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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at

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Posted: June 25, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: High on life atop Stony Man

Written by: Carey Kish

Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Virginia. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.

June 13, 2015: Skyland to Pass Mountain Hut, 10.9 miles, 10:30am to 5pm.

A big day for big views. Loved it. Not far from Skyland came Stony Man Mountain, an easy up on a side trail. Scooted up to the fabulous cliffs on the 4011-foot summit and enjoyed the westerly views over the valley to Luray and beyond to Massanutten Mountain.

Next up was Little Stony Man Cliffs, with similar views, but no people. Trundled on to Pinnacles Picnic Area for a snack and a snooze on the picnic table. A rain shower got me going again, up and over The Pinnacle, which featured numerous ledge outcrops and more views west.

Stony Man is the last time the trail exceeds 4,000 feet until Vermont. Carey Kish photo.

Stony Man is the last time the trail exceeds 4,000 feet until Vermont. Carey Kish photo.

Byrd’s Nest #3 Hut is a nice stone structure with a big fireplace inside. A short stop was mandatory, then it was on to Mary’s Rock, which is reached on a short side trail. The airy perch was just as beautiful as I remembered from 1977, offering a great look north over Thornton Gap to the finals peaks and ridges of Shenandoah.

Pulled into here, Pass Mountain Shelter at 2800 feet and decided to call it a shortish but good day. The awesome cold spring is still right here where I left it just a stone’s throw from the shelter.

Group of Washington professionals and weekend outdoorsy types put a 12 of beers in the spring and then offered them around. My kind of spring and trail magic! Yeah!

Thornton Gap from Mary's Rock. Carey Kish photo.

Thornton Gap from Mary’s Rock. Carey Kish photo.

As expected, it was tough to leave Skyland. Really nice room, one of the best I’ve stayed in on the trek. Comfy bed, good shower. Went over to the main lodge for the breakfast buffet. Weak coffee, but everything else was good. Filled up on eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, then went back for a heaping bowl of fresh fruit–strawberries, watermelon and cantaloupe, plus pastries. Big glass of OJ too. A fine start to any hiking day.

Back in ’77, I ate meagerly at the restaurant and stealth camped on the back deck of one of the unoccupied rooms. Liked this cushy visit much better. An adult with money, yessiree.

My kind of spring, Pass Mtn Shelter. Carey Kish photo.

My kind of spring, Pass Mtn Shelter. Carey Kish photo.


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