Beginning at Newfound Gap, we followed the AT to Cosby in a 4 day, 3 night trek.  Your colorful cast of characters included some usual suspects and a not so newcomer who hasn't been saddled with a trail name yet.

It could be Bird of Prey, or Swoop Momma or just, I don't know...

..How about Guinea Gal? (I guess they didn't cover those in Vet school)

Grady seems to prefer chicken, dancing that is.  In fact, Grady danced all weekend long.

There were times he played the air fiddle.

and times when he booked his biggest gig.

Yes, someone definitely violated the Leave No Trace Policy in that Livvid Privy and I have turned these pics over to the TBI for forensic identification.

I'm certain they will find their man.

BC George is a metro hiker, coordinating his ensemble with the blooming sumac.

We were occasionally able to occupy his mouth with other things.  Here, he is shown losing his firebuggery badge and will be required to undergo remediation therapy with Jerky Mike.

President Dumplin decides to tackle George before being usurped by Jacqui who decides she can take him. I am just looking for the best angle for my biceps.

Yep, that will work.

I don't know who the heck these guys are but promised to post a picture on the web.  Well, you get what you pay for, men.  Sorry you had to bunk with us, I'll bet the park service will refund your reservation money.

President Dumplin found a new Highlander Sponsor and immediately decreed that the minimum age for membership is 12.

Sometimes you really want a picture to turn out, but alas.

  Okay, I'll settle for these.

Believe it or not, I uncovered this guy whilst watering the trail.

This is the wreckage of a plane that crashed into Inadu Knob in 1984, about the time all of us were graduating from High School.

If he seems a bit cross, it is because he hasn't enjoyed a warm cup yet.

Jacqui and Grady sing selections from "Young Frankenstein".

I sing "The Hills are Alive, with the sound of Music."

Late afternoon filtered views.

Icewater morning java time.

Final day on our leisurely stroll along the Appalachian Trail.  Weather was nippy, eh Grady?

Trail Stats:  Newfound Gap to Icewater, 3 miles.

                 Icewater to Pecks Corner:  7.7

                 Pecks Corner to Tricorner Knob: 5.3 miles

                 TriCorner to Cosby:  9.1 miles

I'd say it was a splendid event, very leisurely with great company and moderate weather.  We had two days of filtered sun and two days of sprinkly rain and overcast skies, perfect for sleeping beneath the tin roofed shelters.  The Hemlock from the Sawteeth to Inadu Knob are in much better shape than the rest of the trees in the park, for whatever reason and that was a pleasant surprise.  We all hiked our own hikes and Dave's cell phone seemed to work most of the way along the spine of the trail.  Smoky Mountain Outfitters shuttled us from Cosby and we saw plenty of bear scat but no big critters.  Snakes are plentiful but that is what Inadu means in Cherokee, of course.

Now, I wish to leave you with a bit of the flair we experienced in the shelters this Labor Day weekend and remember, for the love of God, no matter how hard we scream, do not open this door.            John

    YouTube - do not open this door!

                   Jacqui added this picture, which is our sunrise at Icewater Springs.   Absolutely incredible.