First Trail Steps and Feeling Inspired
The day is here. We’re at Amicalola Falls State Park starting our adventure. We took our first steps on the Approach Trail and I saw the arch that I’ve seen in a million other hikers’ photos and it’s giving me all the feels.
We got here late and aren’t hiking all the way up to Springer tonight. We’re staying in the lodge and it’s nice to take our time instead of showing up and hitting the trail immediately. It’s taken some of the nervous energy off. We could go to the visitor center when there weren’t too many people, take our time, hike the beginning part of the trail (and get those stairs out of the way), and then, when we start tomorrow, be able to walk out of the lodge and just hit the trail.
I’m excited it’s finally here; I feel like I’ve been planning forever but it also feels like it came up so fast. It’s a little surreal to see all this stuff in person that I’ve seen so many times in hiking feeds that I follow. It’s crazy to think of all the people over the years that I’ve followed doing the trail. There’s a couple of people that I know: Sugar Ray, the friend who introduced me to the AT almost ten years ago, and Yogi, a past coworker who hiked it in 2017. And then strangers. Year after year I’ve followed thru-hikers through this site, or Instagram, and I don’t even know them yet I’d eagerly watch them progress and silently cheer them on. I would watch them complete it and think, “That could be me one day.”
And now it is. Now that I’m on the other side I hope I can inspire future hikers. I hope others will follow along and feel the same excitement I felt watching others (my Instagram handle is kris10fiedler; you can follow me there). I’ve already felt so welcome by the hiking community and I haven’t really even started. But Springer is tomorrow! Happy hiking.
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