Starting the Trek

Hello everyone and apologies for being so tardy on getting my first AT blog posted. It’s been a crazy six day start to the trail. I just now find myself with some time to get my thoughts together.  Forgive me for them being a bit scattered or not as structured as they will be later on.  I hope to get better.

One thing you will notice if you’re an Appalachian Trail follower is that on my first day I actually went southbound to the visitor center and then started northbound on my second day. This was because my wife spent three days with me in a cabin north of Springer Mountain allowing me to slack pack the first two days. Off, we go!

Day 1 Send Off

Day 1:  AT Miles 4.4 — Three Forks Trailhead to Amicalola Visitor’s Center

My trek actually began at the Three Forks trailhead about 4 miles north of Springer mountain. My wife dropped me off, and I hiked to the top of Springer Mountain where the Appalachian Trail starts. It was quite a view from the top of Springer, and extremely windy!

Springer Mountain View

Soon I was at the top of Amicalola Falls with an incredible view. The full approach trail wasn’t open so I ended up hiking down the East Ridge Trail to the Amicalola Visitor Center to the famous arch.

Amicalola Falls


Amicalola Arch

Day 2:  AT Miles 16.1 — Three Forks Trailhead to Woody Gap

Day two started with being shuttled back to the three Forks trailhead. Now I will be northbound, hopefully until Maine. The day had so many incredible views, and beautiful creeks that I can’t describe, so here are some photos.

Great Views Already

Another Awesome View

Beautiful Creeks

I was able to make really good time since I was slack packing and my wife was picking me up at the end of the day in Suches, Georgia.

Day 3:  AT Miles 15.1 — Woody Gap to Bags Creek Gap

Day three was an incredibly hard one for so many reasons. The first was that my wife of 39 years went north to our home and I was alone. It was also hard because this was the first day of having a full pack and not slack packing.  The day also included an early climb up Blood Mountain.

Blood Mountain

After Blood Mountain came the Mountain Crossings store and the famous shoe tree. This is where an estimated 25% of hikers give up and some toss their shoes into the tree.

Neel’s Gap Shoe Tree

When I left the store in Neel’s Gap, it was a long climb out.  But soon I was greeted with a beautiful Mountain Laurel tunnel. There are a lot of these on the trail and it never gets tiring.

Mountain Laurel Tunnel

The day ended at the Bag’s Creek campsite where there was a beautiful sunset. I was almost too tired to eat, but had a little something and was fast asleep.

Bags Creek Campsite

Day 4:  AT Miles 15.0 —  Bags Creek Gap to Blue Mountain Shelter

I would like to apologize for the shortage of photos on this day. I was really focused on the trek and didn’t take my camera out of my pocket nearly often enough, but I did catch the sunrise.

Much of hiking on the Appalachian Trail has been on trails like this up the side of Cow Rock Mountain. It’s been a lot of rock hopping and slow going.

Sunrise at Camp

Climbing Cowrock Mountain

Day 5: AT Miles 15.2 — Blue Mountain Shelter to Deep Gap Shelter

There was a rumor going on around camp that there was trail magic at the upcoming gap. So I ate very lightly before the two hours of backpacking to get there. I was so hungry when I got there but Wow, was I rewarded by an awesome trail angel, Munn.

Munn is the Man

This was really the highlight of the day for me so I have to share a second photo of the two large fresh, blueberry pancakes he cooked for me on his griddle topped off with Starbucks coffee.

Blueberry Pancakes

Here is one of the many tunnels of green mountain laurel that I went through today near Rocky Mountain.

Green Tunnel

Thunderstorms are expected to start around 6:30 AM tomorrow so the plan is to get up at around 5 AM to break camp and be ready to hike when a break in them happens. So off to bed early.

Day 6:  AT Miles 4.1  — Deep Gap Shelter to Dick’s Creek Gap

As expected, the thunderstorm started just as I completed packing up my tent around 6 AM.  After about 90 minutes of thunder and lightning it let up, allowing me to head for Dick’s Creek Gap. It would take about 4 miles in two hours to get there, and the entire time was a light rain, and lightning in the distance.


Just as I was approaching Dick’s Creek Gap, it began to rain hard for the second time today. And for the second time on my trek, there was a trail magic breakfast! This time it was very unexpected.

Unexpected Trail Magic

The people here in Georgia couldn’t be more kind and supporting of us hikers. It was so nice to not wait in a thunderstorm for a shuttle and instead enjoy coffee and breakfast sandwiches. We were caught off guard when a sudden gust of wind came through and blew the tarp off, but all the hikers and angels held down the tarp, long enough for it to be secured again. My favorite moment was the little girl taking names of all the hikers. She was adorable.

Now I’m off to Hiawassee Georgia to resupply and take a Nero which is trail talk for a near zero miles hiking day. With storms forecast for the entire day and not having had a shower or doing laundry in about six days I think I will take a half day off. Tomorrow it will be back to Dick’s Creek Gap and about another five days of hiking before I am able to post my next blog and clean up a little.

Thanks again everyone, for your support. I appreciate you.

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Comments 5

  • Lauren Toups : Mar 18th


    So excited to catch your first post on the trail! Love the updates, and we’re all rooting for you!

  • Jim : Mar 19th

    I am envious. I, too, am semi retired, yet life keeps getting in the way of any kind of thru hike. So I’ll be riding along with you and a few other trekkers. Hope all goes well and looking forward to following along!

  • James : Mar 19th

    Amazing update! I’m sure the hardest part is not showering 2x a day! Thanks for the updates and amazing pics!!

  • Doublepack : Mar 19th

    Good luck heading to Katahdin!

  • Brian Kennedy : Mar 22nd

    Looks like you are off to a great start!
    While I have your attention, should I be combining the Colorado records?


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