Mountain Men: A Father-Son Backpacking Journey

Mountain Men: A Father-Son Backpacking Journey

In the Appalachians of Virginia, a first father-son backpacking trip reveals panoramic vistas and glimpses of discoveries yet to come.

By T. Edward Nickens/ Illustration by Brian Cronin
Published: September-October 2010

Now I hear Jack's cackling laugh again, the joyous sound of unbridled freedom in the unshackled wild. I could not count the number of times I have heard that sound, ringing from mountains and swamps and deep woods and wild beaches. Each time I hear it I resolve to hear it again, make a promise to myself and to my children to never stop bringing them to the places where my father took me, to places where birdsong greets them in the morning and we eat cowboy oatmeal for breakfast and lick dessert off a stick. Now the wind picks up his wild laughter and drives it across the mountain and into my heart, like the seed that finds soil in the cleft of a rock.

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