Not in that order.

Groseclose. Atkins. Not in that order.
Knot Maul Branch Shelter.
Because settlers could not afford the iron.

Grouse cut loose just up a head, at the nose of the dog, scouting ahead.
The sound their wings made punishing air and us for coming too close.
Early morning. Before nine. More importantly. Before coffee.
Eight birds was just enough to fooly wake us up.
And scare the dog. Most famous of us all.

Mount Rogers. Does he happen to be related to mister?
All I want to know is who to blame for all these blisters.

Wilson Creek. South Holston.
Seven Holsteins dead stare eyes static mouths chewing leftover breakfast.
Dear mom,
I’m writing to say I’m hiking the entire Appalachian Pasture.
It’s swell. Throwing legs over ladders in bolted crosses across barbed wire.
Like a rustler. Like a thief. Mom, I may never leave.

My backpack is become a part of me.
Full. In the most intentional manner imaginable.
Stuffed. With stuff for each and every day,
of the three to come. And six in the past.

If you wanted to come.
You only had to ask.

Bastian. And then. There is Bland. Not in that order.
But just after Abingdon. Then back here again.

To track Appalachians. North.
Until the mountains end.