Something the Thru-Hikers Miss

January 29, 2007 at 1:26 am 13 comments

Each year over a thousand hikers embark on hiking the whole Appalachian Trail. I think there is roughly a 20-25% completion rate. These hikers, even the ones who don’t manage to finish, gather up memories of the trail that I, as a mere day-hiker, can only imagine. I certainly enjoy my showers and hot meals, but I do envy the unique experiences those hikers must have. Parting with all the daily obligations of their lives, all the views they see as they travel through fourteen states, the comradery they have with other hikers and finally, the fulfillment they must feel 2000 miles later when they have completed their challenge.

Yesterday, Bill and I made a trip down to the Butt Mountain Overlook. It was a quick trip– We headed that way, admired the view, took some pictures, watch Jimmie take three dumps and two hours later we were back home. Last night when I was looking at one of my pictures of the view, I recalled I had a similiar shot from a July trip with Mike E. It was neat to flip back and forth and look at the difference.

Then I was reminded… The thru-hikers who pass through this area each year certainly have a wealth of experiences that I do not have, but there is one thing I have one thing that they don’t. I get to see this area year-round. I get to see the same spots through different seasons and different weather conditions. I get to see the blooming rhododendrons in June and I get to see them all curled up in the winter, adding a green contrast to the white snow. I know that Angel’s Rest is best in the fall, the Cascades are the prettiest in the winter* and Wind Rocks is so very haunting in the fog. In the early spring and winter I get to see extra views before the leaves are on the trees that you would never notice in the warmer months (for example you can see only Mountain Lake from Bald Knob when there are no leaves) when the thru hikers are passing through. And then when the leaves are there in the summer, I get to marvel at the beauty of all the green along with all the other hikers.

I’d say the score is still about 1279 to 2 (I’m also counting “Sitting in Larry’s Hot Tub Afterwards” as a point for me). But for what it is worth, here are some samples from my hiking photos of similiar shots in different seasons (Note: Not all are Appalachian Trail hikes). Enjoy!

Butt Mountain



Bald Knob

Spring – You can see Mountain Lake in the upper right

Summer – No Lake Visible

Falls Ridge


Late Fall

McAfee’s Knob




Strong Winter

Mild Winter


Carvin’s Cove



Pearis Mountain (Past Angel’s Rest)

Spring (this was my 30th birthday hike!)


*The Thru-Hikers would certainly struggle to know Cascades is prettiest in winter seeing as how it isn’t on the AT.

Entry filed under: Angel's Rest, Appalachian Trail, Bald Knob, Bill C, Butt Mountain, Carvin's Cove, Cascades, Falls Ridge, Hiking, McAfee's Knob, Mike E, Mountain Lake, Season Compare, Wind Rocks.

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. spugbrap  |  January 29, 2007 at 8:50 am

    How insightful! I love the pictures of the same views from different seasons. Very cool!

  • 2. ClintJCL  |  January 29, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Yea! You should like…. take an identical set of pictures everytime you go there…. after 30 yrs of it the land would evolve (housing and such).. it’d be neat.

  • 3. tgaw  |  January 29, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Ohh—Discover Magazine reported something similiar being used to study global warming effects. They are looking at really old pictures and then they take another picture at the same spot on the same day of the year and look at the foliage differences.

  • 4. ClintJCL  |  January 29, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Neat. Needs more pictures tho! 🙂

  • 5. Christina  |  January 30, 2007 at 5:43 am

    That strong winter Cascades picture is awesome. And I agree with Clint, keep up the picture taking!

  • 6. Katie  |  February 3, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Lovely set of pictures. It’s really cool to see what a difference the seasons make.

  • 7. slashpastor  |  February 5, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I have just started my blog here on Looking around for hiking sites and ran across your photos. They are beautiful!!! I love them…. I am thru hiking the AT next year starting in late March. I will be sure to see if I am as good a photographer as you are!

  • 8. Pete "Dharma" Gomez  |  February 21, 2007 at 11:16 am

    You are so right. I started my thru on Feb 28 and only saw the first signs of spring in Pearisburg at about 1500′ feet. I can remember it clearly as I was descending into town… I was ecstatic – no more gray and brown landscapes!

    In my experience of the AT I loved whatever was there, but I have thought time to time I should visit the south and see what that section of the trail looks like in spring and summer.

    -Dharma GA->ME ’04

  • 9. Season Comparison: Kelly's Knob « TGAW  |  April 22, 2007 at 12:32 am

    […] April 22nd, 2007 I stumbled on another season comparison today (Other comparisons at Something The Thru Hikers Miss). […]

  • 10. Cascades: One Week Apart « TGAW  |  March 13, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    […] 25, 2007 I have shared photos of different hiking sites during different seasons. I’ve shared photos of my work area four years apart and even a bathroom exit four years […]

  • 11. Season Compare: McAfee’s Knob « TGAW  |  April 30, 2008 at 1:19 am

    […] 30, 2008 McAfee’s Knob was featured in my very first Season Compare post, so I wasn’t planning on doing another when I hiked there Sunday. But half way through the […]

  • 12. 3 Year Blogiversary « TGAW  |  March 3, 2009 at 1:04 am

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  • 13. Bill: Almost Assimilated « TGAW  |  November 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    […] is progressing.  Not only has he joined me on a few hikes this year (including Mt. Rogers and Butt Mountain), but tonight he returned from his three week vacation to Australia where he found his very first […]


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