to the Len Foote Hike Inn a while back by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. Before the hike began, they all leaned against the rail atop Amicalola Falls, highest falls east of the Mississippi, and took in scenery that inner-city middle schoolers rarely see, if ever. Working with GATC, the Hike Inn is developing a program called The Outside School. The plan is to introduce wilderness hiking to kids who would not normally have the opportunity to have an eye-opening recreational experience. You have not hiked until you have been out with a group like this. Laughter is the main activity for sure. If you have not been to the Hike Inn, check us out at http://www.hike-inn.com. One thing that makes the outdoors better is to add kids. We plan to do a lot of that in the coming years.

Looks like a Pixie and Sings Like an Angel

Jacqueline Elsner CD photo Feb 2013

You really need to visit the Len Foote Hike Inn when Jackie Elsner provides after-dinner entertainment. Jackie is a librarian by day, but when she visits the Hike Inn she is a mesmerizing story teller and a cappella balladeer. I love hearing her stories passed down through generations of Appalachian clans, but even more wonderful are her songs. Her latest project is an album of ballads she performed for the Byron Herbert Reece Center. Reece, a North Georgia farmer and poet, was an icon of the mountain lore in our region. Jackie has set his verse to haunting melodies of old ballads that date back centuries. After her clear, sweet voice echoes through the Hike Inn dining hall, she often stands quietly with glistening eyes while her audience sits transfixed for a few moments before bursting into a salvo of enthusiastic applause. She brings a sad, pure remembrance of things that matter to those of us who adore the pinnacles of our state’s wilderness. Learn about the Hike Inn at http://www.hike-inn.com. You can buy Jackie’s album from us next time you visit the Hike Inn or order from Amazon or I-tunes. Jackie, we love you!