Day 1: Springer to Gooch – 16.7 miles
A long first day. Perhaps unwise, perhaps not. They say take it easy for the first week or so and see how your body handles the pack weight and the terrain. My body held up. No blisters. No aches as I lay down to sleep, but morning could be a different story.
We started out at 9:45 from the parking lot before Spring Mountain. 0.9 miles to the top for pictures and log book signing. Then 0.9 back down and on to the trail.
In March, I did a five day practice hike. It was part “do I like this”, part “can I do this”, and part “what kind of gear do I need?” my first day out I pushed it and did Harper’s to Rocky Run (15mi). It was an incredibly stupid day. My pack was too heavy. My feet were all kinds of a mess. But when I got to Rocky Run, I met Wing-Heart. Wing-Heart can talk. If you wanted TV on the trail, sit next to Wing-Heart. You will get a lot of re-runs, but who can’t watch the same episode of the Simpson’s for the 18th time?
Wing-Heart gets to talking about how it is the 20th anniversary of his hike in ’96 and how he and all his buddies a meeting up in Georgia for a reunion. They are all going to meet up and do the Approach Trail in reverse. This was repeated through the night no less that six times.
When I planned my trip I thought it would be too bad I would miss the chance to see him.
Until 2 hours into my hike. “Oh Marylanders!!” came a voice ahead. I knew immediately who it was. My shout back of “Winger!!” left him confused. While he didn’t remember me from that night, he had a meaningful influence in pushing me toward this trip. His repeated mantra “you gotta do it” while I discussed my dream of doing a hike pushed the needle to a forward direction.
He mentioned another Marylander ahead named Ren.
Two’s Company, There’s a crowd… Gooch is a mad house
We made camp at Gooch Gap. It was packed. I ended up sleeping on a downslope. Every time I moved, I slid four inches down my sleeping pad. Fun times :/
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