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Listen To The Leaves

Fluttering in the breeze on high

one may not hear the leaves.

They awaken when they drop in autumn

and a hiker walks upon them.

Crunch, crunch with every step.

Scrape, the sound with dragging feet.

Crinkle, crack, and crunch,

dry leaves are noisy in the woods.

By James George

National Take A Hike Day is observed annually on November 17. Hikes are distinguished from walks, in that they are taken in the woods, hills, mountains or somewhere in a nature setting.  It is usually done on unpaved paths, known as trails.  John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist and author,  stated "Of all the paths you take in a life, make sure a few of them are dirt."

An early interest in hiking in the United States was exemplified by Abel Crawford and his son Ethan's clearing of a trail to the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire in 1819.  Of the 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, this 8.5 mile path is the oldest continually used hiking trail in the United States. 

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, completed in 1937, is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,190 miles in length.  It travels through 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia to the Mount Katahdin summit in Maine.

More than 3 million people visit the Trail annually and over 3,000 people attempt to "thru-hike" the entire footpath in a single year.  The Appalachian Trail Conservatory defines a "thru-hike" as hiking a long distance trail from end-to-end with completion accomplished in a 12 month period. It typically takes between 5 to 7 months to do the "thru-hike" of the Trail.  Some "speedsters" have done it in less than 50 days.  On July 12, 2015, Scott Jurek, an ultramarathoner, set a record by finishing the "thru-hike" in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes.  "Section-hikers" are those who can't traverse the Trail in one uninterrupted trip, but want to hike it's entire length.  It can take years to complete the entire Trail with a series of multi-day hikes.

There are risks to the Trail's visitors, such as getting hopelessly lost or falling ill, wild animals and dangerous weather.  Matt Graves of the National Park Service suggests that "No risk is so ominous as the humble tick".  We've experienced  tick infestations with subsequent removal,  and even Lyme Disease caused by the deer tick.  Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute over 175,000 hours to maintain the trail, an effort coordinated largely by the Appalachian Trail Conservatory, assisted by some 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships.

There are several kinds of hiking.  Among them is "Backpacking", also known as trekking, and is a multi-day, often arduous hike in mountainous regions.  "Dog hiking" is done with dogs.  "Free-hiking" is hiking off-trail and hiking in the nude. Naked Hiking Day actually exists and is observed on June 21st, the summer solstice.  We 'll let you Google that one for further information!  "Scrambling" is "Non-technical" rock climbing or mountaineering.

We've probably all been told to take a hike at some point or another--it may have been a joking remark from a friend or serious advice from your doctor.  Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, said "Walking is man's best medicine".  There are five good reasons to take a hike:  it helps to reduce depression, it increases the quality of sleep, it strengthens your bones, you get to reconnect with natures, and it is a form of natural healing.  As John Muir said, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home, that wilderness is a necessity".

We give you "Lonely Path".  Ansel Adams said, "No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied---it speaks in silence to the very core of your being".  This image was captured in the Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonian Chile.  The Park has been elected as the 5th most beautiful place in the world by National Geographic, the 8th Wonder of The World by Trip Advisor, and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.  It is a part of the National System of Protected Forest Areas of Chile, covers 700 square miles, and receives over 262,000 visitors a year.  It is a hiker's paradise.  However, hikers are not allowed to stray from the paths, except in designated areas. The image shows you the striking Andes Mountains and the shrubbery gives evidence to the strong prevailing winds.

 

 

 

 

Closer to home is "Shady Lane"  for you easterners. This image was captured on Fort George Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida and is considered one of the most spectacular hammocks in all of Florida.  It is a site of human occupation for over 5,000 years, where native Americans feasted, colonists built a fort and the Smart Set of the 1920s came for vacations.  

Fort George has the highest point along the Atlantic coast south of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and contains Timucua oyster shell mounds.

For you westerners, we give you "Big Sur".  The Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the California coast between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon.  The stunning views, redwood forests, hiking, beaches and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for tourists from across the world.  During the height of the tourist season, traffic can be an absolute disaster and finding parking places a true headache!  We've been there, done that!  But the  sights were well worth the effort!

These images are available in table top to wall size, triple matted and with or without a frame.  The matted versions are yours at a 10% discount and the framed matted versions in sizes 11x14 and larger can be yours at a 15% discount.

Visit our website, www.throughthelensoflee-margaret.com for available sizes and prices.

Stop by and see us on Monday through Friday from 10a.m. to 12 noon and 1:30p.m. to 5 p.m.

The gallery is open for arranged Saturday appointments.  Call us at 904-387-8710 to schedule your special visit.  Come see us and order now.

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."

-- Aristotle

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