Jitter Bug

46 days.

46 days before I set foot on that approach trail leading to Springer Mountain.

Is this what it feels like before you get married?

Or when you drop a nice big wad of money on a house?

Is this how a guy (or lady) feels right before he (or she) proposes? (yanno, gender equality!)

That excited, fluttery feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know exactly the one I’m talking about. The one that makes you pause and say:

“Am I doing the right thing? OH GOD WHAT AM I THINKING?”

The two extremes.

The two extremes.

If I leave on my original date of March 12, I would be under two months away today. However, I’m probably leaving a bit earlier – say, two weeks earlier. Like, say, March 1.

I have my list, and I’m checking it two, three, four times a day. But a part of me has this wavering little voice that says:

“Gina, do you know what you’re doing?”

I’ll be honest. I have read more AT accounts than I can remember. I tore through David Miller’s “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” in less than two days. I came across a blog done by two guys who graduated from my university and immediately tackled the AT NOBO in late May, and still managed to finish in 112 days. I have read Dirt Stew and Dormouse’s blog. Blazer’s. Appalachian Trials. Even A Walk in the Woods (don’t get me started on that one).

I can rattle off trail towns, what to find in each. With the help of both Guthook’s app and AWOL’s AT Guide, I know that finding water won’t be a problem.

I even started writing out an itinerary for the number of miles I would do per day, and where I would stop for the night but then I realized it would be a little excessive (and crazy?), and it would be better to listen to my body and legs instead of sticking to a schedule.

I even picked up a trail wife – fellow AT blogger Sheena! We’re currently long distance but will soon be together!

(Get ready for the platonic AT wedding – everyone’s invited!)

We will be each other’s support systems, at least in the beginning.

Is it possible to be too mentally overprepared?

Even so, I still have these silly pre-AT jitters. When I wonder, “What the hell am I doing?”

And then I remember the happiest times last summer – when I backpacked in Maine. When I hiked for my job. When I was out in nature.

And you know what? I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do right now. There are things and people I will miss, of course. My family and friends. My horse. My puppy. A comfortable bed. A hot shower. Nail polish.




Part of the #GirlSquad

But as John Muir once said:

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”


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Comments 1

  • Paul "Bronco" Fuzinski : Jan 17th

    I felt exactly the same way before I left last year, in May. Wait until you’re actually arriving at Springer! I was literally shaking from nerves and excitement. Trust me there is nothing to be afraid of, just go with the flow. After the first few days you will start to adjust and understand what your body is going to be dealing with for the next 5 or 6 months. Here’s a hint, it’s going to hurt, a lot, everyday, but you will adapt to it and it will become normal (it’s weird but it really does happen)! Most of all have a great time. It will get tough and you will get demotivated and feel beaten down after a while but just remeber why you went out in the first place and just keep waking up and walking and trying to find the beauty in the trail, even when it’s cold as hell and has been raining for a week straight.


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