Countdown Day Zero

It’s Time to Hit the Trail

On my countdown to my thru-hike today is day zero.  I will be stepping off at the Amicalola State Park approach trail today.  Our initial date was March 20th, but we decided the 23rd would be more appropriate.  The influx of new hikers for the spring equinox would dampen our experience and crowd the trail.  My partner T and I will be traveling together, and are both anxious for what awaits us on this journey.  As I am writing this, we are in the vehicle on the 3 and a half hour drive to Georgia.

I’m not sure it has really sank in for either of us yet of what we are about to embark on.  We are not going on a weekend backpacking trip.  This will be day in and day out for the next several months.  Many challenges await us in the future both known and unknown.  Fatigue, homesickness, annoying insects, the danger of Norovirus and Lyme disease, etc.  We hope for the best in our journeys, but are prepared for what the trail will throw our way.

Gear Breakdown

Several modifications were made to my pack over the last several weeks to improve my comfort.  For instance swapping out my bear canister for a lightweight dry bag is one example.  Another would be changing from a 5lb sleeping bag to a 2 lb.  These changes are quite significant in reducing my overall pack weight.  As I stand here today, my pack’s base weight is around 18 lbs.  Over the next few weeks once warm weather starts consistently being the norm I will send a few of the items of clothes I have back home.  Due to the fact that it has been a very mild winter I am not quite sure what to expect.  I did not really see any snow until a little over a week ago, which worries me that winter might set in now.

Contact During my Trek

The only times that I know that I will call anyone and let them know where I am is when I’m in town.  Past that I am not sure when you might hear from me.  I have Verizon which has the best reception on trail, but I have yet to see how effective it is.  I hope to keep in contact with everyone, but my updates will be posted while I am in town.  The updates will most likely be posts to this site, Instagram, and possibly Facebook.  These will address everyone, and you are more than welcome to comment on those and I will try to get back to you.  If you need to reach me directly you may try my cell phone, or you can message me on Instagram.  I do not have Facebook messenger and will not be able to read any messages on there.

I hope to rely very little on technology during this time.  During the day I will not access my phone at all while I am on trail.  I will only do so at night when I am in camp.  I believe it would take away from the purpose of my hike to stay on my phone all day.  Thru-hiking consists of connecting with nature and the people around you.  It also gives an opportunity for silent reflection that no other atmosphere can provide.

My Expected Outcome

My goal is to complete this hike within around 5 months, which will put me back around late August or early September.  I believe this will be achievable, but the future is always uncertain.  My history teacher used to say, “Men plan, and God laughs.”  I’m not sure why I always remembered that, but it is incredibly true.  Nothing ever goes to plan, but that what will make this journey memorable.

When I return from my trek I hope that I am better for doing so.  I want those around me to be proud of who I have become, even more so than they already may or may not be.  Hopefully, I will be more patient and understanding of others, and will be viewed as highly moral and just.  Finally, I hope that I am truly proud of who I look at in the mirror.  Though my darker days may be behind me, there is still a glimmer of that person I once was.  My goal is to eradicate that entirely, and become who I am meant to be.  And so, my journey begins…

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Comments 3

  • Steven Newland : Mar 24th

    Good luck Tyler! I plan to start my thru-hike in 2018 so I will be following post from 2017 thru-hikers to pick up on some tips. Take Care!

  • Paul Rhoades : Mar 24th

    Will be following your post on the trek,looking forward to reading about your journey,Paul from New Boston Michigan

  • Lil' Santa : Mar 24th

    Hey Tyler! Have fun on your hike. You are going to meet some amazing people and transform in a very positive way. I’m so proud of what the trail taught me. Kudos to you for attempting this hike and making it happen. I know a few people who finished in 5 months, but most took 6. You’ll see that it will be hard to stick to a scheduled plan on paper and the trail will constantly surprise you with new challenges and rewards. Freedom is the best part of being on trail. If you want to zero, zero. If you want to do a 25 mile day to make it to the buffet on time, then hike on! Be sure not to push yourself too hard and always stop for a waterfall!


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