Day 1 on the Appalachian Trail

It’s here!  Day one!  Didn’t sleep a lot, a lot of anxiety and anticipation.  Sherri, ( Mrs. Billy Bob), drove me to Amicalola Falls State Park, to register me for my thru hike.  We met Heat Man (Robert) and his wife Lori there.  Heat Man is going to hike with me until April 24th when he has to get off trail.  Very thankful for the companionship and moral support to start the journey.  A fellow member of the Old Jackets Hiking Club made a surprise appearance at Amicalola to send us off and wish us luck.  Thank you Bert-O!  Your the best!

Billy Bob, Bert-O, and Heat Man at the gate

We said our good byes, and took off in the drizzle.  We didn’t do the Approach Trial, which is a tough 8 miles, and doesn’t even count towards the 2200.  The way I figure it, that’s a another day or half a day I might want on the other end.  I can do the Approach Trail anytime I want.  I live less than 2 hours away.  We’ll have a picnic there one day.   Sherri and Lori drove us around and up a Forest Service Road that crosses the trail about a mile up from Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the trail.  You have to walk in a mile and then back track, (so do that mile twice), but that was better than doing 8 tough miles that don’t count.  At least that’s how Billy Bob sees it.

It’s that way! Who is navigating this boat?

We took off, and hiked about 8 miles before setting up camp.  Not too bad, a lot of mountain laurel, some rhododendron, and even some nice stands of Hemlock trees.  Beautiful creek crossings.  They had tried to scare the bejesus out of us at the briefing at Amicalola about the Norovirus.  We met a Ridge Runner, a paid ranger type that patrols a certain section of the trail a couple of hours in.  The advice is don’t stay in the shelters, wash your hands with soap often, sanitizer doesn’t kill it.  Also, a storm was coming in.  I am not generally a shelter type, and wasn’t planning on sleeping in them, except for really bad weather.  Sleeping in close proximity with others is generally not my thing, and according to Mrs. Billy Bob, I snore badly.  Allegedly…  So, from the way my wife attacks me in the middle of the night for snoring, I am somewhat afraid that some sleep deprived hiker will bash my head in with a big rock as I sleep, and allegedly snore.  But bad weather was going to be my exception to that rule.  But I really don’t want to get Norovirus, especially way out in the woods.  I asked the Ridge Runner which poison she would pick and she was kind of non-committal, but implied she would rather risk storm than Norovirus.  So we took her advice.


This is what Billy Bob looks like on Day 1

It was a pretty easy 8 miles and we camped at Hawk Mountain.  360 ft/mile grade, so nice fairly  easy first day. I will do a weekly mug shot so you can see how my appearance changes, (Ages?)  At the end I will do a time lapse photo.  That should be interesting.

Appalachian Trail, Day 1

Hasta Mañana!


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