Lessons Learned from Georgia and Looking Ahead to the Next 13
With one state done, it’s time to look at what has worked, what hasn’t, and what this journey has meant so far.
Gear list 2.0
In our earlier gear posts, OneFoot talked about how gear choices are personal. What works for some isn’t quite right for others. He is 109 miles into the AT and it’s time to switch it up. The hammock he started with, while super comfy for sleeping, doesn’t offer the room and shelter that a tent does. He found that he missed the privacy and versatility of a tent. So, a quick call home and I’m on it! I packed up the Hubba Hubba tent (let’s face it, I just like to say Hubba Hubba) and got it ready to ship. He is switching out the North Face Superlight 0-degree bag for his EMS Velocity 30-degree bag but he’s keeping the Warbonnet Yeti down underquilt from the hammock sleep system with him. Of course, he’ll need his Big Agnes air mattress now that he’ll be sleeping on the ground. By his request, I added a few other items to the box. A second long-sleeve shirt is on the way as well as his state-of-the-art cooking pot that he tried to go without but dearly missed (pictured below).
How much to ship? Did I hear that right?
So off to the UPS store I went where I discovered the difference in mailing costs for this one box:
Overnight = $236
Two day = $105
Ground (three day) = $36
Bingo! Ground it is. Usually I have more time to mail his resupply boxes but he’s going to need this gear before he heads back out after his zero days. He’s staying with friends so we aren’t incurring additional lodging charges while he waits. And I tracked the package and it is scheduled for early delivery! Glad I didn’t pay the extra.
Hike and learn.
There are some things you just learn as you go. OneFoot opted to take a well-earned zero or two when he reached Franklin, N.C. After hiking to Winding Stair Gap and getting a ride into town, there were a few things he wanted to get done. Problem was, it was Monday. Several places are closed all day Monday or, at least, after 12 p.m. Not sure if he was more surprised that places were closed because it was Monday or simply that it was Monday. He’s definitely adapting to retirement and trail life, and never seems to quite know what day it is.
To all hikers, he confirmed the rumor that the all-you-can-eat pancake and bacon breakfast offered by the local First Baptist Church is deeeee-licious! It is offered daily from March 14 to April 14. They even offer a free shuttle from local lodging to the church for breakfast. Food, friendship, and fellowship. Truly southern hospitality at its finest.
Lessons from Georgia.
As we’ve mentioned, OneFoot was advised by many to start slow. Good call. Keeping those early days to under ten miles has allowed his body to adapt to this way of life. As for other lessons learned in Georgia, OneFoot wrote in his trail journal that he wasn’t prepared for having to say goodbye to so many good people in such a short time. “You meet these people, people just like me trying to live out a dream, and in an instant they’re gone from the trail. Like the young man coming down the backside of Springer Mountain who slipped and broke his ankle. Or the young man sitting in a shelter just before the N.C. line waiting for the emergency response team to come get him because his knee was so bad, he couldn’t walk. He explained to me that this was his second thru-hike attempt and he was incredibly embarrassed about his situation. These people, like me, had put an incredible amount of time, money, and energy into walking this trail only to have it end so quickly. The day will come when I will stop walking. No one, not even me, knows when that will be. I will say this, if I don’t make it all the way to Katahdin, embarrassment will not be the word I use to describe the end of this journey. Heartbroken, yes, but absolutely not embarrassed. No one has ever accomplished anything by not trying in the first place. Maine or bust, baby!”
Unbelievable and overwhelming. Our family and close friends have known about this dream for many years and we can always count on them for continued inspiration. It’s this new wave of support and encouragement that is just so amazing. From our extended family and widening circle of friends at home to folks on social media whom we’ve never met, this journey is making our world smaller. For Ray on the trail, he feels the collective push of encouragement. There will be days ahead when he’s going to question himself, or even contemplate if he’s walked far enough. On those days he’ll have a whole army pushing him to dig deeper and reminding him to put one foot in front of the other. For me at home, it’s awesome to know we’re bringing so many along on this adventure. It makes me feel even more connected to this journey, the trail and, yes, to my husband.
Detaching from the Old Ray.
Letting go of habits learned through 20 years of working in corrections is going to take some time. There’s still a lingering paranoia centered on personal space and stuff (belongings). Walking off the walls won’t happen overnight but, hopefully, some of that negativity will be shed over the course of 2,200 miles.
In our November 14, 2017, post, Ray listed the reasons why he is taking on the trail.
Reason two: “I want to work on becoming a more patient, more accepting, and more spiritual person.”
You’re on your way, my love, you are on your way!
Until the Next White Blaze,
OneFoot and Should be Good
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.