First trail update: New adventure, New me

Hello party people!

Since leaving a normal working life to restart by living out of what I can carry on my shoulders,  please find my top 3 changes of note:

1) My showering frequency has plummeted, as has my own ability to smell myself. The latter was only noted on day 4 of trail existence. As momentum carried me down a hill (which felt like the 17th mountain of the day), a gaggle of children running up toward the Blood Mountain overlook quite suddenly leapt to the other side of trail passing – yours truly – going the other way. In mid-air, their tiny faces contorted and shriveled so surreally in ways I could only imagine depicted by Dalí. Please note, I am wearing all the ‘wicking’ and ‘quick-dry’ fabrics and making the effort to rinse my pits regularly, yet said stench has engulfed my existence… but I. Do. Not. Care.

2) I’ve accomplished a digestive ‘rite of passage’ having officially dug my first cat-hole! For the uninitiated, a cat-hole is a hole dug in the ground, about 4 inches wide and 6-8 inches deep, and 200ft away from water sources, trails, and campsites. A cat-hole is used for… human waste! We hikers are lucky that the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club volunteers both maintain these trails so meticulously and provide both shelters/privies in such a high traffic area for Appalachian Trail thru-hiking hopefuls. Moral of this story – if you can time it correctly, you could hike shelter to shelter and use only composting toilets and shelters in Georgia! (I did not… but I hit a milestone?!?!)

3) I’ve found a whole new family (sorry mom and dad) and identity. The AT is a very social trail. I’ve started in a very popular timing bubble of north-bound hikers (NOBOs), and have seen so many people on the trail in these first 4 days. Granted, outside of day 2 (cold and rainy – pictured here).

The weather has been magnificent for hiking, 60s and sunny – pictured here!

Flashback to day 1, I randomly met two new friends in the morning who were following a similar pace, so we decided to join forces, creating the core of our trail-family, aka ‘tramily.’ We’re all here to hike our own hike, but it sure is nice having such an immediate support system to connect with each evening. We’ve since added on to the group, and it has been so fun getting to know everyone’s story, especially what brings them each to the trail.

As for the new identity… ‘Where you’re from’ is naturally a popular icebreaking conversation. Quite early on, I thought it might be nice to throw in little fun facts to spice it up and mentioned being from the NJ/NYC area automatically makes me a bagel snob ONCE (which I promptly forgot). Three days later, at our first resupply, I purchased a SLEEVE of bagels (unheard of back home) then proceeded to be endlessly ridiculed for having ‘expensive taste in bagels’ yet buying the fridge-bagels, officially earning myself the trail-name ‘bagel.’ My only word of advice: don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!







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Comments 6

  • Pete "Smokestack" Buak : Mar 26th

    Glad to see you’re having a good time and good luck on your hike.

    Minor correction: The GA State Park system has nothing to do with the trail, shelters and privies. These are all built and maintained by the volunteers of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

    • Eileen : Mar 29th

      Hey Smokestack – thanks so much for the fact checking, will update accordingly!! Appreciate you.

  • thetentman : Mar 26th

    Nice start. At least you are getting closer to NJ.

    • Eileen McHugh : Mar 29th

      One step at a time, woohoo!

  • Sparks : Mar 26th

    Great start in letting others know your hike and issues, great! Keep it up and I am looking forward to your updates!

  • Eileen McHugh : Mar 29th

    Awesome, Sparks! Thanks for following along!


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