Day 14 – OMG, We Made It to NC!

Day 14

Start: Campsite @ 70.3

End: White Oak Stamp

Miles Hiked: 11.5

Total Miles on AT: 81.8


This morning was a later morning, but the weather was so nice and the sky so clear that I was happy to sit outside and admire the morning’s beauty while I waited. Like many other days, today was a day of climbing. 

First we went down to Cowart Gap, and then another steeeeep, uphill – straight up to the top! I’ve actually come up with a “Straight up, to the top” song to sing on inclines like these. I sing it (either out loud or in my head) at least once a day.

Our morning was generally slow, the air heating up as we got closer to the top. When we got to a more exposed part of the trail, the sun really started to show its power. It was hot! Okay, maybe not hot, but I could definitely feel the effects of the sun’s rays. It’s definitely one of the warmest days on trail we’ve had thus far.

Today was going to be a big day. We were going to leave Georgia and enter North Carolina. Our first state on the Appalachian Trail, done! But, first we had to get there.

Again, hunger was a challenge today. We didn’t get a chance to take a really long lunch break, so I had a quick lunch and tried to eat as much as I could while moving. The fiance didn’t bring enough food for our trip, so I gave him what I could. 

At Blue Ridge Gap, we ran into a group of 5 or so young hikers. Looks like a tramily is starting to form for them. One of the hikers we had been leap-frogging for a few days, so it was good to see him with a group.

Getting to the border was not going to be a walk in the park. Despite it being rather gradual, there were still a few steep sections. Plus, it seemed to go on forever! That’s what happens when I anticipate getting to a location. I keep looking and hoping for the destination, making myself perceive it as continually far away. 

Finding the balance between “hiking the map” and “hiking the trail” can be difficult, especially for a planner like me. I like to know what to expect for the day, how high I’ll have to climb, and how difficult the day might be. But, when I prime myself with this knowledge, I anticipate what’s going to be in front of me instead of experiencing the trail as it comes. I was hoping that my move away from a digital map would help me get over this tendency, and it definitely has. But, I still feel myself slipping into this habit.

Since the fiance was moving a little slower today, I made the final push to the border and waited for him to arrive. Unbeknownst to me, I took a break on a log not 50 yards from the border, wondering when I would get there. After a snack to raise my spirits (and blood sugar) and a few more steps, I stumbled across the unassuming sign nailed to a tree. I made it!!! I waited a few minutes and soon the fiance came around the corner.

Wow, what an accomplishment! After taking pictures, we moved to the water source just down the trail and took an extended break. One state down! This milestone felt so good to cross, especially with how difficult the terrain has been. Even though we’ve only been on this trail for a few weeks, crossing the state line gave me a boost of confidence and inspiration to continue strong on the trail.

Our joy at reaching NC was short lived, however. Turns out, NC doesn’t have the warmest welcome on the AT. Immediately after leaving the water source, we had to climb 3 brutally steep 500 foot ascents. And trust me, they were no joke. I was huffing and puffing, taking breaks and wishing for the ability to teleport. Despite this, I did take advantage of the blue blaze vistas. Why do all of that work and not enjoy the view?

Eventually, we conquered our challenging trifecta and made it to our campsite. We were the only people camping there, so I joked that we were enjoying our mansion (Zpacks Triplex) in an exclusive, gated community. The privacy was wonderful, but something set my allergies off, causing me to sneeze at least twenty times between getting there and sleeping. 

Today was long, so we didn’t have much time to relax at the campsite before completing chores and getting into the tent. As night fell, we heard two owls hooting and hunting. They were so close that we could hear their change in positions as they flew from perch to perch, searching for their prey.

Last night, I wasn’t tired enough to get a good night’s sleep, but tonight I definitely will be.


And that’s day 14.


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Comments 2

  • Chris : May 1st

    Congrats on finishing Georgia!

    • Jen Brown : May 2nd

      Thanks 😀


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