“Tell My Mom Not To Worry” (N.C. to Fontana Dam)

Two weeks on the trail and life is pretty great so far. The days are long and hard, but rewarding always. Things are pretty simple out here, we walk, eat, sleep and laugh a lot. I’ve managed to see the sun almost everyday for the first two weeks, but as I near the Smokies things are looking a little more grey and wet.

Trail names are one of many traditions on the A.T., they are usually given to you by other hikers, and represent your personality, quirks or even something silly you’ve done on the trail. An example of this is “Axeman” (see photo below), when he first started the trail he was found carrying a heavy hatchet that really wasn’t necessary, people thought it was funny and so he was named. My trail name is ‘Snow Plow”, I was given the name by Cowboy after blazing the trail for two days through fresh snow that sometimes was waist deep.

Time to hit the trail again, photos from the Smokies should be up later this week.

Axeman and Cowboy walking through a tunnel of Rhododendron’s.

Early morning after a cold nights sleep.

“Blow downs” are a big problem this year and as you can see they make staying on the trail very difficult.


The term “trail magic” was coined by thru-hikers to describe small, unexpected, remarkable events that lifted a hiker’s spirits and inspired awe or gratitude. My first bit of “trail magic” came in the form of Coors Lite, given to Cowboy and myself by Eddy and Grassman. They were driving by when they noticed us sitting on the side of the road eating our lunch, I guess they thought that we looked thirsty!



A lot of trees have fallen with all the big winter storms that have hit the east coast this year.

People carry very strange things into the mountains.

Hitching a ride into town.

Enjoying a rare camp fire at Brown Fork Shelter.

Playing with some long exposures at night.

White blazes painted on rocks and trees help us find our way down the trail.



A quick resupply before heading into the Smokies. That’s about 4 days worth of food.

Fontana Dam

Fontana Dam

Ready for the Smoky Mountains!

Posted in

8 responses

  1. Whoa! That Dam picture made me dizzy! Love the tree growing around that sign. Looks like a great trip.

  2. Wow! Ben these pics are amazing! Makes me feel like I am there (without all the blood and sweat…) Thanks for posting.

  3. Love all the photos Ben! I am jealous of your very simple life right now. Want to trade?

  4. Peter Cuthbert

    Dude. Honest exposures. Feeling like I’m there. If only for a fleeting moment. Dry feet are happy bru. – PC

  5. Amara

    I’m so happy your alive still (have to throw that out there…I’m sure you’ve been waiting). As usual, beautiful photos.

  6. Amazing.

  7. jo nasty

    sweet picks “snowplow”.

  8. Paul Altenburg

    Hiya, Hope you are traveling well. Your photo’s are awesome. We very much enjoyed meeting you, Mouse & Roaring Lion on Memorial Day, hope you had a good time with us. We will be heading up to Maine next weekend, maybe our paths will cross again. Take care -paul-