Finally here!! – Day 0

Start Date is imminent!

I’m days away from heading out on the trail.  It feels a bit surreal.  I’m excited but it’s a low-key excitement which is probably a good thing.  It’s hard to believe all those months of planning are finally over and the actual hike is here!  I’m going to attend the Kickoff weekend and then leave after that.

I have a decent amount of family joining me on or off the trail from time to time so I anticipate that I won’t stay with a trail family the whole hike and I’m okay with that.  I’m hoping the whole hiker community will be my trail family and expect that will happen.  Just from the preparation hikes I have done here in Atlanta and also on the Appalachian Trail, I have discovered the community of hikers is a really great group of people.  I anticipate hours of conversations around the fire and at hostels.  Those who know me know that I am a talker! Hopefully I can be a listener and learn from all these great people around me!

Official Thru Hiker Tag

Why am I leaving now?

I gave a lot of thought to when to leave.  I chose the beginning of March because although I am going on this hike alone, so many others are going early March, that I will not be alone.  The idea of camping alone in the woods is still not something I am comfortable with.

 Official Thru Hiker Number 756

Amicalola Lodge, location of Appalachian Trails Kick Off

These past few months have been full of preparation.  I hiked fairly regularly, but I also was going to physical therapy. My left upper arm got really screwed up when I hiked on Halloween because I didn’t loosen my pack whenever I took it off or put it on.  I ended up going to a Sports Doctor who sent me to physical therapy to try to increase my range of motion.  Benchmark Therapy in Midtown Atlanta and Mary Parker specifically really helped with this and although my full range of motion is not back, I am cleared to hike and do not anticipate any issues from my left arm.  In fact, I’ll be walking the trees with my left arm to continue to work on increasing my range of motion.


The Appalachian Trail Kickoff at Amicalola Falls was a really great weekend.  There were so many other hikers, some who are doing the thru hike this year, some who have done it before, vendors, various speakers. I learned a lot, but the best part was meeting people. The hiker community is so friendly.

In fact, I met someone to start my hike with; he goes by VegasJayden and has a Youtube channel.  I should appear in some of his videos, so since I am not going to “vlog” that will be a good way to see me in action doing my super slow one mile per hour hiking (this speed will likely increase, but I’m okay with going slow and really enjoying the hike).

We are going to do the first few days together which is really nice for me as a newbie.  Harold is going to drive us up to the start at Springer Mountain and then off we go!  I’ll see Harold again at Neel Gap which is only 4 or 5 days into the trail.  Then after that we’ll see what happens next!

Really this is just a series of 4 to 6 day hikes all strung together separated by stops in town for resupply, showers, laundry and preferably a nice soft bed and town food!!

I’ll do another blog entry after starting the trail.  In the meantime, very excited, like Christmas morning!!

Suzi and VegasJayden, first hiking partner


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Comments 4

  • Katie Houston : Mar 7th

    Hi Suzi, I met you and Vegas Jayden at the ATKO. Wishing you both the best, happy trails!

    • Suzi : Mar 12th

      thanks, figure can blog about once a week, great ATKO

  • Dana Ford : Mar 10th

    Hello! I’ve had the opportunity to work with Gina Foil. She told me about your journey. I’m envious! W look forward to seeing your post! Safe journey. Cheers!

    • Suzi : Mar 12th

      thanks Dana, doing another blog now, hard to get signal on the trail plus hard to type blog on a cell phone…


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