Powder River’s Appalachian Trail Journey from Georgia to Maine 2008

The Shelton Brothers

Day 34
Location: Hogback Ridge Shelter
Miles hiked today: 14.7
Miles from Springer: 311.8
Miles from Katahdin: 1862.2
Elevation: 4255′

I started off the day going up Big Butt Mountain. Nope, that’s not a joke. At the top there are a very unique pair of rocks that you can climb up on, and you get a view of all the surrounding mountains. I had climbed up and sat there for a little bit, then moved on. Only when it was pointed out to me later did I realize that those rocks indeed do look like a pair of butt cheeks. If only I had taken a picture! I guess these country folks down here don’t mess around when naming their mountains, and call it like they see it.

I came across some Civil War graves today. Fred back at Hemlock Hollow had told me about them, and I was looking forward to seeing them. I did not get the full story on them until later when we met a gentleman who was hiking in just to get a photo of the graves, and said he had done some research on the Shelton family. As the story goes, there was a bit of a local feud in these parts back before the civil war had started, and a bunch of men came one day and rounded up the Shelton clan. They killed 10 of the men and horse whipped all of the women between 30 and 60. Once the civil war started, two of the remaining Shelton boys, David and William decided to join the Union army. (Which was not uncommon for the hill country of western North Carolina). In 1863, the two men were coming home to visit family, led by a 13 year old nephew, Millard Haire, as a guide. Some Confederate soldiers found the three of them when they were nearly home, and killed them all. They were buried in a mass grave, and today there is a headstone for Millard and government headstones for the two soldiers. What a rough time that would have been to live in!

The A.T. is taking a huge southern jog right now, so almost all of today’s hike was southbound. From the map it looks like it does this so it can go over Big Bald, which I will see tomorrow. It also is still following the state line. The A.T. is built on public land, but much of it had to be bought from private owners, sometimes using emminent domain. There is supposedly still a lot of hostility in this area near Erwin towards the trail and towards the hikers. There is one section where you literally go between two properties, and several parts where you cross old livestock fences. I saw at least three property markers today, set right in the trail declaring that it marks the corner of someone’s property. On the map, there are some parts where the green “forest” area around the trail is only as wide as the trail itself, with the surrounding areas in white. At any rate, my friend Elgixin experienced some little kids yelling obscenities at him today, from one of those adjacent properties. I wonder where those kids learned to do that?



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