Every Adventure Starts with Faith

“Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step is an act of faith.” -Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead Drummer

Well… friends, I am out here. Cozy in my tent. Rolled up in my sleeping bag. Clothes bag as my pillow. It’s 8:23 p.m.—aka hiker midnight and my new bedtime. My husband and I hiked a comfortable 10-mile distance to our first campsite, where we joined two dozen other hikers for our first night in the woods. 

Fellow Hikers

Hikers mosied around the campsite like a colony of ants, busy with their new set of chores: setting up tents, collecting water from a nearby stream, filtering water, boiling water for cooking their freeze-dried meals, and gathering firewood. I wondered how long before all this became a more efficient routine? And, would anyone here become my “tramily” – trail family? 

Every hiker was at the start of their own journey. The collection of individuals gathered around the shelter ranged in age from a gentleman in his 70s to those in their early 20s. Most were somewhere in between, middle-aged hikers closer to my own age. I was surprised by how many people were already quite experienced, from climbing Denali to having hiked for month-long stretches across the US before. Only one hiker seemed to be there on a whim, and he looked a little stunned or maybe just exhausted. 

The small talk was sparse and subdued as each person quietly reflected on their own collection of first experiences—hiking up 600 steps to Amicalola Falls, meeting the first of many fellow hikers, getting to Springer Mountain, and now eating and sleeping next to strangers who were all starting this once in a lifetime journey together. 

The campfire chatter nervously mentioned thunderstorm showers starting in just a couple of hours. Those who were brave enough to sleep shoulder-to-shoulder, spread their sleeping bags side-by-side inside the Stover Creek shelter. 

This was my first decision point. Do I get my gear wet in the rain by setting up my own tent or sleep next to strangers in the shelter? I wasn’t quite ready for the lack of privacy and opted for my own tent. Rain or not, I wanted to change into a clean set of pajamas, avoid snoring hikers, and be free to stretch in any direction I chose.

Hiking First Steps

Our first day hiking was sunny and pleasantly warm, temps stayed in the mid-60s, and within just the first 10 minutes of hiking, I changed into a T-shirt and packed my layers away. The bare trees of Georgia mountains offered little shade, but the cool breeze of the early Spring was just enough to make it one idyllic hiking day. 

Signing trail registry at Springer Mountain.

Getting to Springer Mountain from the Approach Trail only took three hours despite the signage that called for a six-hour excursion. We leisurely ate our first lunch at the iconic south terminus, and finally set foot on the Appalachian Trail. We officially hiked our first two of the 2193 miles that lie ahead. That was a mega moment, to finally have arrived.


It took a lot of faith to step out here and leave my life for this adventure. It’s never convenient to uproot for six months. The reasons not to go were stacked a mile high. At some point you just have to leap, believing that you will land in the right place. It’s scary…frightening actually. Anxiety, worry, doubt, and fear will try hard to stop you in your tracks. That first step is a pure leap of faith. I leaped. 

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Comments 4

  • Deadpool : Mar 27th

    And down the rabbit hole you go. Savor every moment.

  • Sarah F : Mar 27th

    You’re on your way! We are rooting for you!

  • Cristina : Mar 27th

    Get it girl!

  • Just Bob : Mar 29th

    That leap will carry you for the rest of your life.


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