Georgia On My Mind
Shamelessly modeling my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket, Osprey Exos 58 Pack and making sure my Frogg Toggs (and GoPro) are as water resistant as they claim.
*This post is significantly better while listening to Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles in the background.
Okay folks, we’re bloggin’. I’ve been scared to write this post because it’s likely my last post before I hit the trail. That reality is somewhat terrifying…but here we are. While avoiding blogging, I’ve kind of gone in A.T. overdrive mode. Plane tickets were purchased, gear was finalized, food was bagged and my excitement level has gone off the charts. I walk around my house wearing my backpack, I’ve set up and taken down my tent approximately 23402829348 times and may or may not be sleeping in my sleeping bag instead of using my glorious down comforter. I have been talking to other people (Ellie, Emily, and Bennett) about their start dates, their goals, and have encouraged the non-Appalachian Trials followers of the world to sit down and make their lists. I don’t know what else I can do to prepare… so now we play the waiting game.
A lot has changed since my last post. My hike has gone from being a partner journey to a solo one, although I will be walking the first month with my friend Meghan, who is the second biggest baller I know (first is Beyonce, duh). I was chosen to be an Appalachian Trail Ambassador through Vasque Footwear’s Thru Hike Syndicate program and have lined up a couple other sponsorships that I am so excited about. I will be working with Fitbit, KIND Snacks and Harmony House Foods during my hike, as well as the brands represented through the Thru Hike Syndicate (Vasque Footwear, Darn Tough Socks, Nemo Equipment, Leki USA and Osprey Packs). I feel SO fortunate to be a part of this group and am extremely appreciative of the generosity of these companies. The support I’ve received before stepping foot on trail is amazing. I can’t say thank you enough. Make sure to stay up to date on my blog posts for some surprise giveaways from my sponsors!!
I fly to Atlanta on March 12 and will start the trail on March 13. In the upcoming weeks I will download podcasts and audiobooks, transfer my best Spotify playlists into iTunes and load up my MP3 player, and continue looking up delicious trail recipes. I will walk. I will ask questions and offer support. I will cross off each day on my Beyonce calendar (like you’re surprised…) and (im)patiently wait until the 13th is within sight. The OMG I can’t actually walk from Georgia to Maine phase has come and gone and I am feeling more confident than ever. The Hike Your Own Hike mantra is repeatedly used in the AT community and I feel like I have finally adopted that way of thinking and am doing this MY WAY. I will not compromise my wellbeing, both mental and physical, on the trail and simply do not have the time or energy to waste on those who do not support this. I’m lucky to have a great support group here at home and they are feeding off of my excitement. I never thought my grandparents would be interested in how I shaved ounces off of my base weight (I still don’t think they even know what that means), but they are! Or, at least they have me believing they are…
I have set up a Trail Notes email account that my mom is managing. She will print off these notes (warm wishes, funny jokes, trail advice, news updates) that friends send, shrink them down, and glue them into a tiny Moleskin notebook that I will carry with me. The email address is: [email protected] Send me a note if you’d like! The account closes on March 5th and I’d love to hear from you before then! Another great way to stay up to date on my trail progress is my Instagram account (all of the photos from this post are featured on my Instagram profile), and my username for that is @allisonkieley. Find me, follow me, stalk me (okay please don’t stalk me, but you get the idea). I’m also on Twitter (#duh) with the same username.
THE COUNTDOWN IS REAL, PEOPLE: 18 DAYS.
PS: Need some reading material? Want to judge me based off of what I have/haven’t read? GREAT. Here is a photo of the books I’ve read in preparation for my thru hike. SUPER IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE – I have obviously read Appalachian Trials by our very own Zach Davis, but lent it to a friend to read… so it is not featured. Just tryna spread the AT love.
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