Appalachia Journal

This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Appalachia Journal. My first impulse was to flee to the mountains. “The Appalachian Trail, here I come!” The Quarantine My first impulse was to flee to the mountains. “The Appalachian Trail, here I come!” That compulsion was quickly dashed to pieces. The AT was…

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This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Appalachia Journal. At a secluded crag near my house, there’s a climbing route called Malevolent Eye. It’s 32 feet high, with a 3-foot overhang and a difficulty rating of 5.10–. It’s tricky enough to challenge a good climber, with several blade-thin holds and a…

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This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Appalachia Journal. In a small patch of crumbly dirt and mulch, near the weather-worn trellis where the hydrangea had begun to bloom, my 5-year-old daughter, Uma, plucked a beetle off the wood and held it up to the sun. “Daddy, look Daddy. Isn’t she…

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This story was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of Appalachia Journal. Like most other climbers, I took risks and could have gotten into trouble I have been fortunate in my climbing career. I have never had to be rescued. I might have been. Like most other climbers, I took risks and could have…

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This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Appalachia Journal. The dog and I were climbing up the Manning Trail on the way to Firescrew Mountain. We were somewhere between the trailhead and the first view when we came upon about a dozen and a half young teenagers resting on rocks. It…

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This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Appalachia Journal. Last night’s rain clinging to the trailside underbrush soaked our thighs as we pushed up the lower part of the trail up Doubletop Mountain, in Maine’s Baxter State Park. The day was clear and bright, and a warming midsummer sun promised to…

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Elizabeth Hawley’s unique journalistic pilgrimage by Billi Bierling When I arrived at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on March 26, 2018, something felt different. Something was missing. After fidgeting around in my rucksack to find my phone, it suddenly became clear to me what it was. It was my usual telephone call to Elizabeth Hawley…

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This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of Appalachia. When you have been indoors all winter, the first hike of spring can tax self-esteem severely. Small August slopes rise into April peaks, as if some great ladder had hoisted them hundreds of feet higher on purpose. Our first hike was a starter,…

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This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 1993  issue of Appalachia. Walking alone up the chain of the Appalachian Mountains for half a year is hard enough, but Elizabeth McGowan did it as respite from another round of cancer treatments. In 1991, she was a young woman with her life ahead of her. She…

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This story was originally published in the Summer/Fall 2011 issue of Appalachia. The summer I turned 18, I lived on a glacier, it was a broad slanted finger of snow, a home I shared with 200 huskies and a dozen people. From above, the camp was smudges on the white, pressed against the base of…

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