The Trail Itch: Town Is Nice, but I Want to Make Miles

It has been difficult to blog while on the trail, but I finally have access to a computer.

Georgia is far behind me now and my mileage is in the triple digits. I didn’t think I’d make it to the 100-mile mark, and then I started hiking with some amazing women and I have been having a blast.

Made it out of Georgia.

I came out here alone, and while I was hoping to make friends, I was surprised by how lonely I got and how difficult it really was to be alone every day in the woods. Thanks to Fishtail, Babs, and Pesto, I’ve been hiking faster and having a lot more fun.

Hail on Standing Indian Mountain, snow the very next day.

So far the trail has been amazing, but also scary and difficult. The terrain keeps ramping up, the weather is miserable, and pain is basically normal. We’ve hiked through rain, snow, hail, cold, high winds, fog, thunderstorms, and sometimes several of these at once. The temperature is slowly creeping up, but there have been nights where I was cold even in all of my rain gear and 15-degree quilt.

The most amazing part is the trail magic. I’ve come across groups doing trail magic — giving out burgers, hot dogs, soda, chips, etc. I’ve come across fruit on picnic tables in gap parking lots, free or extremely cheap rides to town, and all sorts of incredibly nice things you can’t even imagine in the real world. I’ve also received trail magic from fellow hikers — shout-out to Intrepid Willie, Two Weeks, and Rowdy.

From left: Rowdy, Babs, Steve, me, Fishtail.

My trail name was originally Caboose, but is now Caboose McConaughey, and a hiker named Rain Dance told me, “The caboose always makes it.”

McConaughey was born! Hat + sunglasses + bandana = McConaughey.

Making friends out here is easy. Everyone with a backpack is your friend. There’s always something to discuss with another hiker; weather, knee aches, foot pain, ramen, town food, and so on. There seems to be a pattern of discussing food while already eating food, regardless of what kind of food is being eaten.

Albert Mountain fire tower. From left: Pesto, me, Jen, Fishtail.

I’m finally looking forward to making more miles and I can’t wait for it to warm up so we’re not all hiding in our tents by 6 p.m. I feel much more confident that I can make it to Maine, and so much happier that I have friends with me along the way.

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Comments 11

  • Adrienne : Apr 6th

    Erin: I’m so glad you are having such an interesting adventure. I loved reading your blog. It is nice to know that you are traveling with with women who share your passion for hiking. The pictures you posted are wonderful. I hope your journey and the people you meet in the coming days, weeks and months will continue to amaze you.

    • Erin (Caboose McConaughey) : Apr 7th

      Thank you! 🙂 I’ve been posting more photos on Facebook, but I hope to keep posting some here too.

  • Linda : Apr 6th

    We love that you are sharing your adventure with us all! Good luck with your next leg: crossing the Smoky Mtn Park.
    Sending wishes for warmer temps your way.

    • Erin (Caboose McConaughey) : Apr 7th

      Thank you! I’m hoping the weather will start to stay warm after the Smokies 🙂

  • Stan : Apr 7th

    Erin, I think we met at either Springer Mtn or Hawk’s Mtn a few weeks ago (early March). I’m the old, slow guy with no hair! I’d asked it you were a Trek blogger. If this is you, I’d been wondering how you were doing and it sounds like you are hitting your stride. I had to pull out at Woody Gap due to a hernia but planning on returning to the trail May 1st if the surgeon gives me the OK. Going to try to flip-flop. Keep on plugging and I’m glad you are still on the trail.


    • Erin (Caboose McConaughey) : Apr 7th

      Yes! I remember meeting 🙂

      I’ve been doing well! It’s definitely still difficult, but hiking with others has been really helpful for me.

      I’m so sorry to hear you had to get off trail! I hope you feel better soon and that you get the go ahead for May! I may flip flop if I get to the halfway point late in the summer, but I’m just going to go with the flow and see when I get there 🙂 I hope we’ll meet again!


  • Valerie Evans : Apr 27th

    Hi Erin – Its Valerie from ASAM. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of you. I love reading your blog and look forward to reading more. You are truly AMAZING!


    • Erin (Caboose McConaughey) : Apr 28th

      Valerie!!! It’s so nice to hear from you! That means so much to me 🙂 I hope we’ll get to catch up when I’m back in MD!

      I hope you’re doing well 🙂


  • Carolyn : May 1st

    I am so proud of you for following your dream! It’s good to know that you are doing well. Stay strong!

    • Erin (Caboose McConaughey) : May 9th

      Thank you so much! I hope you’re doing well! 🙂

  • Carolyn : May 1st

    Go Erin! I love being able to see your pictures and read your post. Stay strong!


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