Partial Eclipse of the Heart

First Week

The first week of the trail flew by faster than a peregrine falcon. It’s hard not to fall in love with this trail, the positive energy and hope of everyone on it, and that early enthusiasm of our walk to Katahdin. I’m loving every minute of it, even the first rainstorm. 

The first week is like your freshman year of college. You’re meeting people every day, unsure if they’re your new best friend or someone you won’t see again until senior year. Everyone wants to know who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re hiking the trail. It’s inspiring, really, as we all start this unique, open ended journey.

A view of the partial eclipse through the clouds

Highlights From the First Week

1. Trail Magic: my first find was a packet of Liquid IV at a trailhead. There was also a hotdog and a table FULL of snacks at another spot as well as a cold beer at Neels Gap. The scale of the generosity is powerful.
2. Meeting New People: though I didn’t fall into a tramily (trail family) yet, I started to see many of the same friendly faces. My favorite “small trail/world” moment was finding out one woman’s daughter lives two blocks away from me!
3. Eclipse Glasses: As luck would have it, I ran into a guy with eclipse glasses a hour before the peak eclipse. We had decent visibility for the 85% totality in our area. Celestial events on the AT!
4. Neel’s Gap Pizza: coming down Blood Mountain, I met another hiker who hyped me into getting a Red Baron frozen pizza from the Mountain Crossings store. Apparently it’s THE thing to do. I’m not one to miss out on a meal, particularly if it’s tradition! I figured out I may have been in a calorie deficit up to that point (don’t worry Mom, it’s now fixed). An entire 1550 calorie pizza will do that. Another hiker remarked, “What did they put in that pizza?!” after seeing my energy change.

A pizza with lots of toppings on a picnic table


There really aren’t any lowlights from the first week. Of course there were sore legs and feet but no major injuries. I kept the miles low early on (8-10 miles a day) before working up to longer distances (14-15). As long as my body felt good and I had time, I took advantage. I count myself fortunate to not have any injuries so far (knock on wood).

No progress on any of my thinking goals. I’m judging letting my ADHD brain wander for now, enjoying the experience and soaking it in. Though that does mean I get a few songs stuck in my head (see below).

To Past Friends

A heads up that you may get an out of the blue text from me if I think of you on this trip. I’m reaching out to folks when I cross through a gap or mountain with their name in it. I want to capitalize on this adventure to reconnect with folks I used to work/hang with, hear about your life, and keep friendships going. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they wished they never let old friendships fade and I don’t want to ever say that.

A view from Trey Mountain of a mountaintop vista.

Personal Stats:

Number of Birds ID’d: 23

Number of Ramen Packets: 4

Select Earworms: Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson, Stick Season by Noah Kahan, Survivor by Destiny’s Child (to motivate me up a particularly challenging stretch)


One guy I met carries a camp mug that says “BMW Drivers Only”. I predict he’ll drop that mug soon. 1) he does not drive a BMW and 2) he said he’s tired of people asking if he does.

Taking the predictions section easy for now. More to come in time.


Thats all for now. My heart is full and ready for more adventure! Feel free to follow me on instagram for some extra pictures. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the first week, it’s not to say goodbye. It’s “See you down the trail!”


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