7 Lessons Learned in 7 Days on the Appalachian Trail

1. Hiking is hard

Unless you are training for the AT by hiking the AT with a full pack, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
allison kieley

2. Your feet will hurt

It’s pretty unavoidable. Whenever my feet are hurting, I just think of the thousands of hikers who have come before me and have also endured the pain. Life isn’t so bad, you’re hiking the AT. Take a break when you need one, check for hot spots, and take care of your blisters.

blistery feet

3. Trail Magic is literally the best thing in the world

Imagine spending 4 days in the woods and then popping out at a road crossing only to be greeted by friendly folks offering hot food, cold drinks and blister care. What could be better!? Nothing. Be grateful for their kindness and generousity and always say please and thank you.
trail magic

4. When the going gets tough, the tough get their ass to town.

Some weirdo gave me this advice and after four days in the cold rain, I felt my spirits dropping so I got my ass to town. After spending 18 hours inside, taking a hot shower, doing some laundry, and drinking a beer, I was a new person who was SO excited to get back on trail. I felt like a million bucks.

top of gerogia hostel

5. People will surprise you

I was passed by a 60 year old German man carrying a 70 pound pack. We started on the same day and I scoffed at the idea of him making it to Katahdin. I felt like a huge jackass for judging him and realized the trail is for everyone. He is hauling ass and slayin’ the AT. Never assume someone’s ability on successfully completing their thru attempt, because you honestly have no idea. Plus, when you assume things you make an ass out of u and me.

6. Umbrellas are a life saver

I am carrying a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella and have jimmy rigged a hands free way of using it and am SO GLAD I have it. I look like a complete idiot when it’s raining, but ya know what? I’m dry!! Standing on the top of a windy mountain with an umbrella is a little terrifying, but definitely worth it.

7. Hike Your Own Hike

People say this a million times, hell you’ve probably heard me say it in previous posts. I’m still not sure I’m fully hiking my own hike but I sure am trying. People hike at different speeds, want to stop at different shelters, go into town on different days, etc. and sometimes it’s really hard to remember that you are hiking for YOU and no one else. If you don’t need to stop for a water break, don’t! If people judge you and call you lame for hiking with an umbrella, screw ’em! Remember why you’re hiking, and stay true to yourself. Anything else will just add drama to your hike.

Blood Mountain

8.  Carry Your Lists (bonus)

I know I said 7 Lessons but this one is just a reminder. Write your 3 Lists and CARRY THEM. I read my lists every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and they serve as a constant reminder of why I am hiking, what will happen if I quit, and what I will do when I am done hiking.

I’ve been on trail for ten days and am constantly learning. I’m having more fun than I ever thought I would and am meeting people that challenge, accept, and love me. Taking my first 0 day in Franklin, NC and am already eager to get back on trail. I sincerely look forward to meeting more of you out here.

georgia north carolina border

Happy Trails,

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