Imposter Syndrome, Begone! Days 1-5

Thoughts and ruminations from the ever so comfortable couch at Around the Bend Hostel:

Good Fences Make Good Tent Site Neighbors

I made it up to the Springer Mountain shelter on my first day in lovely sunny weather, and settled into camp around 3pm. Little did I know I’d chosen a tent site next to a real life lumberjack. The guy had a fire going, and spent the entire afternoon hunting down wood, hacking it to pieces, lugging it around, and tossing it into piles.

It makes it more difficult to enjoy the excellent novel Pachinko on a beautiful mountaintop evening when the chapter breaks are punctuated by WHACKWHACKWHACKgrunthuhhhhhSNAPcrusssshSNAP….WHACKWHACKWHACK and so on and so forth. For like, four hours. To you Mr. Hatchet-man, I say cool it!

Hey Wait a Minute, This is Just Hiking

Welcome to todays brag section! Starting out, I really only planned on doing around 8 mile days – I hadn’t been able to train or hike properly for over a month due to a small knee injury, and I had a nagging anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to hold any sort of pace.

After five days of hiking, putting down days of approximately 10 miles, 16 miles, 15 miles, 11 miles, and 9.5 miles, I think I’ll be fine! Turns out the trails down here aren’t anything like the straight up and down rock climbs up in New Hampshire I’m used to, and it’s way easier than I anticipated to cruise mileage.

I did definitely feel like I was red-lining it a little bit on day three, but to have covered 60+ miles (52 of actual trail plus the approach), but the only problem is a couple of blisters, which are recovering nicely. All this to say – it’s only hiking, and that I can do.

Timely Trail Magic

On the subject of those pesky blisters, big shout out to King Tut and his trail magic at Tesnatee Gap. I was coming down the hill into the gap and was feeling the pain on the blisters and had just run out of water, when lo and behold there’s a few tables set up with hot ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit, snacks, treats, sodas, water…and a giant box full of various blister remedies. Saved my soft tender feet a lot of annoying pain!

Spicy Hot Take of the Day

OK, the Amicalola Falls stairs are…not that bad. I feel like everybody gets freaked out at the number – “OMGTHERES600STAIRSNOOO” and you get the impression that you’ll be Frodo climbing the stairs towards Cirith Ungol, but it just doesn’t take that long. Yeah it’s a bit of a steep lung buster to kick off the hike, but it’s over quickly and the trail eases off significantly afterwards. Don’t Beware the Stairs.

Final Thought

I met a woman on day two who said she’s embraced van life and loves living nomadically. My thought is, if you have a van, does that make your license plate a van-ity plate?

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Comments 3

  • Lindsay : Apr 9th

    Way to go Mike! Love reading the trail stories! Proud of you! I bet that hot ham sandwich was deeeeeelicious

  • Dave H : Apr 9th

    Vanity plate hehehe ?

  • Tim Oaks : May 15th

    Grateful you made it out after the knee scare, Mike!! And props to your dad for giving me the heads on this blog. Here’s to more Trail Magic.


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