Rain Rain Go Away.

The Night Before…

Picture this: two intrepid adventurers, me and my hiking partner, reunited at the ATL airport, ready to tackle the 2,197.4-mile Appalachian Trail. As we marveled at our luggage arriving miraculously unscathed and my precious hiking poles still in one piece, we eagerly boarded trains and unpacked /repacked our gear with glee. Excitement filled the air as we prepared for the epic journey ahead.

We dropped off some items at Goodwill, conveniently located next to the Perimeter Center REI, where we fine-tuned our packing skills and met a fellow hiker from the class of 2022 who wished us luck. With provisions in hand, we headed to the hotel but not before stumbling upon an All-You-Can-Eat hot pot restaurant.

Day 1: A False Start

The next day dawned ominously with thunderstorms threatening our grand departure. As we pored over weather apps and debated the risks of starting in inclement weather, we made the tough call to postpone our hike by taking an extra day in Atlanta. A day of extra sleep, a movie, and pub food? Sign me up!

Day 1: Take Two

Morning arrived with a sense of déjà vu as we found ourselves back at the hotel breakfast room, ready to kick off our adventure for real this time. We met fellow thru-hikers Eli and Cragen, bonding over our shared anticipation of hitting the trail.

With rain clearing in Atlanta, we set off first to Amicalola to Springer Mountain, braving misty conditions and eerie fog as we climbed higher. The trail had become a slippery maze of rocks and roots, but we soldiered on, embracing the Blair Witch vibes and odd encounters with slugs and mushrooms.

As the rain poured down, we finally reached Stover Creek Shelter, our haven for the night. The shelter buzzed with activity as we mingled with other hikers (Kitchen Sink, Steve, Ian, Pig Pen, Storm, Joe, Jeff, Gizmo & Trailina, Eric, Becca and Cujo – to name but a few), sharing stories and dodging exploding fuel canisters (thanks, flamethrower!). Dinner consisted of a lackluster chicken and dumplings package. As night fell, we bedded down to a cacophony of snoring, drying our damp clothes and praying for warmer days ahead.

Life Lesson: Always keep a safe distance from exploding fuel canisters

meet Cujo


meet Trailalina

Dinner and Shenanigans:

Dinner was average, just some chicken and dumplings. My hiker hunger hasn’t kicked in yet, so the flavor felt repetitive. But hey, I had jelly beans and gummy frogs with marshmallow bellies for dessert. Living it up on the trail, my friends. Side note, the concoctions these hikers come up with are wild – hearts of palm “angel hair pasta,” pesto, cream cheese, and beans. I dig the creativity! A hiker, soon to take on the trail name Hulk and giant (giant is his pack) was carrying whole cans of beans (amounst his 70+lbs of other stuff).

Let’s Talk Toilets

Today, we mastered the art of changing clothes in a not-so-private privy, oh and doing other things in there too. FYI these are almost open-air bathrooms with big gaps to let the light in. Please have some courtesy and stay at least 20ft back if somebody is inside.


Heading to Bed:

Picture this: me writing this blog post in the shelter while everyone snores around me. It’s a symphony of sleepy sounds. It’s only 7:40 p.m., and the temperature is dropping fast. I’m bundled up like a mummy. Sweater, hat, gloves, puffy blanket – I’ve transformed into the Michelin Man. Hopefully, the night brings some warmth, courtesy of my cozy sleeping pad and trusty sleeping bag.

To sum it all up: 3.8 miles, 500 feet of ascent, 1,000 feet of descent. Not too shabby for a very short, wet day!

Tomorrow’s Plan:

We’re off to Hawk Mountain shelter, a modest 5.4 miles away. Just 1,000 feet of ascent and 800 feet of descent. Easy-peasy! And then, Gooch Mountain the day after that… I won’t bore you with the details, but it involves lots of uphill struggle (Sassafras Mountain has a reputation). However, there’s a shining beacon of hope on the other side, a hostel with food, showers, and laundry. I’m not ready to be hiker trash yet.

Under the Sun:

Good news, my friends. The forecast promises sunshine for the next five days. Time to soak up that vitamin D and give our rain gear a break.

Morning Day 2.

It was chilly overnight, but not freezing. I cocooned myself in my 10’f quilt and found solace in the dreamland. Had to get up twice to pee, though. The struggle is real. Our clothes are still damp, but fear not! I packed an extra pair of socks and warm gloves. Gotta find a way to dry the wet ones on the outside of my pack. Resourceful, right?

Fourteen hours in bed, and I’m still not a morning person. It’s 8:00 a.m., my friends. Today is a new day, filled with adventure, laughs, and hopefully dry socks.

Day 2 continued: Dry socks are a myth!

Hello there, fellow adventurers! It’s day two of our Appalachian Trail journey, and oh boy, what a day it has been! As we crawled out of our warm sleeping bags, we were greeted by a not-so-welcome surprise – our clothes from yesterday were still wet/damp.  And let’s just say, putting on cold, wet shoes is about as pleasant as stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night. Ouch!

