Happenings of Week One

Let me start this post by saying one thing: trail life is amazing. 

Although we’ve only been on the trail for about a week, we feel as though we’ve been changed by what we’ve experienced.  The people, the grueling climbs, the trail magic, the campfires and conversation have all been overwhelmingly different from what we were used to in pre-trail life.

Speaking personally, and for myself only, this journey has really forced me to deal with fear. I would like to say I’m a social person, and enjoy two things: comfort and social interaction. This journey has made me physically uncomfortable (sweating in a sleeping bag, trying to sleep in 50mph winds at 30 degrees, feeling my chubby thighs rub together on steep and sustained climbs, sore feet, etc) and pushed me out of my social circle in which I am comfortable. Yet while the trail forces us to isolate from what we know, it brings us together in a community where we are all one. We all have one main goal, to walk north. There are no cliques or social structures to abide by. We spent the first few days hiking with a couple of high-dollar lawyers from Washington D.C. What the trail takes from you, it gives back in plenty. Only when we are made vulnerable can we change. 

Over the past four days, Maranda and I have pushed ourselves. We’ve physically pushed our bodies to points we’ve thought impossible before. We did two consecutive big days totaling 27.5 miles. What took us 4 days to do in miles before, we did in 2. We’re pretty proud of that. 

On top of that, Maranda (my beast of a wife!!) has done big miles while suffering from IT-band issues. While this injury has added to the struggles that new thru-hikers must push through, we’ve found comfort in familiar faces and couples that have been dealing with similar issues. Again, in this forced isolation, we’ve found a vibrant community.

So here we sit (or lay- as we’ve done most of today) in Holiday Inn in Hiawasee, GA. We had an amazing day yesterday after pushing 6.5 miles in the morning into town to be greeted by family. It was truly refreshing. 

We are surrounded by hikers. We’ve determined that if you want to spot a hiker in town, look for the person wearing a down jacket heading to/from a restaurant. Conversation typically turns back to the hike, all aspects of it- including gear. 

A lot us changed since we left a little over a week ago- but one of the most noticeable is what we are carrying in our packs.


  • Bear Spray: Honestly, by the end of the day if a bear were to approach us- we’d be too tired to care. And our heads are constantly at our feet the whole day, so it’s not like we’d see the bear before we are eaten anyways- it would be a surprise death. (Which honestly, I think the terror would be in watching the bear come towards me to eat me.)
  • Camp Pillow: Just use your jacket or clothes bag, it takes some getting used to- but it’s worth it weight wise.
  • Chacos: They’re heavy. Only reason I got rid of them. I’ve replaced them with $1 flip flops (thanks Walmart!!) Maranda has chosen to keep hers, it’s all preference!
  • Nalgene Water Bottle: An empty Nalgene weighs more than an empty Smart Water bottle. Easy enough.
  • Cook Pot: We started with 2. Why?? Not entirely sure. We now have one and we still eat at night.
  • Food: This was a big learning curve. We initially carried 5 days worth of food that could feed Moses and the Israelites twice over. Our hunger didn’t kick in until about 5 days into the hike, so we didn’t need as much in the beginning.


  • Icy Hot: Some people may claim this to be a waste of weight, that you’ll be sore anyways. Putting this on your knees before going to bed is worth the extra 3 ounces. Seriously- get some.
  • Neosporin: Blisters kill. If it helps the blisters heal quicker, we are all for it!!
  • KT Tape: I would recommend this for anyone dealing with any kind of joint pain. Thanks Brother Blood for the recommendation.
  • Sock Liners: We now both rock a pair of men’s nylon dress socks underneath our hiking socks. Prevents friction and hot spots.

We’ve learned that there’s not one way to hike the AT, so take the above lists as you will and Hike Your Own Hike.

Below are some pictures of the past fiew days for your viewing pleasure.




Tomorrow we leave Georgia behind and push on into North Carolina! Happy Trails!

Much Love,

The Stones

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 3

  • Laura Pattison : Apr 6th

    Love reading your posts. I start my section hiking next week!
    Love the drop/add list. Tiger Balm is great VS icy hot but stinky. I too suffer IT band problems. Are you stretching? I have decided to add a small roller to roll the knots out of my legs. Well worth it the next am.
    Can’t wait to read more

  • TBR : Apr 7th

    Nice pix!

    Always interesting to see what people shed after a few days on the trail.

    It takes everyone a good while to figure out the food — how much to take, what works, what you can’t live without, what you get tired of fast.

    Enjoy your hike!

  • Irvin Valle (COACH) : Apr 7th

    My wife and I are following several hikers including 2 couples to learn as much as we can before we attempt our thru hike. We are hoping to sneak away a couple of times this summer and do some section hking to get our feet wet as it has been several years since we have done any REAL hiking, car camping doesnt really count if you can walk to your car when things get tough. Good luck on the trail.


What Do You Think?