Days 0 through 3 on the Appalachian Trail
After a restless night at Amicalola lodge, Carly and I headed off on the approach trail. After the infamous 604 steps up the falls, it was smooth sailing. We summited Springer mountain which is the southern terminus of the AT around noon and continued about 0.2 to Springer mountain shelter. At the water source I used my sawyer squeeze for the first time which was a little bit more difficult then I had anticipated. The day all together was about 8.5 miles. We sat around at Springer mountain shelter until 4pm when we got so bored that we decided to hike back up to Springer mountain. On the top we read the log books and talked to other thru hikers. Pneumonia summited Springer around 4:30pm and we were super excited to have part of our trail family back together. The three of us slept at the shelter with only about 5 other thru hikers who were in their tents.
We woke up with the sun and headed out from the shelter around 8:15am with an easy 8 mile day ahead. I had eaten two packets of apple cinnamon oatmeal and was ready to conquer the day. It was surreal to be heading out on my first day on the AT. The miles flew by as Me, Carly, and Pneumonia caught each other up on our year. We took a long break at mile 4 by a creek and then continued on. We got to Hawk mtn shelter around 12:30 and prepared for another boring afternoon. Two tents arrived just minutes after us making our trail family reunion even bigger. Tons of other thru hikers started to arrive and soon we were making tons of new friends. We met Chaco ninja who hiked the whole long trail in Chacos, and Freight Train who makes train noises as he walks uphill. It was fun feeling the excitement and adrenaline of all the other thru hikers. In total there were about 30 hikers camped there for the night. It was windy and rainy all night which didn’t make for good sleep. I was glad when the sun came up and was excited to start a new day.
I started off hiking by myself for the first six miles until I caught up to Two Tents. After about ten minutes hiking with him I rolled my ankle pretty badly but it didn’t hurt to walk on so we continued on. We arrived at Gooch mtn shelter at 11:30 after a super fast 8 miles. We took a break and waited for the rest of the group to catch up so we could decide where to camp. We decided to continue another 5 miles to Woody Gap where we could tent on a grassy patch next to bathrooms and a trash can. Pneumonia gave me his ace bandage to wrap my ankle and I popped some Advil. The five miles were pretty easy except for one hard climb but the views made it worth it. We arrived at Woody Gap around 2:30pm and it was super windy. We found a spot that was slightly tucked in the trees but the wind was still gusting. The four of us plus Chaco ninja, Geodude, Claire, and Lucy camped together. It quickly cooled down and I was careful to put my sawyer squeeze in my sleeping bag so it wouldn’t freeze. It got to 28° and I was very thankful for my 0° sleeping bag.
We woke up around 6am in order to get an early start on the day. We packed up camp and Two Tents went ahead in order to reserve a cabin at Neels gap. Carly, Pneumonia, and I headed off with our puffy coats on for the first hour because it was so cold. There were lots of good views but it was hard to appreciate them because it was so cold and windy out. We took a break around mile 7 to eat because we had skipped breakfast and were all super hungry. We headed uphill to blood mountain where I rolled my ankle again. I was getting super frustrated at myself because I’m not normally a clumsy person. I wrapped up my ankle and continued on. We reached the summit of Blood mountain which is the highest point in Georgia around noon. The climb was a lot easier then I expected but I was really nervous for the steep downhill climb. We took it slow on the way down which I was really grateful for. We arrived at Neels gap and went to the cabin Two Tents had reserved. The total mileage for the day was 11 miles. I went into the shop and bought a pair of hiking boots to get more ankle support and am going to mail home my trail runners. Sleeping in the warm cabin tonight will be super nice and I am excited for the week to come when we will start picking up the mileage.
*apologies for the typos and bad formatting—it’s hard to type up a blog post on my phone*
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