Pre-Gaming with the Approach Trail

Today I began my pilgrimage to Mt Katahdin and like the 762 thru-hikers before me (I was number 763), I began my trek at the gateway to the approach trail. This morning, I tearfully pulled myself away from my mother’s arms (there were no tears), scaled the 606 steps of Amicalola Falls, put in some miles, summited Mt Springer, and promptly at 3:20 got right back into my mother’s car and returned to civilization and a nice clean queen-sized bed.

Wait what??…

That’s what I imagine you’re thinking dear reader. Molly Bybee, who was supposed to be a great adventurer, spent less than a mile on the AT and decided to return to adulthood  finishing that thesis of hers (just you wait, I’m going to write a whole blog about how to finish a thesis proposal – not a whole thesis mind you, just the proposal – on the trail. It’s sure to be thrilling). Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, that’s not the case.

Think of today as a pre-game before the big Appalachian Trail party tomorrow. I’m not sure if dipping your toes in is better or worse than jumping right in, but I’m not complaining about sleeping in a bed either.

The Journey from Kansas City

I began the two day journey eastward with my mother and her best friend who I lovingly refer to as ‘my moms.’ At several points this has led to some confusion as you may imagine. Anyway after some antique shopping, multiple pit stops, as always eating, and a distillery tour we arrived into Dahlonega around 10:00PM last night. I was stressed. I like to settle in. I wanted my beauty rest. Stressed me is a charm to be around (sorry moms!) I had a Come to Jesus meeting with my pack (goodbye fleece, extra shirt, and heavyish pen). Then settled in for the night.

My moms and me at our bourbon tasting.

My moms and me at our bourbon tasting.


I woke up today probably about as pleasant as the night before (again sorry moms!) We all have our pre game rituals. Some of my rowing friends get chatty, others walk around. Me? I sullenly sit in the corner try think about nothing and snap at anyone who tries to interact (totally pleasant). We made our way to the Falls. I registered as a thru hiker trying to look like I knew 100% what I was doing and then it was photo time.

Oh yeah... I was made a sash

Oh yeah… I was made a sash

One last selfie

One last selfie

Is that a farewell? Or me just perfecting my princess wave?

Is that a farewell? Or me just perfecting my princess wave?

I guess I should explain the sash (no it’s not coming with). I always wanted to be pageant winner, but have no desire to actually participate in a pageant. I don’t have a trail name yet for sure, but I’m thinking (mis)adventure. A family friend made me the sash. Princess for a day!!

The Hike

I was prepared for the worst today. It was tough. My pack is heavy (huge surprise). However it wasn’t as awful as I had imagined, but as I said I had imagined The Worst.

Now on to bed. .8 miles complete

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Comments 4

  • Robert Barnes : Mar 19th

    Molly best of luck. Hope to here more about your hike up the AT.

  • Bret : Mar 20th

    Wish you well on your AT (MIS) Adventure and happy trails. Thanks for the chat on the approach trail, the best 1/3 mile of training yet.

  • Margaret Grevatt : Mar 20th

    Love reading your blogs, Molly. Wishing you smooth trails ahead.

    Maggie Grevatt

  • John St. Angelo : Feb 8th

    Molly, don’t know if you still check these messages. I somehow landed on your blog and read many fascinating entries. Though you are a stranger to me, your stories from 4 years ago are inspirational, familiar, and show the true grit of taking on the AT. I trekked only 50 miles of it with my son in 2009 and will never forget. Thanks for sharing that part of your life journey with the world at large. I hope you have gained even more wisdom from adventures since those trail days.


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