A Summary of Springer-Fontana Dam
The first days are the worst.
Coming out on the trail you have an expectation of how it’s going to be. My expectations quickly changed after day 1. The first night was spent at stover creek shelter after a fairly easy day hiking up to springer. I finished my day around 3 which gave me way too much time to think about what I was doing. The temperature rapidly dropped into the low 20s. Between the cold and being extremely homesick it was a tough first night. I was not expecting to be as homesick as I was which ultimately threw me off.
Don’t worry, things get better.
By day 4 I was slack-packing blood mountain with 3 people that I had met (still hiking with 2 of them to this day). It was my first really good day on the trail and finally began to appreciate why I am out here and how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing. My family and friends have been giving me more support than I ever could’ve imagined. I feel so lucky to have them back home!
Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned in the First Two Weeks
1. there’s always a better camping spot (usually 0.1 after the spot that you settled on that night).
2. Toilet paper is optional (I am one of the few who don’t carry TP).
3. Hiking the AT is not a race. It’s easy to get sucked into groups at the beginning that want to push big miles but the most important thing you can do is listen to your body. Start out slow!!! You will thank me later.
4. No food combination is a bad food combination.
5. Arnica tablets are my best friend (I haven’t taken ibuprofen once since I started hiking).
6. Zero days are encouraged! Don’t feel guilty about taking them. They are essential for making it to Katahdin.
7. Buying new gear on trail is more normal than I thought it was. Stuff breaks or you find it doesn’t work for you on trail and you are forced to buy what you need. Budget for that if you can 🙂
8. The trail doesn’t get any easier, YOU get stronger.
It took me some time to adjust to life on trail, but day after day I find that this is what I am meant to be doing. I remind myself day after day how lucky I am to be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
A big shoutout to my hiking partners in crime: Cups, Top, and Kevin (kk on trail and on YouTube if you wanna follow).
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