Oh, did I mention that I have Reynold’s? Yeah, my feet aren’t exactly fond of the cold. But after some intense warming up (think Olympic-level foot wriggling), we finally hit the trail, only to be met almost immediately with a swollen stream crossing. We had quite the debate on how to conquer this watery obstacle. Some hikers opted for the rock-hopping across submerged rocks, while others decided to channel their inner lumberjack and balance their way across a log. I walked the log and managed to keep my tootsies dry, my hiking buddy did the rocks.

Eventually, we all made it safely to the other side and continued on our merry way. Along the journey, we took a side trail to see a breathtaking waterfall, where we took a break to snack and wash the mud off our pants (not a euphemism). Oh, the glamorous life of a hiker!

Trail Names and Heroic Reactions

As we trekked onward and upward, we couldn’t help but discuss our trail names. You see, in the hiking world, it’s customary to receive a nickname that captures a memorable moment or characteristic. And let me tell you, my hiking buddy earned her name, Flamethrower, after a hilarious incident involving a camp stove. Don’t worry, no forests or shelters were harmed in the process. We decided to name her for her epic reaction rather than the mishap itself. After all, laughter makes every situation better, right?

Hanging out at Hawk.

After reaching the summit of Hawk (cue “Eye of the Tiger” playing in our heads), we miraculously stumbled upon a patch of cellphone signal. It was like finding a diamond in a haystack! We took advantage of our newfound connection to check in with the world, let our loved ones know we’re alive, and maybe even post a selfie or two for maximum hiking bragging rights.

Later at camp, we found ourselves in the company of a lively crowd. We reunited with some thru-hikers we met at a hotel and even heard the tail of a new trail name being bestowed upon a brave soul sporting a kilt – say hello to “Cool Breeze”! As for the rest of us, well, we’re still waiting for our awe-inspiring moments to earn our trail names. Fingers crossed it’s something way cooler than “Midnight Pee-er” or “Mishap Guru.”

Campfire Adventures and Bedtime Fails

After dinner, I took it upon myself to start a fire. Armed with a borrowed lighter, the wax from a baby bell cheese, and some twigs I found lying around, I channeled my inner survivalist. And guess what? We had a roaring fire going strong! It kept us warm and entertained for hours on end. Just a tip: don’t underestimate the survival power of cheese (wax) in nature!

But here’s where I drop the ball – I didn’t properly prepare for bedtime. Picture me stumbling around the shelter in the dark, trying to get ready for bed and find my way into my sleeping bag. Sigh.

Lesson learned: always be prepared for bed before it gets too dark.

A freshly fed fire. I was alternating between log cabin and teepee based on the available wood. A lot of people gathered firewood as an offering to hang out by the fire.

Frozen Feet and Playing Night Writer

Tonight is a true test for us brave adventurers – frigid temperatures down to 27 degrees Fahrenheit and wind gusts reaching up to 35 mph. We’re bunking down with our water filters and hoping that Mother Nature will spare us from becoming human icicles. My 10-degree quilt wasn’t cutting it for my chilly feet, so I resorted to doubling up on socks. Hey, two layers are better than one, right?

And as my fellow campers drift off into dreamland, I find myself still awake, playing with my phone and writing this log. At 11:20 p.m., the night is young, and my ideas are flowing like a never-ending stream. Who needs sleep when you have the captivating allure of typing on a tiny keyboard?

post script – I later discovered my feet wete cold because the pull rope at the bottom of my quilt had some undone… problem solved.

Feasts Fit for a Hiker

Before I bid you adieu, let me fill you in on our culinary journey today. For breakfast, we dined on beef jerky and a decadent rice crispy treat – because who needs cereal when you can have a crispy, marshmallowy delight, right? Snacks included a cheese stick (because calcium is important, even on the trail), a nutrition bar, and of course, a Twix bar because hiking is all about balance.

Dinner was a gourmet affair, featuring a peak fuel beef and pasta marinara dish. It’s like a five-star restaurant out here, folks! And the grand finale was dried fruit and jelly beans for dessert. Because on the AT, we indulge our sweet tooth with pride.

And so concludes day two of our hiking adventure. Stay tuned for more tales from the trail.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 3

  • Ron : Mar 13th

    Hi Caroline, nice Blair Witch reference, and the pictures support it! Glad you have a hiking buddy, Flamethrower is hilarious, and you have fire in common, so that’s a thing. Staying warm and dry is important, as you have described, and it’s a challenge to be sure. Use those laundry driers every chance you get! It’s almost heavenly to put on warm, dry clothes after days of dampness. Anyway, you’re off to a pretty good start, and I’m enjoying your posts. A few days without rain will be nice, and I hope you’ll get enough sleep along the way. Sounds like the AT is packed this year, and the hostels are full, so sometimes it’s better to snooze in your tent without all the noises and people. At least you’ll have plenty of company along the way, with help and encouragement to keep you going. Trail dogs are awesome, aren’t they? Ok, happy trails, warm and dry, Cheers!

  • Wendy : Mar 13th

    I can tell you’re going to be fun to hike along with this year – thank you for taking us! I’m 70 & wish I could do this but going vicariously will be ok.

  • Old Man Paul : Mar 14th

    Check Peg Legs posts to see what awaits…..


What Do You Think?