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  • Ken Ilgunas

Fall weekend

I had a four-day fall break, which I spent at David's Acorn Abbey and on the Appalachian Trail, where I--from my starting point at Grayson Highlands State Park--hiked north for two days, and then south for another two back to the van.

During the summer, I’d planted sweet potatoes and lots of greens at Acorn Abbey, including beets, turnips, and mustard. David mashed the potatoes and served the greens, adding some local grass-fed beef (in the form of a meatloaf), beet soup, and my first ever homemade pumpkin pie, which was, needless to say, delicious.

I won’t bore you with another tale of the AT, but here are some pictures of pretty Fall colors.

Atop a hill were a whole bunch of apples that had recently fallen from an apple tree. I presume that someone once had a home and orchard where the trail now runs. These were superb.

Sometimes the trail passes through a farm or a pasture. I caught this cow picking her nose with her tongue.

I had an unusual experience with this deer. I saw two deer: one far above me on a hill; the other, far below. I tried to get as close as I could to the one up high, doing my best to muffle the sound of crunching leaves underfoot, while keeping my eyes trained on it. The whole time, though--unbeknownst to me--I was walking straight toward this deer. I was startled when I saw how close I was to it: just a good ten yards. Curious, it took a few steps toward me and I took a few toward it. How I wanted nothing more than to rub its back!

For five minutes we did nothing but stare at each other. Then it turned its ass in my direction, which dribbled out a flurry of pellets that fell like little rocks off the sheer side of a cliff. The crazy thing was that the same exact thing happened on my walk back south, two days later, in the same spot.

Now I'm back on campus, enjoying cool autumn nights and mild, sunny days.

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