Learning to Embrace the Rain

Hawk Mountain Shelter to Gooch Mountain Shelter: We woke up packed in the shelter like sardines. Some heavy rainstorms rolled in overnight, surrounding the area with sloppy mud and washouts.

I quickly understood why shelters were so greatly appreciated on trail. I felt as though I would be taking advantage of them as much as possible. They had full coverage AND picnic tables which felt like a luxury.

I watched as a hiker packed his gear early in the morning and walked straight into the cold rain. I couldn’t fathom it, yet felt really inspired by his confidence. I wondered if soon I would have the the same confidence because it seemed as if the rain turned me into a little bitch.

By the time I started walking it was foggy and cool. A misty day sprinkled with rain every so often, but wasn’t as bad as I expected. I enjoyed that there weren’t any leaves on the trees so I could get views of the rolling hills in the distance.

I heard from previous AT thru-hikers that the trail would have steep ascents and descents and that there wouldn’t be many gentle graded switchbacks. It was true. I would see a hill and go straight up. I would see the bottom of that hill and go straight down. It took the absolute wind out of me.

A few miles into my morning hike, Pink caught up to me so we cruised the rest of the way together. We only walked about 8 miles from Hawk Mountain to Gooch Mountain Shelter. I felt I could’ve kept going but didn’t want to push myself too hard in the beginning.

The shelter was fully packed by noon. We filled out the hiker log and ate lunch/dinner. Pink asked if he could have one of my macramé rings so I let him pick his favorite. He put it on his ring finger and I quickly noticed mine was on my ring finger, too. I joked, “Guess we’re trail husband and wife!”

We watched as the rest of the hikers rolled in. It was a cold, rainy rest of the afternoon. Day two and I felt as though I got the notorious experience of the AT.

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