Getting to Know the AT: Trail Angels, Friendly Hikers, All Sorts of Weather, and Rugged Terrain

There’s something so special about moving through the mountains with everything on your back, setting up camp, and doing it all again. Our first few days on trail were exciting, daunting, and a good challenge. Aches in our feet and knees signal that our bodies are adjusting to walking through the rugged peaks of northern Georgia. They’re beautiful and provide nice wide views in some places. In others, you follow the trail along the edge of the mountain slope and feel enclosed in the richness of a forest teeming with flowing steams and deep green foliage. The soil is dark and fertile. We get our (filtered) water straight from the rocks it dribbles down. You have to be aware of the way your pack straps are pulled, to distribute the weight appropriately. You also have to be in tune with the signals of your body asking for fuel and water as you task it with weight on your back and elevation. It feels nurturing to tend to these signals and give your body what it’s asking for. All of this feels conscious and empowering. Noticing these details connects me to the experience instead of walking through without smelling the roses.

Water source.

Lovely People and Trail Angels

Hikers are friendly and others are supportive.  Our first experience with a “trail angel” was a nice guy waiting to pick up his girlfriend, a thru-hiker, who was passing through our campsite. He gave us some beers and we talked and pet their dog. Every day we encounter many other people. There are a handful that we’ve been running into a lot over the first few days. When we got to our first stop 31.3 miles in, it was a really cool experience to see the familiar faces pour in to the first resupply area on the AT. I felt proud likely gI was on a team and everybody pulled through. There was a group of people there handed out free pizza. There is a sense of comfortability when you’re surrounded by people who love, respect, and crave the outdoors like you do. It creates the potential for a unique bond because of each of our paths which have led us to pursue the thru-hiking.

View from Mountain Crossings, Neels Gap

Rest and Recovery

I’m excited for my body to adapt itself to thru-hiking (aka “getting my trail legs”). Recovery feels essential in these early days and feeling my body rebuild and restore is everything right now. Definitely looking forward to getting some real, warm food at our stops for resupply or zeros. Eating foods that are tasty (as tasty as they can be for trail food) and staying positive are going to be big for keeping morale high when the weather sucks or I feel exhausted. Since only ~78 miles of the AT are in Georgia, I feel like it gets brushed over. The terrain is no joke, and the weather in those mountains fluctuates like crazy. In just a few days, there’s been 60° and sun, 5° low, a night and morning of down pouring, and thick fog. A warm and dry tent and sleeping bag are huge. 

Looking forward to getting back out there, but in the meantime, we rest. Until next time… trail name TBA… Olivia. 

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