Day 0 – The Journey Begins
Holy shucks the day is finally here. Let me give you the rundown on how day 0 went.
Well I woke up after maybe 1.5 hours of sleep to catch the 5:30 out of San Antonio to ATL. I weighed in at my goal weight of 210lbs. In typical Derek fashion I had million last minute things to accomplish before departing (to include packing). I caught an Uber to Springer Mountain (100$ exactly because I make my tips round off to whole numbers, is anyone else a psychopath?).
I got out of the Uber thinking it was a beautiful day (that was short lived) After checking in as Thru-hiker #2568 I started up the approach trail at 11am.
My pack, food and all, weighed 38 pounds (a bit above my goal of 25). As soon as started up the approach trail I was greeted with a torrential downpour. Rain gear on, I walked up stairs to waterfall thinking “What is this start to the AT trying to tell me?”
Luckily the rain didn’t last all day. I managed to get about 4 miles in before changing over to my Chaco sandals. I found a hotspot on the heel of my trailrunners that necessitated a change in footwear.
Random thought of the day: “These plants look like little umbrellas when wet”.
Hiking went well considering the late start and lack of sleep. I was successful in being present and resisted the urge to listen to music or an audible book (starting out with “Lord of the Flies”). The sounds of rain and the forest were welcoming and peaceful.
I arrived at Black Gap shelter around 4:30 low on water and energy. My phone intel told me the would set at 5pm. After refilling my water, and befriending a local weekend hikers I decided I wasn’t going to make my intended camp site at Stover Creek and set up for the evening.
My weather app lied to me; the sun does not set here at 5pm. 3 hours later after dinner around a campfire with my new friends it was still light out. Lesson learned that I’m good to hike until 8ish PM.
I also met some former-Military, section-hikers: Scrub and Minute Man. We commiserated on the joys and grudges of our service days (note the stories of grudges were more numerous, as is the tradition).
I retired to my tent around 9pm to power down and charge my devices. I had zero cell service at the shelter so this is going live on day 1 when I reach the official start at Springer Mountain tomorrow.
Stow away in my pack with me for day 1 on the Appalachian Trail.
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