In the low elevations of North Carolina, spring is in full leaf. As we’ve walked north from Georgia we’ve watched the understory transform from a smattering of wildflowers to a symphony of colors and textures. In one day, in one sweeping glance, trillium nods in white, pink, yellow, and scarlet. Explosions of troutlily fill damp places. Squawroot peeps out of leaf litter. Columbine peers between rocks.
Spring climbs upward. In low gaps, the trees are covered in fresh cloaks of green leaves. Like flames, they spread towards the mountaintops. Views become obscured, the trail now turning into a tunnel through greenery.
Earl Shaffer, the first thru hiker, titled his book “Walking with Spring.” It’s obvious at a hiker’s pace, this miracle of the season unfolding all around us.