One Month Living in the Mountains

  • Well, it’s been a month since we started the climb up the stairs at amicalola falls. It feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once. A lot can happen in a month and I thought by now I would have a lot to write about but honestly, right now all I can think about is food. I can’t put into words how incredible it feels to eat real food, after two weeks of candy bars, tuna packs, and instant rice. needless to say, a good portion of my thoughts over the past month have been food related.
    Despite the hunger and general discomfort that is life on the trail, I’m having the time of my life! There’s just something magical about summiting a mountain and looking out over miles and miles of untouched wilderness. The trees and rocks and moss seem to stretch on forever. In the past month, we walked just over 200 miles over these mountains from springer mountain in Georgia to Clingmans Dome in the Great smoky mountains. 200 miles when I compare it to the 2,000 we still have to go doesn’t sound like a lot. However, for me and Savanna ( now officially dubbed Yiona of the Dawn) this is almost ten times the miles of our previous longest backpacking trip. Trust me those 200 miles are packed full of memories, trial and error, and just a bit of pain.
    One of the coolest things about being out here is experiencing the mental change you go through from living out in the woods for this long. At first especially the first week everything was new and scary. I was constantly checking behind me, keeping my eyes and ears open for any danger. I never really felt comfortable even in my tent I would lie awake for hours staring at the roof until finally, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and the exhaustion eventually took me. Usually, the most difficult time of the evening is right after we set up camp, this pit of unease would settle in my stomach. However, I am happy to write that as the days and weeks go by fear is no longer the primary challenge for me. Each day I get a little more adjusted to my new environment and I almost feel at home in our little tent.
    The time passes quickly while we’re hiking. Without any major decisions to make or problems to solve. Other than how to hang our food bag in a tree at the end of the day (not as easy as you’d think especially after a twelve-hour day of hiking). My mind is free to wander for hours and hours. I know for some that may be a very daunting concept but when my mind isn’t on food, I like to let it wander and think about my place in the world and just how insignificant I am, out here in this vast wilderness. Sometimes I have vivid memory flashbacks of things I haven’t thought about in years. Most of the time though I’m just out here living in the moment soaking up the beauty of the Appalachian mountains coming to life.
    Once I was able to overcome the fear of being disconnected from civilization and accept being uncomfortable. I started to feel at home in the woods. Instead of feeling like an intruder, I’m starting to feel like part of the wilderness. It is where we come from and I think there is something deep inside all of us yearning to return to nature. Out here I have found the peace that I never knew before and I look forward to what I will experience and the memories I’ll make in the next 2,000 miles.

Smokey mountains shelter

Thank you for reading if you are interested in what gear we are using out here I have the completed list on the trek profile page go check it out!

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