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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Comments 6

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    Fawn Margolis : Mar 17th

    So unbelievably excited to read more about your adventures in the trail land! So Kelly and Dave, I applaud and admire you and wish you much success and crazy good stories to tell!!!

    Reply
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    Stephen and Melissa Russell : Mar 17th

    Omg. Kelly, can’t be more proud of you – and your Dad. Dave, no matter what life brings, nothing can take this away. Awesome writing Kell. This is a great start. I’ll be looking forward to reading your blog every day. Caboos? OMG!! The trail magic struck early! It is perfect, and for all the right reasons, we all gave it a thumbs up!

    Reply
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    Jan : Mar 17th

    I will be following your adventures. So, so proud of my van-mates RTB 2014

    Reply
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    John & Kathy Morrell : Mar 18th

    I am so excited for you both. I admire your courage and persistence and plan to follow your journey through your blog.
    Best wishes-God Bless you

    Reply
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    jim mount : Mar 18th

    Good luck to you and your Dad, Jim Mount of Cleveland Ga.

    Reply
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    Robert : Mar 28th

    Nice, really enjoyed your story. I am a retired Marine, whom has lived life out of a pack more than I would ever wished for. In short wishes you the best on your journey, you are stronger than you ever imaged. You will meet the right people when you need them, and you will provide support to those whom you meet in return .

    Reply

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