Departing for Georgia to Begin the Appalachian Trail

At the airport, I took a seat by my gate and a wave of uplifting energy came over me—as if there was life in my veins after spending four long grueling months of feeling quite “bleh” in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. Yet, spring was on the horizon and I was finally coming out of my shell. The hiking bug got me yet again and I smiled to myself, for I knew what followed my desire to walk was my passion for writing.

Airports often made me ponder on where everyone was traveling to and what their story was. I wondered what each passerby was going through and what inclined them to take a flight. Maybe they were having a mid-life crisis and wanted to fly to Europe to find themselves or maybe they were meeting up with a secret lover overseas! Filled with curiosity, I wanted to engage with everyone around me and bask in the sense of their presence.

And so it was, my flight was departing for Georgia and soon I would be starting my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail! My friends from the CDT, Gump and Juniper, offered to host me for a couple of nights as some pre-trail trail magic!

Juniper picked me up from the airport and we went to the farm to visit her horse, Sir William. I could tell she was a farm girl at heart by how comfortably she walked through the mud. Sir William stomped his hooves in the water causing water to splash on Juniper and she laughed as she turned to me and asked, “You wanna give him a treat?? He’ll just eat it right out of your hand!”

Afterwards, we picked up Gump and went to their local restaurant, Taco Mac. They shared with me that it was the place where they first met, outside on the patio. It felt wholesome to be in the space where their love first sparked. Now, they were in a committed marriage and held one of the strongest bonds I’ve ever seen.

Gump let me pick his brain about the AT while I simultaneously munched on some oven-roasted BBQ chicken wings. He said I could ask him any and every question I had about the trail and he would answer everything in detail. I could feel his excitement from simply talking about his first thru—I knew exactly what that felt like. It never got old answering the same gear, food and “trail life” related questions people had.

Fell asleep with a heated and weighted blanket cocooning me into a cozy abyss of rest. Time to enjoy the last bit of luxury before I hit the infamous wet and cold trail.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

    What Do You Think?