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Ivan whacks hiking trail

September 21, 2004|Ashley Powers

Hurricane Ivan pummeled parts of the Appalachian Trail over the weekend, downing trees and soaking hikers along the 2,174-mile route.

Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in North Carolina are expected to reopen this week after Ivan doused them with almost a foot of rain, says Laurie Potteiger of the Appalachian Trail Conference. No injuries were reported.

Ivan's wrath smacked the southern part of the Maine-to-Georgia hike, the Eastern cousin of the Pacific Crest Trail that attracts 3 million to 4 million trekkers a year. Sheltered hikers near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border reported a "blow down" -- a tree that fell across the trail -- every 5 feet for about a mile. At a North Carolina mountain called Standing Indian, the rain whipped debris, trees and vegetation.

"Got snorkel?" asks a post on a hiking message board.

Potteiger says much of the trail winds through higher elevations, buffering it from severe flooding. Still the trail was spared deadly miles-long mudslides that pounded Franklin, N.C., 10 miles away.


-- Ashley Powers

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