Five things that I’ve learned

It’s been great so far. I’m at Top of Georgia right now. I’ve done the Approach Trail plus 69 miles from the AT in five days. Yeap. 15 miles a day. How am I felling? Pretty good, actually. Knees are my main concern and both are fine. I have a short nerve on my left big toe that’s hurting, but it’s normal. It’s always like that when I hike. Mind? Good. Legs? Fine!

I’ve learned a lot these days. First: The AT is harder than I’d thought. My home state, Minas Gerais, is well known in Brazil for its mountains. That’s what we have to offer. Beaches? Go to Rio or the Northeast. But mine is an inland state. So I’m used to mountains. I really am. That’s why I’m doing well, I think. But the AT’s challenges are non-stop. When you think you’ll have a rest, guess what? Another mountain! Georgia, you will always be on my mind. You remind me of home.

Second, I’m carrying too much food. You know those Cliff bars that I got from the Badger Sponsorship? I put like a whole box in my food bag. The problem is that the thing is a bomb, in a good way. I have one and that’s it. I can’t eat anything else until dinner. One per day. That’s it. On top of that I got a package of tortillas from the Hiker box at Neel Gap. A 2.5 pounds package of tortillas. That’s the only think that I’ll regret in my whole life…

Third, I’m more introvert than I’d thought. Correction: I’m more introvert in English than in Portuguese, my mother tongue. When I go past other hikers I usually say “good morning” and “have a good one” and that’s it. In the camping areas I usually look for a place far from others. I’m not arrogant, I just don’t know what to say. I’m sorry.

Fourth, I’m still in shock with this Trail Angel culture. You are amazing people. The other day I was doing a live on my Facebook page from Neel Gap (just before that bloody tortilla pack) and a guy called the gear shop. He wanted to talk to me. He heard that I’d lost my ATGuide and was offering me a new one. Actions like that really make my day.

Finally, I’ve found out that I know nothing about America’s flora. I’ve seen so many flowers and plants that I have no idea what they are. Because of that I’d suggest a new game. It’s called “Name the AT plant”. It works like this: I’ll post pictures of plants that I’ve seen during my hike and you guys help me by naming them. Then I can Google them and get more info. Are you ready? Go!

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Comments 9

  • Dan Johnson : Apr 20th

    Re April 19 post on flower names–
    1. Bluet
    2. Bloodroot
    3. Trillium
    4. Mayapple
    5. Bloodroot
    6. Squawroot

    • Alicia : Apr 20th

      I was about to list them just this way. The only one I didn’t know was number 6.

  • Christine (Nemophilist) : Apr 20th

    Beautiful! Not sure on #1, #2 Bloodroot, #3 Trillium, #4 Mayapple, #5 same as #2, #6 Squaw-root/cancer-root. Enjoy your hike! I’m starting my flip-flop next week and can’t wait!

    • Christine (Nemophilist) : Apr 20th

      Haha Dan beat me to it! I was thinking #1 was bluet but wasn’t sure!

      • Ruby Throat : Apr 20th

        Why do they call squawroot cancer root, Nemophilist? (Not a rhetorical question…I really don’t know!)

  • RubyThroat : Apr 20th

    Great post and I love how you’re interested in our flora & fauna. I’m an introvert, too, but one thing that I’ve discovered about trail culture is that it’s been okay for me to just hang around in the company of other thru-hikers without feeling like I have to say anything. No worries. No expectations. No chance of not being welcomed. I start next week in Grayson Highlands…I hope to see you out there and to sit in silence (or not) with you, Brazil. Hike happy! RubyThroat

  • Ruth morley : Apr 20th

    Jeff, you say you’re an introvert, but I think you’re amazing. You are tackling a long, tough trail in a land other than your own, and are so aware of the world of nature and man around you.

    During our 18 years of living overseas, I was very quiet too when I was in an environment that required I speak only that language. In English, i can go on nonstop. In Japanese, Spanish or French, I talked like a level 1 textbook.

    But people were always very appreciative and encouraging of my efforts. And the same is true for you, I’m sure. And your English on your blog is exceptional!

    Just remember that there is a huge range of personalities on the trail, and you are an important part of providing even yet more variety.

    Enjoy your adventure!

  • Heather : Apr 22nd

    Oi Jeff! Sou americana e estou aprendendo portugues. Meu esposo e um brasileiro. Ele e um Mineiro tambem. ? I understand what you mean about being an introvert in another language. In English, I can talk to anyone and for a long time. In Portuguese, I am very timid, almost like a different person. It’s hard to speak another language, but I know that there are hikers on the trail with you right now who would be curious about you and your home country. Maybe in time, you’ll be ready. Boa sorte! I love reading your posts! Tchau brazuca! ✌?

  • Julia Strong : Apr 22nd

    Jeff, you are seeing some of my favorite wildfowers. They will become your friends, as you keep meeting their relatives in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and beyond. And there will be other new plants ahead. Enjoy!


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