The Tableland and The Knife’s Edge

Most thru-hikers would agree that the longest, most challenging mile of the Appalachian Trail is Mahussoc Notch. That may be true, but the long, windy, emotionally-laden final mile to Katahdin’s summit is a solid contender. It was a labor of love to bring this scene to life.

The toughest thing about a thru-hike is that it ends. At some point, you reach the end of the trail, and it’s time to return home, to re-enter society, to bid farewell to the mountains. My AT thru-hike began with the first flowers of springtime in the south; on my last day on the trail, the path was dusted with snow. “The Tableland” (18″x14″, 2020) is a tribute to the finale of the Appalachian Trail.⠀

“The Knife’s Edge” (18″x14″, 2020) is a scene from the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which I thru-hiked in 2012. After summiting Mount Katahdin and, thus, reaching the end of my six-month backpacking journey, I was taking a chilly, thoughtful break on the snowy summit when the sky started to clear. Through the mist, the infamous Knife’s Edge came into view, every bit as magnificent and dramatic as its reputation suggested. I longed to hike it but knew better than to attempt it in that weather. As I crossed a big goal off my bucket list, I found myself adding another one, a sort of pledge to myself that I’d see that beautiful mountain another day.

In this piece, the foreground is dominated by a massive, snow-covered, stone cairn and the rocky summit. Beyond the cairn, the jagged profile of the Knife’s Edge spans the width of the felting. Mist partially obscures the view of the horizon as the clouds part to reveal blue sky.

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