Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Flint Mountain Shelter Described as a Memorial

What a nice article this is. Laura Sperling writes a column in the Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune on 18 August 2007 under the headline "A trail blazed with memories; Ascending to Shelter and Solace."

Sperling describes parts of a recent hike to the Flint Mountain Shelter along the NC-Tenn border a ways north of Hot Springs, NC, near Devil's Fork Gap. My Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion says, of this shelter, that it is the
"site of one of the more unusual animal encounters in Trail history. In 1994, a sleeping thru-hiker was bitten on the hand by a fox in the middle of the night--despite the presence of other hikers and two dogs."
Well, add to that the memories from this article. Sperling says that it's pretty much a family tradition to make a day hike to this shelter whenever they are in the area. Before his death, her dad had hiked most of the Trail. And her dad had helped the local club build Flint Mountain Shelter in 1988 to honor her brother Mark, who died in 1987.

In all her visits to the shelter, Sperling says she has never met a backpacker staying there, although she enjoys reading the shelter register's comments. This visit was special in another way. Sperling was able to take her niece, her brother Mark's daughter, to the shelter that commemorates her dad for the first time.
"Her interest was piqued by a friend who took a sabbatical to hike the Appalachian Trail last year. ... I asked Emily what she thought of her first shelter visit. She called it cathartic, explaining that the physical sacrifice of the hike heightened her emotional connection to this place of solace."
That's how it should be. I think it's great to learn more about spots like this along the Trail.

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