Shifting Fog & Mist

We’ve been having some of what I like to call “mountain weather” – rain and drizzle along with beautiful, shifting fog and mist. Temperatures have been pretty warm, and we’ve had almost 6/10″ of rain at our place in the past few days. Given the heavy snow we had around this time last year, few are complaining about the rain.

There are a couple of fairly new books that I’ve been meaning to mention.

First, botanist Paul G. Davidson and forest service biologist Mark Pistrang have collaborated on a self-published book, “A Trailside Guide to the Mosses and Liverworts of the Cherokee National Forest.” I’ve only seen it online – you can find it on the site – but it looks good, with lots of color photographs. Cost is $36.95 for the paperback. According to the comment posted by a biologist down on the Piedmont, the book is also useful for the Athens and Atlanta areas. It’s definitely on my wish list.

Second, I’ve just finished Winton Porter’s “Just Passin’ Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and an Unforgettable Cast of Characters.” Porter is the proprietor of the trail store at Neal’s Gap, on 19/129 south of Blairsville (just east of Blood Mountain). He’s the first point of resupply for the northbound hikers on the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, and the shop is famous for its weight-saving shakedowns of inexperienced hikers and their gear. The store and residence were constructed by the CCC, and are well worth a stop for the architecture and the view. (The current store was apparently the ballroom of lodge located there.) The shop also has a great collection of trail guides and field guides. In fact, it is probably the best bookstore in the area these and similar local categories. Mr. Porter described the book to me as “a comedy,” and it is, although it has a little of everything from hiker rescues to local sociology. Most of the focus, though, is on the human comedy, which is supplied by the people who come through the store, both the first-timers and the old timers. I’m glad I read it. If you are at all curious about the store or about the “through hiker” experience, you will probably find it worthwhile.

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