The Trail Is Bringing on a Lot of Firsts for Me
The beginning of a thru-hike is naturally going to bring on a lot of firsts. The first couple of days I was eased into the trail; I lucked out with good weather, good camp spots, etc. The following week the AT decided to bring it. I got a lot of firsts, both good and bad.
First Bad Weather Days
Endless hours of rain, setting up a tent in rain, and then having the temps drop below freezing and form icicles all over your tent, and breaking down an icy tent is not fun. Temperatures dropping into the teens is not fun. I had been going on and on about how lucky we had been with weather. Especially after how much rain Georgia got this winter and all the thru-hiker accounts I read of hikers starting in the weeks before me that had to start in so much rain. Well, it was like Mother Nature heard me and decided to remind me who was in charge. Hats off to Mother Nature, but I’m ready for some more sun.
I realize this is also bad weather, but it deserves its own section. I take back everything I said about ticks being my biggest fear on the trail. They have been replaced by thunderstorms. There is something terrifying about being surrounded by thunder and lightning with your only protection being some bug netting and a rain cover. Oh, and the sleeping bag that I was curled up under waiting for it to be over. Knowing a thunderstorm was coming I was hoping for a shelter spot. About a mile from the shelter I was passed by two guys who, incidentally, got the last spots in the shelter. Bummer.
First Shelter Sleep
Well, I learned my lesson and, upon the next storm, I was even earlier to the shelter. I made it, and within 30 minutes, the shelter was full. I had never stayed in a shelter before. I’ve always been apprehensive and preferred my tent both for privacy and to keep bugs out. Well, there were two gigantic spiders in the shelter, but after hearing the torrential downpour and whipping wind that night, I was happy for the spot.
It didn’t feel nearly as weird as I thought it would sleeping next to strangers, especially since, after a couple of hours, they weren’t really strangers anymore. It was a fun group and we had a good time. Pre-rain storm we did some pseudo yoga, which basically entailed one hiker, pretending to charge a Snickers bar for his “class,” giving instructions such as, “I can’t remember the pose name but go here,” or “bro it out,” for a pose that required two people. Possibly the greatest yoga class I’ve ever taken.
First State Crossing
One down and 13 to go.
Well, sort of. I’m nervous about the prospect of hitching so we kind of cheated here. At Winding Stair Gap there was a woman who was dropping some of her friends off at the trailhead and we asked for a ride into Franklin. Baby steps.
First 100 Miles
This milestone was awesome. It felt so rewarding to hit the 100-mile mark; more rewarding than crossing the state line. Just have to do that roughly 21 more times.
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