On that Midnight Train to Georgia

He’s leaving (leaving)

On that midnight train to Georgia (leaving on a midnight train)

Hmm, yeah

Said he’s going back (going back to find)

To a simpler place and time

Anticipation

I am currently riding an overnight Amtrak to Georgia… Lots of pre-trail jitters. Imagine it’s pretty common stuff. The second guessing, the reassessments, the doubts, the revisiting of why, the guilt of leaving others behind, and wondering if the journey will meet expectations.

This morning’s final shakedown reduced some redundancy in my pack and lightened my load, but it made me overthink decisions like bear can or bear bag, which luxury items, if any, and what really are the number of pair of socks and undies I really need. I also stared a lot at my rain gear options – Is it me or does it seem like it’s been raining non-stop this week and the groundhog misread the tells of spring – I decided on my nice rain shell and a poncho.

I also have heartache, knowing I’m leaving family and loved ones behind. And, while this is a journey for my own betterment, it is also a selfish trek. However, I know in the end, my soul will be nourished in a way that will enrich me and make me a better person.  I’ve desperately missed deep communion with nature since leaving my home in the Rockies and relocating to the east coast. Forging a reconnection with the natural world will reinvigorate me.

I’ve already written about the “why” of doing this in a previous post, but in these final hours on an overnight train to Georgia I feel some nervousness – not only of excitement, but also of anxiety with minor dread – Fortunately, I know these emotions are transient and I will soon be enmeshed with the rhythm of the trail and the routine of a much simpler (or rustic) life.

I had my last civil shower this morning, used a full-sized toothbrush, am currently enjoying Amtrak’s finest fare, and will have one last sleep without being exposed to the elements.

Chillbilly, my shuttle driver, will meet me at the station in Gainesville, GA and deliver me and my pack to Amicalola Falls State Park. Then, I’ll check in at the welcome center, snap a picture at the arch, step onto the approach trail and begin my adventure.

See you on the AT. Happy Trails!

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