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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 8, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: McAfee Knob steals the show

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.

May 24, 2015: VA624 (4 Pines Hostel) to Lamberts Meadow Shelter, 16.4 miles, 8:45am to 6:30pm.

Note: Try as I might I can’t always get a journal entry written for every day. Most but not all. That will have to do.

An amazing day over some amazing terrain, one of the best of the trek so far, all done in warm sun under perfect blue skies. Virginia is really putting on a show for us, it is!

Reached the incredible McAfee Knob at 3200 feet on Catawba Mountain around 2 and enjoyed a good chunk of time there taking in the extraordinary cliff top view and getting the requisite killer photos taken.

Some five miles of ridge walking ahead, we reached Tinker Cliffs on Big Tinker Mountain, at least a quarter-mile or more of fabulous on-the-cliff-edge striding, all the time with outstanding views south to McAfee Knob, and to Cove, Brush, Sinking Creek and Johns Creek mountains, at least that’s what I could identify from the airy perch anyway.

Perhaps the most photographed spot on the entire AT is McAfee Knob. Carey Kish photo.

Perhaps the most photographed spot on the entire AT is McAfee Knob. Carey Kish photo.

Lamberts Meadow is home for the night. Several of us are tented below the shelter on the margin of a stream. Nice spot, goodly number of holiday weekend backpackers here, and the shelter area is filled with good conversation and laughter. A fire burns brightly in the firepit.

I’m pooped and in my tent. Not feeling all that well. No cooked supper for me tonight, just a pouch of tuna, a stick of cheese and half a tube of Pringles. A cup of wine courtesy of Drop Bear could not be resisted. Felt better after eating, maybe that’s all I needed.

Drank two liters of water today and ate a good lunch, but still not right. Could be the water from the other day at Pickle Branch, which tasted funny even after treating. But I’m sure the massive over-eating job I did at dinner last night at the Home Place Restaurant couldn’t have helped.

Yeah, I'm feeling it! Carey Kish photo.

Yeah, I’m feeling it! Carey Kish photo.

Felt like a snake that had eaten a big rat last night. Thought for awhile in the night that I’d be sick. Finally passed the mass of fried chicken and fixings this morning and felt somewhat better. Not sure this hiker can take the all-you-eat thing too often.

Other than big feeling great, it was a wonderful night camping in the field with everyone else at the hostel. Big crowd, pool game and guitars going in the garage (the main hostel building) last night, lots of fun folks.

Coffee this morning, then a quick shuttle back to the trailhead. When we arrived at VA311, we found Graham and Debbie Crawford there to meet their son Fireball again. We had another nice visit and left with two cold beers and two Pepsi’s, courtesy of the Crawfords. Wonderful folks, professional tailgaters and awesome trail angels! To be sure, the beers didn’t make it out of the trailhead parking lot.

Up ahead, we missed a turnoff for the AT and ended up climbing most of McAfee Knob on the old fire road, which eventually intersected the AT 1.3 miles before the top. An honest mistake and the walking was easy.

Virginia continues to amaze me with fabulous hiking and terrific views of long mountain ridges and scenic farmlands in the valleys. Love it all, with much more to come. Yeah!

Afternoon on Tinker Cliffs. Carey Kish photo.

Afternoon on Tinker Cliffs. Carey Kish photo.

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