Remains of the old swimming pool along the stream below the former Camp Kewanzee.
We picked this pretty-easy section of Appalachian Trail, with its short connectors to the Blue Ridge Parkway, in order to do some poking around at the former site of Camp Kewanzee, which was operated from 1926 to 1950, and had its 500-acre territory shrunk in 1939 when the parkway people came along and told owners Gus and Julia Welch that a bit more than 100 acres of their land was going to be needed for the new roadway.
The walk north was easy, the first part of the exploration was easy, lunch was not just easy but warm and t'riffic in the sun, but then…
But then The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All was called upon to do a little of what she just does not care for. Which started out OK, since we had a map from the days of the property transfer back in '39.
But when we got to the point where it said on the old map "Abandoned Trail," and I started us up what it mighta/coulda once been, The Day Hiker began to get quickly skeptical. Her comments proceeded along these lines.
1. "Well, if it was abandoned 70 years ago, what do you suppose it is now, Kurt?"
2. "This isn't right, Kurt, there's just nothing in here."
3. "Where's the stream, Kurt? We're supposed to be along a stream!"
4. "Gaaaa! Where are we?! This is how people get lost, Kurt!"
5. "I can't stand this, Kurt! There could be snakes in here, all kinds of stuff, and we are just wandering around who knows where! I hate this!"
I could mention that she never uses my name in every sentence like that except when under duress or angry or both, a combination she began to achieve at #4 and reached fully at #5.
And it's hard to keep your bushwhacking confidence up and your sort of male-hero-in-the-wilderness fantasy going when you're getting questioned/challenged/excoriated pretty much every step of the way. Even when it's only maybe half a mile tops as you head back up the mountainside you sloped down via the old road.
But once the old road was in sight, The Day Hiker reformed immediately and simply: "Sorry."
And later: "It's weird that the person you think of as greatest day hiker of all is no doubt the worst bushwhacker of all."
Appalachian Trail from access point just above Cornelius Creek Shelter to Sunset Field overlook and then along forest road on the other side of the parkway; and back, about 7.5 miles.
How to get there: Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 80.4 and limited parking at the forest road.
Map of Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Falls trails here.