Wet and Cold, but Finding My Rhythm on the Trail
No great adventure ever begins by everything going according to plan…
It’s finally Monday, Feb. 26. The day I’ve spoken of for months. The day I would begin walking the Appalachian Trail. I wake up in Georgia with my dad and the plan is to drive to the Springer Mountain parking lot and make the short, one-mileish hike to the top together. My dad has been super ultra supportive of me and my hike (as well as all of my other crazy decisions) so I was excited to share this little bit of my journey with him. Unfortunately, a malfunctioning vehicle prevented us from even making it to the parking lot together. Thus I began my solo adventure earlier than anticipated. I walked three miles up the service road, took my first brief (and awkward) hitch another mile, and then began my ascent of Springer. The trail was rocky, but amazing. I was finally doing it. Summiting Springer and seeing the Southern Terminus of the AT was a totally awesome experience.
I was so full of adrenaline on my way back down that I hardly remember the difficulty. All I wanted to do was keep going. I ended up that evening at a campsite just a few miles down the trail. There was a shelter, but I chose to pitch my tent and do my own thing. It is important for me to find my own rhythm.
Day two on the trail was wonderful and peaceful. I woke with the sun and leisurely drank my Caribou Coffee while reconstructing my pack. The weather was hard to get a grip on; sunny and hot, chilly and windy, all while I’m going between working hard to hike up mountains and spending time resting and enjoying the scenery. The trail was beautiful and I was a sweaty mess.
I camped that night near a rushing river and built a campfire.
The rain started before the sun came up, which made packing up camp interesting. I still started my day with a cup of coffee and enjoyed oatmeal with peanut butter (shout-out to my awesome kiddies, Xavier and Victoria, and their ever-thoughtful mother for the PB hookup! <3 ).
The rain continued throughout the day and brought me to set up camp earlier than expected. All of the extra rainwater I was carrying probably added ten pounds to my pack and definitely slowed me down. I did what I could to dry myself and my things, but six hours in the rain had almost everything I had completely soaked. I got in my (wet) sleeping bag and hunkered down for the night.
I woke up with the sun again and it was STILL raining. I continued my routine of coffee, breakfast, and packing up. Everything was just wet and there was nothing more to be done about it. Hiking in the rain is an interesting experience. The trick is to just keep moving and not let your body realize that it is also cold. This worked pretty well for me for most of the day. I made it to the top of Blood Mountain, the highest peak in the Georgia section of the AT, and despite the wind and rain it was beautiful.
I took a short break in the cover of the cabin at the summit at noon and ate a wet Clif bar. My descent from Blood Mountain was slippery in the mud but still awesome. I made it to Neels Gap, the first major hiker resupply NOBO, at about 3 p.m. I rented a cabin for the night and took a much-needed shower and washed (and more importantly, dried) all of my clothes. It worked out that my dad was back in the area still dealing with the unfortunate vehicle mishap that started earlier in the week, so he took me out for barbecue and a couple of beers. It was a much-needed break from the wet and cold.
Waking up 31.1 miles into the AT, I slept absolutely wonderfully in the warm and dry Blood Mountain Cabins, and was able to wash all my gear. I feel completely rejuvenated and ready to hit the trail again. A good hiker breakfast and a hot cup of coffee with Pops and then I’m off to resupply and get back on the trail.
Only 2,158.9 miles to go.
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.