Smell you later Georgia!

Gah, 
It feels as though an entire year has passed since I last seen civilization.
My spirits are just as high as they were when I started and the goofy smile on my face hasn’t left since I summited Springer. Don’t get me wrong…………..the days are tough, the climbs cause pain everywhere, and the hiker stench has fully set in…….but those things are so minuscule compared to the constant reward I am experiencing. 

   

   

 
On Thursday I had a huge milestone in my journey as I crossed my first state border into North Carolina. I had been looking forward to this day for quite some time as I had imagined it would be such a triumphant moment. To be honest, it was a tough day for me. It seemed as the uphill climbs were never ending and I was struggling getting into my usual hiking groove. With a goal of only 10 miles for the day, I thought it would be easy peasy, which was certainly not the case. I had heard rumors of storms brewing in the skies above, so I had hoped to make it to Standing Indian Shelter in time to reserve a spot on the inside. The two gentleman I was hiking with helped get me out of my funk and we arrived at the shelter(luckily still dry) by 11am. We were able to squeeze in the shelter after the rain and wind began spewing. I stuffed myself into my sleeping bag and probably slept a total of 13 hours that night. I woke up at one point in the night and the fog was so thick I could hardly see my hand in front of me……….morning couldn’t come quick enough. I was rested, recharged, and ready for a new day. We were up early and sat around sipping coffee and seeing how many people we could squeeze into two sleeping bags zipped together. The answer is 5 if you were wondering. 

  

We had a goal of 11 miles for the day and it ended up being a glorious day as we learned about each others lives during a long session of 20 questions. I think I forgot to mention, we added a couple from the UK to our hiking family this week. They are quite hilarious and equally as intriguing when comparing the differences in our countries. 
Today is my birthday and the group I’ve been hiking with agreed to push forward through a couple of hard days to get me into a town for some birthday shenanigans. We classed it up a bit and all 6 of us went in on a hotel room at the Comfort Inn, the accommodations are magnificent, just to name a few; an indoor pool,  clean bathtub to enjoy some relaxation, and a hot breakfast………..These are considered a real luxury in the hiking world, WOOT! 
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be in Franklin, North Carolina sharing a hotel room with 5 people(I met less than two weeks ago), ringing in my 24th revolution around the sun, I’d have thunk you had gone mad………but really, I couldn’t picture a more perfect way to celebrate this day. Cheers to a year full of passion, adventure, and following my dreams. 
It’s so hard for me to try and explain what life in the back country is like. Although it’s only been a few days shy of 2 weeks, it feels like SO much has happened. Life is drastically different compared to what it is in everyday life. I have about 3 daily concerns that I deal with. 

1. How far am I hiking today? 

2. Where’s the next viable water source? 

3. What will I be eating for my next meal?

Does it get easier than that? 



The simplicity of life on the Appalachian Trail is amazing. I couldn’t tell you any current events happening in the world for the first time in my life, and surprisingly the world still goes on. 

  
A few side notes–thanks to some fine people, I have been learning the skill of fire starting/fire maintaining. Oh how the little things can bring such excitement to my life now. 
I’ll conclude with this………I’m so glad that I took the leap of faith and temporary uncomfortably with this epic journey. It has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined and I’m just barely getting started. 
I crossed over mile 106 this morning and will be returning to the trail tomorrow afternoon. I’m already looking forward to being back! 

Happy hiking, 

Shotgun

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Comments 6

  • Avatar
    Bob Willis : Mar 28th

    Keep us informed Aundrea – running a story about your adventure in this week’s paper.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Aundrea J : Apr 18th

      Bob,
      Thanks for running a story on me. I am going to try and keep you all updated!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Pat LiaKos : Mar 30th

    This so would have been something I would have loved as a youngster. I will live it thru you Aundrea. Thanks or the posts. I am really enjoying reading about your adventure and seeing the pictures!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Aundrea J : Apr 18th

      Hey Pat,
      Thank you for your encouraging words. It’s never too late to go on adventure like this. 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Aunt Leni : Apr 1st

    Aundrea, your experience does sound like heaven. I am hoping for more pictures so I can live vicariously through your experience.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Aundrea J : Apr 18th

      Thank you so much Aunt Leni………its been so much fun. I’m glad to hear you’re following along! Love you!

      Reply

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