We are high in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state of North Carolina. It is very early in the morning. We have been walking in the mountains for almost one week. Each night we sleep in a small cloth shelter called a tent. We carry the tent, sleeping bags, clothes, food and water with us in our backpacks.
The air this morning is fresh and clear. It smells like green trees and wild flowers. Our surroundings are dark green. We have been deep in the forest for many kilometers. Little light reaches here. It is so thick with trees we cannot see the sky.
At last we come to a clear area. We can see the sky and the land around us. When we look across to other mountains it is easy to see why they were named the Blue Ridge Mountains. The early morning air in the distance looks like thick smoke. It makes the color of the mountains a deep ocean blue. This color is caused by the amount of water in the air. It is almost like fog. When the sun rises higher, some of the water in the air will be burned away. Then the mountains will slowly turn dark green.
It is beautiful here. We can see many kilometers down and across the valley floor. Two deer are nearby. They are eating grass. No hunting is permitted here. The deer are used to seeing people walk through this area, so they have little fear of humans. They watch us with their huge dark eyes. For several minutes we look at the deer and the deer look at us. Then, the large animals lose interest and slowly move away.
We have stopped to eat a late morning meal. A friend has begun to cook our food over a small fire. The smell of fresh coffee soon mixes with the smell of burning wood. The clear mountain air and our long walk this morning have made us extremely hungry.
We eat a meal of eggs, fruit and bread and drink some very good coffee. After eating, we wash the equipment in hot water and put it inside the large bags we carry on our backs. We put the fire out with water. We fill the small hole we dug for the fire with dirt. We carefully clean the area when we are done. When we leave, there is
nothing to show that we have been there. We try very hard to leave the area as we found it — the way nature made it.