Southern Hospitality on the Appalachian Trail

The short summary- I’ve tackled the first 109.8 miles of the AT in 10 days! I earned the trail name “Crank” after my reluctance to take an early zero.  It’s been an amazing adventure so far and I’ve been struck by the kindness of strangers when it comes to taking care of the smelly dirtbags with backpacks also known as “hikers”.

The famous van, the Blairsville crew, and Ms. Janet behind the camera.

The famous van, the Blairsville crew, and Ms. Janet behind the camera.

On the second day of my hike, I met the famous Ms. Janet. She is a trail legend who looks out for us by providing shakedowns, words of wisdom, and an occasional ride to town. We’ve crossed paths several times on the trip so far and the sticker on the back of her van that reads “Trail Angel” is definitely accurate!

In Blairsville GA, my new friends and I stopped in at the Hole In the Wall diner. We talked with our waitress for a while since our (2nd) breakfast was occurring around 11 am on a weekday. The next morning, four of us needed to catch a ride back to the trail and a pickup stopped to give us a ride. It was none other than our waitress from the previous morning who volunteered to haul us back up to the trail.

A full week in, Hiker Hunger started to hit me hard. Fortunately a boy scout troop was waiting halfway up Tray Mountain. They had multiple grills, soup, cookies, drinks, and sides not just for the boy scouts spending the night by the road crossing, but for the hikers as well.

Our feast at Hole in the Wall

Our feast at Hole in the Wall

I’ve been absolutely spoiled by the number of people who have been waiting at road crossings to feed the wild hikers. In addition to these instances, there’s been half a dozen kindhearted people with tailgates full of fruit, coffee, chips, and snacks for unsuspecting hikers.

I heard rumors that trail magic was not uncommon in the south, but certainly did not expect it as frequently as I’ve come across it. I can only think that it’s southern kindness running rampant in North Carolina and Georgia, bless our smelly hearts.

I plan on making weekly updates on Appalachian Trials, but for daily adventures from my thru hike attempt, check out my Instagram!

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