My First Month on the Appalachian Trail

I can’t believe the first month on trail has come and gone. It has felt like one really long week; time has blended the days together. Although every day has exciting moments, these have been the highlights: 


1. I got to spend the first three days on trail with my dad!

My dad was there for the most exciting moments: climbing the stairs on the approach trail, watching the sunset on Springer Mountain, and officially starting the trail from that peak the next morning. My mom supported us from every road crossing, and provided some trail magic for the other hikers. Our family dog, Patchy, also hiked the first three days with us! 


2. I made my first trail friends! 

I’ve woken up every day with Deets, Slinky Dawg, and DJ Scrathuns as we make our way north. We don’t always hike together, but our little breaks and time camping are spent giggling and teasing each other. Someone recently asked if we were a tramily (trail family) and we all sneered and said, “actually we just met” so, jury is still out on that one.

3. We crossed our first state line (and a couple more since)!

When we crossed the border into our second state, North Carolina, we sat by the GA-NC sign to cheer on the next few hikers. We enjoyed an hour of hyping up our fellow hikers by singing and shouting as they finished their first state of the AT. We even got our picture with our trail dads, BFG and Uncle Timmie.

4. My parents visited! 

 I know my parents and I had planned the date and place for their visit, but it still felt shocking to see them. My friends and I walked about 8 miles in the morning, and met my parents in a parking lot for lunch. I hiked down a steep set of stairs, and my dad ran up the trail to hug me.

My parents had already set up a full snack and water station in the trunk (see photograph below). My mom slackpacked us for the rest of the day so my dad could hike with me and my triends/tramily. They even got us a hotel room in  Fontana Dam and took us out to dinner. Seeing my parents reminded me that there are a lot of people out there rooting for my success on this trip; they drove SO far to come see me and were so happy to take care of me and my friends for a night. 

5. Sunning in the Smokies

The best moment of the Smokies was sitting on the helicopter pad and soaking up the sun for the first time in a week. Our time in the Smokies was mostly spent trying to avoid hypothermia, so lunch on the sunny helicopter pad was the first time we fully relaxed. 

6. Liza joined us! 

My bestie from summer camp, Liza, flew from Oregon to Asheville to join us on the trail. It feels so surreal to have an old friend on such a new adventure.

7. Deets and I crushed our first 20+ mile day!

We hiked 21 miles together while Liza was off trail for an injury, and Slinky and Scrathuns were away at a wedding. Both of us had hiked 20+ mile days before, but everything feels different on the AT. On a short hiking trip, you can beat your body up every day and still count on not being far from a real bed. On the AT, you have to be more mindful of the way you treat yourself. We eased into the long miles, and picked a day with only one big mountain for our first 21 mile stretch. Our friend Sandman joined us on the journey, and we were all rewarded at the shelter when weekend hikers shared their marshmallows with us. 


Overall, the first month came with more highlights than I could have imagined. I’m so grateful to be on this adventure and have not taken a single moment for granted!


First Month Stats:

Miles Hiked: 335 (at mile marker 395 though)

Money Spent: $794

States Hiked: GA, NC, TN


Erin Eberhardt is a NOBO hiker in the AT class of 2023. Read her first post, an introduction of herself, here.

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Comments 5

  • Jhony : Apr 3rd

    Well ! You are certainly doing great! And I certainly glad I subscribed.
    Happy travels on your quest of discovery

  • Jon Holmes : Apr 3rd

    I sure hope you all can make it to Maine, where at the Bemis Railroad crossing we provde THE BEST trail magic on the entire trail!! We set up just a little North of Andover and South of Rangeley. Not sure which day each week it will be just yet as there are 6 of us and we pick a day during the week , starting in mid June. Once we choose a date, I will post on here. Guarantee you wont be dissappointed!!! We provide fresh water, take your garbage, pleanty of fruits and veggies, Bacon cheeseburgers are our specialty!! Maine red hot dogs and Moxie to drink is a must. Once we start, we are there every week, weather depending, but and best of all, feed you like a king!!! Sure hope to see you all!!!! The Meatman

  • Debbie Eberhardt : Apr 4th

    Hello from your cousin Debbie!
    Love getting to read about your experience.
    Looks amazing. Have a blast and stay safe. ❤️

  • Tamara D Avanzini : Apr 29th

    so proud of you! Sounds like a trip of a life time! You give me inspiration for next year. Hope the good times keep coming! ??


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