In early June of this year I was hiking over Iron Mountain while backpacking along the Appalachian trail and happened across the monument/grave of Uncle Nick Grindstaff. The inscription simply read:

“Uncle Nick Grindstaff
Dec. 26, 1851
July 22, 1923
Lived alone, suffered alone, and died alone”

Standing at a man’s grave on a mountain top, I could not help but wonder about the man behind the monument. This was the best back story I could find about him ( He died alone in his cabin in 1923. While he was a hermit, he was well known to his neighbors and they erected this monument to him after his death.

Ironically Uncle Nick, in search of solitude, found popularity. Remembered by his friends and family, he is now visited by hundreds of hikers each year, most of them in search of the same thing in some shape or form … solitude.

I left a pebble on his monument as I walked away.