Let there be Blood (Mountain): My First Week on the Trail
What an adventure this trip has been so far! I feel like a day on the trail has been the equivalent of a week in the office. Since this is my first update, bear with me, I promise I’ll get better at blogging and storytelling!
I started March 14 at Amicalola Falls at 9:30 AM shivering with cold and anticipation. My buddy Brian had picked me up from the airport and planned to hike with me for a time. I decided to do the approach trail (8.8 mile trail that leads to the start of the AT) since I’m a sucker for pain. The falls were beautiful, but the stairs (all 650 of them) to the top were a rude awakening. When it started to snow on the way up the stairs, I should’ve known what kind of night I was in for.
After the stairs, the approach trail turned out to be a pretty steady climb to Springer Mountain. I met a guy named Ed along the way, who at 7 miles in decided to announce he had to stop straightaway since he hadn’t eaten anything that morning or the night before. After unpacking his pack and finding some peanut butter, he proceeded to break his spork in half on his very first scoop. Moral of the story: don’t be like Ed: fuel your body! I haven’t seen him since (sad face).
After making it to Springer and snapping a picture, Brian and I made it to our first campsite at Stover Creek. The night was miserable. 17 degrees with a 9 degree wind chill. For those of you at home in your comfortable beds, just imagine dunking your feet in ice water and trying to fall asleep.
In the morning after not sleeping, everything was frozen! I attempted to make coffee which got cold before I could even drink it. Have you ever heard the phrase “stupid cold?” Well, when it gets that cold you do stupid things like grabbing your hot stove and burning a small hole in your glove on morning one #guilty! Brian decided not to attempt another cold night like that so he headed back to his truck. I really don’t blame him. For me, I definitely set a new threshold of pain.
Luckily, I have the world’s best heater. All you have do to warm up is walk. I met and hiked with Dave, aka D.C. Dave, and Chelsea and her dog Jesko throughout the day and made it to Justus creek Campiste where my first bear bag attempt (hanging your food so bears don’t get it) only took ten tries! No doubt I’ll get better at that.
Day three was the first above freezing day. THANK GOD. My knees and Achilles started hurting a bit so I took it slow. I met Pat and Mr. Deeds, two retired gentlemen who were a pleasure to hike with. I also discovered how necessary it is to scout out good cathole (pooping) spots as you walk. You can’t understand the pain of deciding to wait till you get to an outhouse or jumping off the trail to dig a hole until you’ve been backpacking. I sure do miss a porcelain throne.
Next up was Blood Mountain, the highest point on the AT in Georgia. The top was icy! It was all socked in (overcast) when I got up there so no view at first. Can’t win them all. Just as I gave in to a climb without a view the clouds opened up and I was treated to an outstanding view of Northern Georgia. Perfect lunch spot.
I made it into Neels Gap, the first outfitter on the trail, where a lot of people drop off the trail. Not me!
The next day was my first day of rain on the trail. Packing up a wet tent in the rain sucks! Luckily the sky cleared and I got experience my first trail magic from bobby who made some bomb chicken soup!
I made it to the top of Rocky Mountain which has been my favorite campsite of the trip so far! I camped with the group I’ve been staying with, had a great fire, and a beautiful sunset!
The next day consisted of two steep climbs up Tray mountain and Kelly Knob. It was the first day my body felt relatively pain free so I powered through the day on Cliff bars and trail mix. I decided to push an extra mile to the Powell Mountain vista campsite which proved to be a great decision. Only two other people were there (most of the campsites have been packed since most thru hikers start in March) and the view of sunset and sunrise rocked! What can I say, I’m a glutton for views.
I made it to the Top of Georgia Hostel where I finally got to shower and resupply. I’ll be taking my first zero day (a day off) to recover Wednesday, but NC is only 9 miles away! Stay tuned!
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