Week 1 – Man, is this great!

Day 1:

If I’m not the luckiest son of a bitch then I’m not sure who is. I started my thru hike with non-other than the brewers from Lazy Hiker Brewing Co out of Franklin, NC. Many thru hikers are familiar with the brewery, and I had the chance to get acquainted with it on my thru hike of the Bartram Trail last April. So standing at the approach trail with these guys was a pleasent surprise. They were setting out to do a section hike back to Franklin, and were slack packing the approach with the help of one of the brewers that I have dubbed “Keg Sherpa”. 

Naturally they flew right by me. Without the added weight of their packs, I stood no chance at keeping up with them. But when I reached the top of Springer I was greated by the Southern Terminus plaque, for sweaty brewers and two delicious IPAs. 

Now that’s how you kick off the AT!

The guys dubbed me “Rooster” after Miles Teller’s character from the new Top Gun movie. I’m sitting on the name. I dig it quite a bit, but not completely sold on it yet. 

What do you think? Any resemblance to the real Rooster?

I finished the day at Hawk Mountain campsite after putting in 7.4 miles on the AT and 16 miles total from the approach. I was certainly tired at the end of the day, but it felt manageable. We’ll see if I feel the same in the morning.

I do have to send a huge shout out to my best friend Nilsson, for driving me down to Amicalola and helping me to goof away my nerves. He’s been one of my best friends from college and we always laugh our asses off when whenever we see each other. Thanks for sending me off with good vibes and I know they will carry over to the days ahead.

Me and Nilsson at the approach. Thanks again, buddy!

Day 2:

Most of this day was spent hiking on my own. It gave me a lot of time to sink in the fact that I’m really doing this! It’s crazy to think it’s real now. It’s certainly a great realization.

One highlight was sitting around a small fire with a few people. One of them, Bill, was a fantastic guy. Great sense of humor and an ultra runner. We talked all about his ultras and overall was just a fun night at camp

Day 3:

What a solid day on trail. The weather has held out for the beginning of the trip and I’ve finally been able to catch up to some of the other thru-hikers. One of them, “Switch”, was my hiking partner for the day, since we could match a similar pace. He’s attempting his triple crown on this hike. Having done the PCT two years ago and the CDT last year. We left Lance Creek in the morning around 8:30 and started our way up Blood Mountain. Admittedly he pulled ahead on the last 10 minutes of the climb, but I mean he’s hiked across America twice already, could I really expect to keep up with him? 

After a quick break at the summit, we made our way down to Neels Gap, a first big milestone for us. For those of your who don’t know, Neel Gap is where many thru hikers call it quits. The tradition is that they will tie their shoes together and throw them in the tree.

Not my shoes! No sir. Not me.

After raiding the hiker box we ordered ourselves a pizza and chowed down for lunch. We were joined by Bug Bite and Ranger (Class of 2022), and their friend Shannon, who is also attempting this year.  Ranger somehow talks a day hiker into buying us beer and so ice cold PBR floweth from the trail angel heavens.

I made it to Baggs Creek for a 12 mile day while switch pressed another 7 miles onward. At camp though, I ran into Ben. I’ve dubbed him Telecaster for his excellent idea to stream the Duke v. NC State game. Every couple of minutes I checked in with telecaster to get the score. As you know State won that game. Go Pack!

Day 4:

Great start. Got the bear hang stuck. I hanged the bag with my camp mate Robin, and through our best teamwork skills we were able to tie a knife to a stick and cut it down. Go team!

The hike continued on with Hops, one of the Lazy Hiker guys who gave me my trail name. Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot to tell you. I took the name Rooster that he gave me. Hops, Ranger and I flew through the first 10 miles before noon. It was a blast having a speed hike with them.

Ranger eventually held back to rejoin her crew and hops and I pressed on, but I could tell my bonk was quickly approaching. I got to blue mountain shelter around 2:30 while Hops pressed on to Unicoi gap and eventually into Helen, GA for a resupply. He’s supposed to be at Deep Gap tomorrow with me, and I’m hoping he brings beer!

It’s a long day tomorrow. Some steep descents and climbs and 16.6 miles to Deep Gap. 

Day 6:

Quickly realizing that a daily blog of every day is gonna be very hard… So in the future I may be switching to some highlights, thoughts, and reflections.

I made it to the Green Dragon hostel today for a much desired first town day and a hot shower.

 Overall the first week has been fantastic! The weather has held out with only a little bit of rain last night. I’m already meeting fun and cool people on trail. All around vibes are beyond positive and I’m so excited and grateful to be starting a grand adventure. But now I have town chores to do!

That’s it for now…


Affiliate Disclosure

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.

What Do You Think?