Days 0 through 3 on the Appalachian Trail

Day 0

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.

At the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail

Day 1

At Hawk mtn shelter (left to right: Claire, Lucy, Pneumonia, Me, Two 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.

Day 2

Crossing a stream

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.

Day 3

Me and Carly on Blood mtn

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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Comments 36

  • JhonYermo : Mar 3rd

    Let us know how those books work out for you. Good luck

    • Greg Christie : Mar 3rd

      Nice meeting you today on the trail today near hogpen gap. I woke up around 4am this morning and your blog showed up on my feed and it got me excited to get out and enjoy the trail on such a beautiful day. I hit the trail and zoned out enjoying the climb and views passing many throu hikers going the other way when my mind snapped back to reality with the thought that’s the girl in the green pants… god speed to you Hanna hope you have a wonderful trip…

    • Richard Wallace : Mar 5th

      Doing great!

  • Dr Pepper : Mar 3rd

    Your not clumsy…everyone rolls their ankles.
    I started north bounty in 2016. Had to bow out due to a leg injury so now I section hike it. I try and go back each year and start where I left off. 2019 was through the great smokie Mountains. Couldn’t go last year cause of the virus but plan on hitting it again in April. Have fun but be cautious…not everyone out there are good people. I also walk alone but meet folks and walk with people when I can. One year I met a guy beside a pond before the smokies. Saw his picture a month later on TV where he was arrested for killing a couple on the AT with a machete. Watch out for bears. Oh…if there is a sign that says a shelter is closed due to aggressive bear activity, heed it. Keep going no matter how tired you are. Happy trails!

  • Russ1663 : Mar 3rd

    Have fun. Just curious, what brand of boots did you change over to? Safe trails.

  • Jim : Mar 3rd


  • SUNNY : Mar 3rd

    I want to wish you all the best. I am a 72 year old lady who always dreamed of hiking the AT. I never got to. I didn’t have the experience or the support of my friends or family. Everyone thought it was a joke and I got discouraged over time. In my heart, I still have that dream.
    God bless you for doing this while you are young and strong.
    Godspeed. Be safe in your journey.

    • Sharon : Mar 3rd

      Hi Sunny. I’m 71 and had the same dream. After kids and latest in life nursing school it became difficult to try the AT. I’d try a short run I had some to go with. We can dream.

    • Chris : Mar 3rd

      Do it!

      • Bort : Mar 3rd

        I agree. Do it. Start off slow and stay as long as you want. What do you have to lose.

    • Sarah : Mar 3rd

      GO FOR IT. I moved to the NC mountains 3 years ago and though I don’t go far [or fast] my little dog and I pick a trail every week; whether it’s a Benton MacKaye or the AT and we may only go 2 miles [4 is the most I’ve done – round tip]. We go as far as I like and then head back to the car. By the way; I’m 71 and little dog is 9 years old. We’ve done a bit of Yonah Mountain in Ga. Blood Mountain is on my bucket list. Enjoy your hiking; keep us posted

    • Peter Disbury : Mar 4th

      If you feel you are physically mentally and emotionally capable of hiking this trial it really doesn’t matter what how old you are.

    • Stephen McGuire : Mar 4th

      Saw the “Trek” pop up with “Spring” Hannas post with your reply. I could not help but respond to what you wrote. It is never to late. I did the PCT at 68 years old, non stop, teo days short of two months. I am hoping to get to do the AT and the CDT. You do not have to do any trail all at once. A little at a time, a little each season. I was told id never get to hike again after my knee surgery. I proved that wrong and did a thru hike of the PCT. Don’t give up. Don’t make your decision based on others helping. The AT has many short stints that are excessable for day or a few day hikes.
      “Bible” PCT class of 2018, I was on” trail “

    • Shiner : Mar 5th

      There is a book that you would enjoy: Old Lady on the Trail written by Mary Davison. She hiked the triple crown in sections, mostly in her 70’s! Truly inspirational! 😁

  • Janet Sachs : Mar 3rd

    I am really excited to read your posts. As was mentioned by Sunny above, this is something I too have thought of doing. Somehow though, life was always getting in the way. Now I’m not sure sure my body could take it! I will look forward to hearing about your journey. Keep that smile on your face and enjoy every minute.

    • Babs : Mar 3rd

      I also have wanted to do this hike for years.Never able to find anyone to go with me.Now in my 60’s I would still attempt it if I could find a group in my age bracket to travel with.Best of luck to all adventure loving souls young and old!Stay safe and have fun!😊

      • Sharon : Mar 3rd

        Would love to do the trail have always wanted to. I’m in my early 60’s.
        Contact me if you are serious.

      • Jane : Mar 3rd

        I hear you. I too want to hike the AT and was considering doing it solo – logistics of such a hike is difficult for me – no family, few friends. The last time I hiked with two friends in Costa Rica, on fourth day of two week trip, one fell and broke her leg, hide to be transported out by horse, then went to San Isidro General where she had surgery with hardware to fix the breaks. Rest of trip a washout . . . being a nurse, I ended up doing nurse duty. Decided at that point to just hike alone. I am 67 and very nervous about hiking with others but might chance it – understanding the hiker’s code of ethics to help when help is needed. I don’t think I’m too old to consider hiking the AT – might do it in sections, though. I’m not a fast hiker nor very experienced but certainly have the will (and the proper equipment) and hopefully the common sense to not do something stupid or dangerous.

