A Magical Day

Puddle Cocktail

My water filtration system comes with an optional straw attachment. On the packaging they show a picture of a person down on the ground drinking from a puddle. I joked about it saying, “Who would actually ever do this?“

I’ll tell you who…….a person who ran out of water the night before and still has 2 miles to go to the spring. The previous night’s rainstorm became a blessing as I got up and walked over to the morning’s untouched trail, full of fresh deep rain puddles. I got that straw attachment out and got down on the ground and sucked that puddle up!

It was the most delicious water I have ever had. The Dom Perignon of rain puddles.

Trail Name

When I finally got to the spring, I had to walk down a muddy embankment to get to the water. My thinking brain wasn’t working yet because it did not occur to me to take my backpack off at the top of the embankment. On my way down, I slipped in the mud and fell on my ass. Then I got even dumber and decided to take my backpack off there in the middle of a slippery slope, never wondering how I was going to get it back on. I’m glad no one got that on hidden camera cause I bet I looked pretty stupid trying.

But on my way up, the group of three hikers that I had talked to the day before were approaching the spring and I got to share my tragic experience with them and advise them to take their packs off at the top.

Then I commented that I remembered them from the day before. They asked me if I had a trail name yet and I said “no.” They said, “Well we’ve been calling you ‘Gypsy’.” Apparently they had seen Amy and I together at the lodge on the previous day and had given me the name because of my Patchwork pants and coin hip wrap (which is my bear deterrent.)

I loved the name and identified with it immediately and accepted it as my trail name. As I continued northward on the trail I became aware that I was smiling. 

Springer Mountain

An early morning uphill climb and then I summitted Springer Mountain and started the official Appalachian Trail by signing my name to the registry. It was downhill from there to the Stover Creek shelter. I had been wanting to get all the way to Hawk Mountain Shelter but really had underestimated how difficult the trail would be.

I find that I’m only able to go about 5 miles in six hours.

Trail Magic

Then I experienced my first trail magic. A couple from North Carolina whose names I have forgotten were set up passing out hot dogs, chips, drinks, and other snacks. We ate and chatted for a little while, but I was worried about how much time I had to go so I cut it short. The Pepsi and hotdog energized me for the rest of my hike, but it became clear that I was not going to make it to Hawk Mountain.

Arrived at the Stover Creek shelter and set up my tent and then met a few people that would start to become my future Trail family. I didn’t spend much time chatting but went to my tent because I was exhausted. I still didn’t sleep much and it rained a little but I wasn’t scared this time. It was a much better day and I was happy I had stayed on the trail.

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Comments 1

  • Michael Brown : Mar 6th

    Congrats on the start of an amazing journey. Can’t wait to get out there myself.


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