Oh my goodness, where to start!
It would be way too hard (and let's face it, boring) to detail the five days I've been out. Unfortunately, this computer I'm using at the Holiday Inn doesn't have a slot for my memory card, so no pictures for now.
- 70 degrees and sunny
- Started at the parking lot 1 mile north of Springer, hiked "backwards" for a mile, and started the official AT
- 8 miles not including the backwards mile
- Met several groups of prospective thru hikers and spring break hikers
- Fairly easy terrain
- Fifty (!) people at the Hawk Mountain shelter. The shelter has plenty of camping space, so we were by no means crowded. I think even more hikers came in after dark, so it may have been closer to sixty people total.
- Sunny, shower and thunderstroms in the afternoon
- 9 miles total
- Camped with a few thru hikers and a great family that kept us entertained in the evening
- Very sunny
- Summited Blood Mountain- insert really awesome view here
- 14 miles
- Much harder terrain, but I felt great the whole time. Well, except for the sunburn...
- Stayed at some cabins near Neel Gap. An excellent way to end a long day with showers, a bed, and laundry.
- Shakedown by the Outfitter at Neel's Gap! I was told that I had done good research and they didn't tell me to send anything home. Actually, they suggested I get a better first aid kit, which I picked up. My pack (without much water in it) weighed in at 27 lbs.
- Good weather during the day, sprinkles in the afternoon, POURING RAIN in the middle of the night
- My tent held up well and my stuff stayed pretty dry
- A couple great views and several climbs
- 11 miles
- Stayed at Low Gap Shelter with several thru hikers and mostly spring break hikers- I think about 30 people total. Again, tons of camping area so there was plenty of space.
- Rain rain rain rain
- Hiked with my parents most of the day
- Easy terrain
- My first trail magic at Unicoi Gap! A hiking club was giving out hot dogs, fruit, brownies, etc. They also gave us a free ride to Hiawasee, where we are staying for the night. Laundry, shower, chinese buffet, resupply, etc.
- 9 miles
Whew! I really ought to mentally prepare a little better for these blog entries. There is way too much info to pack in. The biggest thing I can stress is that everything is wonderful. I feel great, my body is great, my gear is great, and I love the AT. I know it won't be like this for much longer- I am bound to get discouraged and have some problems. But I feel very lucky that so far I have had a great experience.
My parents are leaving me tomorrow to go back home. I'm sad to see them go- I feel nervous about making my own decisions and having to figure things out on my own. The beauty of the trail is that I'm actually not on my own.... there are so many friendly people around that help me all the time. I also know I will feel a little lonely without my permanent buddies. We didn't hike together most of the time, but always had a plan as to where we were meeting for the night. I know I will make friends, but I really prefer to have a few very close friends and I know that won't be the case. The nature of the trail is that you can easily lose someone when you take a zero day or they hike a day ahead of you.
Yikes, 9pm. Time for bed. I am blessed.