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

Brown Mountain Creek Freedman’s Village


Day 73
Location: Seeley-Woodworth Shelter
Miles hiked today: 18
Miles from Springer: 806.8
Miles to Katahdin: 1367.2
Elevation: 3,770′

I woke up this morning in my tent, to the smells of sausage, bacon, pancakes, omeletes and coffee. God bless you Mileage Assassins! You cannot get a much better start to your day on the A.T. than that.

The shelter I had intended to reach last night was only 2 miles away, so I reached it quickly. In the mile before the shelter, I came upon a sign explaining that the trail goes through the ruins of a freedman’s village from the late 1800’s. The people who lived in Brown Mountain Creek community were former slaves, now sharecroppers. They rented the land that they farmed for corn, at the cost of 1/4 of their crop. If they did not own their mule or ox team, then they owed an additional 1/4 of their crop to rent one. Finally, when they brought their corn to the mill they had to pay 1/8 of what they brought to pay the guy who owned the mill.

It is amazing that slavery continued for so long in this country after the Civil War. The sign said that the folks who lived here dispersed when the government bought the land in the 1930’s. Because the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway were built in the 30s, my guess is that is the reason the government bought their land.

As I walked this section, there is a beautiful creek the whole way, which has an old stone wall following it on the opposite side. I kept my eyes peeled for signs of structures, and was rewarded when I spotted one across the creek. After navigating the brush and hopping the stream, I found myself standing in the middle of what looked like what once was a homestead made of stones and clay. The building had collapsed, but the foundation was still there and I could clearly see where the doorway was. How I wonder what it was like here! And if these folks were growing corn, then that means that there were rolling fields instead of these woods.

Today’s climb took me yet again about 3,000 feet up. Thankfully, it is a little cooler now that the heat front has broke. Several of my friends stopped at a very nice campsite, but since I wanted to push on, I kept going. I ended up reaching the shelter late in the day, with just enough time to set up my tent and eat before it got dark. I am really looking forward to tomorrow, as my parents are coming to pick me up. But first is the small matter of 22 miles…



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