First 3 weeks on the AT
7.You quickly learn to walk wide legged…
So many things learned in the past 3 weeks. My journey started on a very rough note where I completely lost my appetite, pushed for too many miles trying to keep up, and basically made this trip feel like a job. So I decided to take 6 days off the trail to re-evaluate and make adjustments. Deciding to get back on the trail was the hardest decision I ever made, but a decision I am so happy I made because I am falling more and more in love with the trail every day. A big thank you to all the support from my mom, family and friends for helping me make that decision. Don’t get me wrong because each day is tough and sometimes endless, but the love is real and something unexplainable unless you have experienced it. I ended up changing my breakfast from granola and oatmeal to a weight gainer and a pop tart. An amazing change! I also met an awesome group of guys on my first day back, G-man from NY, Paul from CT, Brian from AZ, Andrew(Lightning), Mountain Man, who unfortunately had to get off the trail due to a meniscus tear, and Tarp man. After learning to take it one step at a time from Jono back at home, who is amazing and helped me get over a lot of the mental struggles and provided nutrition/eating advise, I was then able to start enjoying the trail and seeing what an amazing adventure I am going through. Things I have learned so far on my trip:
1. Pooping in the woods is not so bad. Actually it is kinda nice because you can really “get the best pinch” per Andrew “Lightning”.
2. A.T. thru hikers are the best people you will ever meet. Everyone is willing to help anyone and making friends is great. I’m going to miss my hiking partner Brian, whom I call Captain Positive, as I am taking 2 zeros for my b-day and he is continuing on. Trail friend are what get you through those rough days and feel connected with on those amazing days. Of course there will always be those jerks or sketch people, but you never worry about them stealing your stuff on the trail because who the hell wants to carry extra weight?
3. You gain a whole new understanding of silence. I don’t think that I have ever heard the world so silent. Going into town is very strange now with all the noise.
4. The looks you get when in town are awesome! People look at you like you are homeless or completely avoid eye contact and walk around you. Granted there are a lot of town people that will drop what they are doing and offer a ride. Floppy foot, thank you so much for that ride into Hiawassee!
5. TRAIL MAGIC IS AMAZE-BALLS!! Fruit, little Debbie’s, candy, beer, soda… ALL OF IT!!
6. You quickly accept the hairiness as a rite of passage. If guys can grow a trail beard then I am going to grow trail armpit and leg hair.
7. Dehydrated meals suck after taking a zero, but are what you look forward to on the third day…
8. Hiker hunger is REAL! I just started getting it 2 days ago and it is amazing! I have never ate so much junk food in my life, but it makes life soo much better right now.
9. Section hikers are the best because they bring things on the trail that you would never bring(aka beer and extra food)
Also, cold springs make an awesome natural cooler
10. Multiple rainy days can really bring your spirits down, but makes you appreciate the slightly rainy/overcast days. Then when the sun comes out you have a whole new appreciation.
11. Putting on wet/cold clothes the next day sucks… period. you have no choice because at the end of the day you want to save the clothes that are dry for the next night.
12. People seriously smoke cigarettes on the trail. How? I would die…
13. Seeing your family after a week is the best feeling in the world. My mom, sister, “aunt/sister-in-law”(too be decided) Mary, and my BFF Dee came to pick me up from NOC to bring me to Gatlinburg for my birthday. SO thankful and sooooo excited to see them. I wish my dad was able to come, but he was unable to get off work :/.
14. After one day off the trail I feel it pulling me back. It’s crazy how much you fall in love with the trail for all is quirks and beauty. Kinda like a relationship! It is truly a reward to climb an extreme incline to be rewarded with a view even if it is fogged over and you have to wait another day to climb another mountain to see it.
Well, here is a toast to my first blog on the trail and to many more! I hope all my fellow thru-hikers are doing well and hope to meet you all either on the trail or at Trail Days. I have already met Maija, Erin, and Drew! Who is next??
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