An AT Update: Week 1

My first week on trail has been simultaneously exactly as I expected it to be while also being nothing at all like I expected it to be. I expected rain, thoughts of dread/regret/wanting to go home, freezing nights, and to meet cool people. I got all of those – including my first tramily! I say first, because we are still very early in the trail and I’m not sure if our paces will continue to match up once we really get going. We took our first zero on Saturday in Dahlonega, GA to try to avoid some rain, but then of course the weather report shifted and we are probably going to encounter a storm on Blood Mountain now, so that should be interesting. So, here’s a brief summary of my first 5 days on trail. No crazy mileage yet. Top day was a little over 8 miles, lowest mileage day was a little over 4. I got a blister on my right little toe on the approach trail, so I’ve been really careful since then. It’s not going to take me out or anything, but it’s pretty annoying. Personally, I’m still on the fence on if the approach trail is worth it or not, even after I already did it.

Terrain-wise, I haven’t been too upset with anything. None of the climbs have been too steep yet, which is good considering I’m getting used to this 40lb pack again. Yeah, you heard that right – I weighed in at 40lbs. Much heavier than I’ve used on past backpacking trips – but I didn’t need 5-6 days of food at a time on those trips. There was a hiker I was at a few shelters with the last few days and on his first day, his pack was SEVENTY-EIGHT POUNDS. He did a shakedown and got it down to 48lbs, but then yesterday morning when we were stopped and trail magic’d by a missionary group who served us a hot breakfast at Gooch Gap, he weighed it again and it was up to 55. Mine was at 44, even though I’d eaten a lot of food, so I’m thinking it was because some of the clothes in there were wet and I had extra water with me at the time. I did end up sending some things home this morning (extra clothes, first aid supplies, etc) so I’m hoping it feels a little bit lighter when I get back on trail tomorrow.

I got my trail name! We cycled through a couple as they came up, including but not limited to “Bad Bitch”, “Spite”, “Adventure Time”, and “Voodoo Trekking Poles”, and the group finally settled on “Voodoo Princess”. The Princess because I am apparently high maintenance (debatable but also not at all) and Voodoo because the other day I walked further than I technically had to go get to where the shuttle driver was going to pick us up and they chose to follow me (their first mistake) and had to walk an extra half mile so they said they wanted to make a voodoo doll of me. They wouldn’t be the first person to make a voodoo doll of me. To be honest, I’m not sure what that says about me.

Anyway – I’m currently hiking with a couple from New York that I met on day one on the approach trail. One also shuffled through a few trail names: “Smoky Bear”, and “Cuddles”, but we finally settled on “Decaf Cheddar” after an intense discussion on how much mild cheddar cheese does not compare to sharp. His boyfriend has yet to be officially trail named, but my vote is for “Kirby” after watching him INHALE a quart or cookies and crème ice cream this afternoon in about 10 minutes while also eating several full meals, and purchasing FIVE POUNDS of gummy bears/sour patch kids that he claims is “only 4 days worth” for him. As a dietitian, I’m both impressed and horrified. I’m only horrified because this is PRE-hiker hunger. Other hiker in our group is making his 4th attempt at a thru-hike (covid + injuries have thwarted him a few times now) and goes by “Spin Cycle”, “Spin” for short. Then we have a quieter younger guy (we were all shocked to find out he was 19, we thought he was mid-twenties), Lightning, and an older guy, age 69 (but you’d never know it), Charlie from Texas. Still working on a trail name for him. I actually met him on the approach trail as well but he was just getting a look at the falls at Amicalola not hiking the approach. He started the trail the next day at Springer. Lastly We have Jodie, a very small women but holy moly will let you know she is there. Very outspoken, to say the least. Pretty awesome though. I believe we are going with “The Rooster” for her. It’s a good group, and I hope we can kind of stick together (as well as a few others we’ve spend days and nights with over the past few days but didn’t go to town and zero with us today) for a while. I don’t know what my company will look like 500 miles down the road, but for now I have a good crew and looking forward to the next week!

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Comments 5

  • Myra Post : Mar 25th

    Go Katie Go!!! 🙂

    • Sarona : Mar 25th

      Magic’d lol
      You’re amazing!

  • Maria and Marc Sammis : Mar 26th

    Hello. we were on your Canyon Tour a few weeks ago. I’m the one who defined old growth forest to you-I bet you will find some on your hike. 🙂 I have been looking for you on Trek’s blog for a few weeks-not knowing when you were starting.
    I’m excited to follow you along on your adventure.

  • Black eyed Susan : Mar 29th

    Awesome reading your journey so far. Glad you’re taking it slow and easy. I too will carry way too much and probably blister and little miles to start. Class of 2028/2029 hopeful.

  • Sabrina : Mar 31st

    Woot! Sounds like a good crew.


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