Approach Trail to First Resupply
Day 1: I’m here! I have made it to Georgia! I had to take a bit of a detour that involved crashing a wedding before getting to Amicalola Approach trail!
My cousin dropped me off and here are my starting stats.
Starting strong with:
36.65lb in the pack (it is all the gummy candy i hoarded)
2 litres of water
1 ton of Audacity (really adds to pack weight)
Jokes on me! I didn’t do the steps at Amicalola falls. I apparently forgot how to read and ended up doing the the east ridge trail, which was empty, quiet, and beautiful!
I originally felt kind of embarrassed that I didn’t start on the official approach trail, I started having some doubts in my capability as a hiker. “Why should I be hiking the AT if I can’t even find the actual approach trail?” I had to remind myself that having this negative self talk isn’t helpful and not going to do anything about goofs that happen on trail. I came out here to hike, heal, and enjoy myself, so there is no room for self depreciation.
I appreciate the consideration other hikers have and how kind and good their intentions are, especially to solo female hikers, but not even 3 miles into the approach trail I had hikers telling me to turn back because of weather and hikers with some “interesting behavior”. I am glad I trusted my gut and checked the weather on my garmin, because I had a great first day on trail. Hiking in clear skies and melting from the heat.
The weather on my slog to springer was unusually hot for the season with temps getting upwards of 80⁰F. Making the day unexpectedly humid and sweaty. I felt great the entire day and ended up finishing with 11 miles at stover creek shelter, with 2 official AT trail miles.
It is still feeling rather surreal to be on trail. I still keep thinking this is experience is somehow going to be taken away from me. Like being here and hiking is a dream that I will be woken up from. So here is to making the most of being here and trying to stay in the moment and really enjoy myself.
Stover creek to Devils Kitchen
Mentally I am feeling more sure about myself and my ability outside. Many of the hikers I have met are encouraging and incredibly helpful which has been great for me. I am starting to be more sure of myself and actually learning from my mistakes. Crappy things will happen. Fix what you can and walk on.
Physically, I am beginning to notice some knee pain in my right outer knee which has me a little worried. The knee pain is making it hard to go down hills. I am trying to limit my ibuprofen and tylenol use, but I am going to need to buy a knee brace in town and slow down on the miles.
Speaking of miles, I have done another 11 mile day, walking Stover Creek Shelter to Devils Kitchen campsite. Personally, I thought I was going to cry coming down sassafras mountain, but I made it! Then I suddenly realized I had “almost” run out if water, as I had forgotten to filter water at Hawk Mountain. Luckily, I found a trickle of water coming out if some rocks, but I need to start tracking my water better on these hotter days.
Today was also sprinkled with some trail magic! A ridge runner, Moxie, gave me some KT tape for my knee while I was soaking in a stream. Even if the KT tape does not work, Moxie is now my hero.
Devils Kitchen to Lance Creek
I finally earned my trail name, Lucky. Today was a weird day. Rainy and overcast but not cold… Thank God! While I was on goal for were I had planned to be, I felt behind. The hikers I had been hiking with that day were one campsite ahead of me and I was beginning to let the negative self talk get to me. Boy, is it hard to unlearn comparing yourself to others. I was behind and one if the last people out of camp. I just felt behind and just behind the curve in general. Even though I was leapfrogging and keeping up with them.
That’s when I remembered a little motto I have been trying to use rather than focusing on the bad stuff, “I am so lucky, everything is going my way!” So when I got to the shelter and it started to poor, I used it. When there was a line at the privy, I said it. Every puddle, miss step, any negative crappy thing happened, I said “I am so Lucky, everything goes my way.” Suddenly a fellow Hiker, Pants, turned to me and said I was now known as “Lucky”.
We hiked from Justus Creek to Lance Creek, a shorter 9.5 mile day as compared to the two 11 mile days. During this section, I have found a group of lovely hikers that have been an absolute joy to be around. All diverse with unique skills and stories, I am so excited to spend more time and learn from them.
I am a little nervous about some knee problems I am having. A ridge runner gave me KT tape which has been helping a lot, but it is something I am going to keep an eye on. It only hurts on very steep down hills which I can manage. Currently, I can manage the pain with stretching and minimal medication.
Lance creek to Neels Gap
Things got a little cold and wet. A storm came through in the night, causing temperatures to drop. Thank God it was a short day of only 7.5 miles…. Up and over blood mountain to get to our resupply. I HAD A BLAST.
I don’t know what it is, but I seemed to thrive in the rain and cold. Was it absolutely miserable? Sure. But was there coffee and pizza waiting for me at Mountain crossings? Yes! I am trying to look for the small things instead of focusing on the negatives. I figure, if I keep focusing on the negative and hard, I won’t be able to pull through when things actually get bad.
I was behind the group I had been hanging out with most of the day until the summit of Blood Mountain, but I quickly caught up and kept up for the rest of the trail.
We ended up doing a nero in town and getting a hotel, which was a welcome change. I am feeling renewed from the todays nature bath and civilizations hot shower.
My knee was fine today. I am sure it is because I was freezing cold and more focused on how my rain gear wasn’t keeping me dry. I am trying to listen to my body more and not get too caught up in my head about keeping up my with other hikers.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.
Very nicely written. Interesting too. Checked your IG before I decided to follow. Glad I did. Anyone that likes Chichén Itzá has to be a good guy. Thanks
BTW Happy Travels on your quest of adventure and discovery.
Hope you post as often as you can.
One more thing, after seeing that picture on IG, I bet would have given you the trail name of Itzá–but that is just me. 🙂
I love your attitude. I know it will take you far.
Nice read. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures. When you’re at Neel’s gap which town is easier to get to? Dahlonega or Blairsville? Was it easy to hitch or call a shuttle? Just picking your brain in hopes that I’ll be a NOBO one day.
I found your story pretty interesting to read. It is always nice to see someone else on their personal journey and to hear about their struggles in the who are there their self talking what makes them keep pushing forward, pushing forward and persevering when it seems like there’s no others. Hope you know. That’s inspirational to me. I had my right leg amputated below the knee I can’t hike anymore but I still have those same struggles in journeys in and mountains to climb so God bless you and thanks for your story. I enjoyed it.
I love your attitude and, YES. YOU. ARE. LUCKY.
Take it really easy with your knee. You might have to slow down a bit and do lower mileage for a few weeks. when I through hiked, I did 8-10 miles/day for the first month. That might mean letting your tramily go on ahead of you but, in the end, your knee will thank you and you’ll go farther on the trail. It’s SO easy to get caught up in the excitement and then incur an injury that might take you off the trail permanently.
ALSO, unless you are concerned about kidney damage, take ibuprofen on a regular basis to keep the inflammation in your joints/knees down to a minimum. In 2017, I thru hiked the entire trail and took 600 mgs in the morning and night. I never had any serious problems. I also took a lot of glucosamine. I think they both saved me!!! Talk to your doctor.
Good luck to you!!! You’ve begun a truly amazing adventure!!
You are rocking the trail. Love your blog!! One step at a time and you will be submitting big K before you know it!
What Do You Think?