        • Patrick Hanlon aka SloMoe : Mar 7th

          I understand your plight. I am 59 and a medical train wreck lol! I have two replacement joints and a slo of other lung issues but I still hike the AT is sections.
          I’m getting ready to hike from Daleville VA to Harper Ferry WV this spring. Starting in the middle of April or around the 1st part of May. Have to wait until a project I’m on finishes up here in Washington DC. I’m from Silver Spring MD, which is just outside of DC. If you can put your gear together you and I can hike together. Once we start communicating and we feel comfortable with each other. This way you have a person to hike with and we both have company. I’m not a fast hiker and since I’m on vacation I take my time and enjoy everything I see and do. I don’t hike big miles, well hence my trail name, SloMoe((7-12 miles). You can hike 1 day with me or 60days with me bc that’s how many days I will be on the AT. Once I hike 300miles from Daleville Va to Harper Ferry WV. I will be shuttling to Port Clinton Pa. I have already hiked from Harpers Ferry to Port Clinton back in 2018. I plan on hiking from Port Clinton to somewhere in Vermont. That’s approximately another 300 miles. This is only if my body holds up. It should but you never know but you are more the welcome to hike with me the entire time. You may find out that you are meeting more people that you want to hike with and you move on. That’s great to. We hike our own hike. Your call. I just wanted to put this out there for you to enjoy what you have wanted to do for a long time and not hike by yourself. My email is above. Email me when you want to talk.

          PS if this year doesn’t work bc it is such short notice, which I completly understand. I will be doing Springer to Damascus Va next year as well. Little more time to plan and meet and greet.

          Your call. So please give it some thought and email. If not enjoy and stay safe.

      • Kim : Mar 4th

        Hi Babs. We should connect somehow. I ll do it even if it s in sections

      • Ed England : Mar 13th

        Hi Babs, I always wanted to hike the AT and I stopped one time on my way south in Georgia at Springer Mt. Forest service. After putting it off for so long here I am 78 now kicking myself. Are you still gonna try it?

    • Elaine : Mar 3rd

      I would love to hike the trail.
      Can’t find anyone to hike it with me neither. I’m in my late 50’s.
      Contact me if you would like.

      We are never too old. 🌞

    • Sarah : Mar 3rd

      I came from the NC coast – flat land – and now have a little chalet. Mountain walking takes a bit of getting used to. I couldn’t walk to my mailbox for the first year. Now dog and I are doing a few miles every week.Your body can do it if mine can!!! I’m 71 with knee issues and asthma. Slow and steady with breaks. Good luck!!!!!

  • BrianB : Mar 3rd

    Yes, I also would like to know how the boots will work out.

  • Ted Williams : Mar 3rd

    You poor thing. That backpack is way too big and heavy for you. I hope you figure out what you don’t need to bring with you. Next stop you take, try to get rid of some of that garbage.

  • Josh : Mar 3rd

    I thought the AT was closed due to COVID-19 this hiking season. Am I missing something here?

    • Master Red Dog : Mar 7th

      The ATC had recommended against it.. They are also not recognizing thru hikes, but the AT its not closed. If you are young and healthy or you have already received Trump’s vaccine, then you are good to go.

    • Salad Eater : Mar 7th

      AT is not closed, just that the ATC is not recognizing 2021 through hikers.

  • pearwood : Mar 3rd

    Go, Hannah! Be nice to your ankle. You’re going to need it. The boots are a good idea. You can always swap them out later.

  • Jane Payette : Mar 3rd

    Sorry to say the boots will not dry and your feet will always be wet. Stick with trail runners or sandals. You are looking at blister city- socks will not dry- nothing dries….

  • Brooke Fincke : Mar 3rd

    HANNAH!! This blog is giving me life. Coming up on a year anniversary of near total isolation, your words and ability to bring us into your experience is exhilarating. I cannot even begin to imagine how full your heart is. Training my 5 year old on short, three-milers in local woods… My three year old only wants to climb trees and yell at the clouds. We’ll be out with you soon enough!

  • Grandma Patty : Mar 4th

    If you run into a group of about 15 hikers together, ask if one of them is Ben from Jordan, Mn. Say Hi from me.

  • Packman : Mar 4th

    Found reading all comments brought me back to hiking the AT. My wife, Detour, and I section hiked the entire AT starting in 1992 and finishing in Sept 2013. Twenty one years! That’s determination.
    You just have to do it.
    Good luck Spring!

  • Matt Reed (aka) Hi-lo GaMe 2000 : Mar 5th

    Good luck out to there. Going to relive my hike by following yours. KEEP ON KEEPIN ON!

  • Gerard : Mar 7th

    GOod luck on your journey! Be safe. Keep going.

  • Brian Kardasen : Mar 9th

    Don’t know how far you are hiking. If coming through Dalton mass. Stop at lumber yard by the railroad tracks ask for my store and I’ll buy you lunch.


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