Time to Start this Thing
My Dad and I have made it to Georgia after spending approximately 27 hours on a train from Maine. We are currently at Amicalola Falls State Park and are staying the night and the plan is to begin with the approach trail tomorrow (March 18).
We checked in this morning at the Visitor Center, and right now we are hikers 735 and 736 for 2016. On the journey down we met a lot of nice people who seemed to be quite curious about our trek (most likely their interest stemmed from the size of the packs we’re carrying – my Dad’s is 38lbs and mine is 42lbs). We even got our first trail magic experience, albeit away from the trail; a friendly passenger gave us some snacks while getting off the train.
I’m less nervous than I thought I would be at this point, but that may be because we aren’t yet hiking on the AT. There are a lot of things that hikers encounter in the south that I have never experienced in my numerous hikes in Maine and New Hampshire. While the terrain may be less difficult (that’s what everyone is telling me, anyway), I have never seen a bear in Maine, nor have I dealt with snakes of the venomous variety. While those things are scary to me, all thru hikers have to deal with them at some point. What’s more scary to me is the unfamiliarity of this entire experience. I wouldn’t say I’m a novice backpacker, but I’ve also never left home for six months to live in the woods with nothing but what I’ll be carrying on my back. But I suppose that’s the exciting part, not always knowing what your day will hold and living without the usual comforts that everyday life offers.
In more exciting trail news, I think my Dad and I have unofficial trail names at this point. A while ago I told my Dad he should be called Sweeper since I always make him walk ahead of me to clear away all of the trail cables. Up until this morning when anyone asked me if I had a trail name, I had no answer. But the man who drove us from the train station to Amicalola State Park this morning (his name is Ron and he runs Ron’s Appalachian Trail Shuttle – thru hikers looking for a ride around the area should call him, he’s awesome!) gave me the trail name Caboose since I always go last. I don’t know if it will stick, but as of right now that’s what I’ve got.
Of course I miss my family back home – especially my 3 month old niece – but I know how excited everyone is for us, and that makes me eager to get the journey started.
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