Week 1 on the AT: Amicalola to Unicoi Gap (Mile -8.8 -> Mile 52.5)
Well, it’s official, I’ve made it through a week on the Appalachian Trail! There have been some highs and lows for sure, but overall I’m loving the experience.
My Trail Name
First and most importantly, I have received my trail name- Spice! I’m carrying an ultralight spice kit I bought on Etsy (shoutout to Pugtail Originals who made it!) that I’ve used to make some bomb ass meals on trail. Who says you have to eat plain, boring food out here? Not Spice!
On our third day, we received awesome trail magic at Gooch Gap! Some folks from Boots Off Hostel were there cooking dinner, and I devoured some hotdogs, fresh strawberries, potato salad, and chips. It came at a really good time after I began to realize that I had not been eating enough food the first couple days on trail. It was nice to eat delicious food, meet new folks, and hang out around a campfire enjoying the beautiful weather. So thankful for this trail magic!
Yep, the hiker hunger is real. To be honest, I feel like I had hiker hunger before the trail… I ran and lifted weights a lot so I was already naturally hungry all the time. But now, it’s at a whole new level. First thing we did upon getting into town was go to the all you can eat buffet, and a few hours later ended up at the Huddle House to gobble down another 1000+ calories! I’m finding myself eating, feeling satisfied… and then an hour or two later I’m ready to eat again!
It definitely hasn’t been all fun and games out here. I have already cried a handful of times and doubted my abilities to do this. I struggle with setting up camp, and I don’t sleep well outside. It has gotten pretty chilly some nights, and I know that it’s going to get even colder in the Smokies. The combination of rain and cold honestly sucks, and I fear what would happen if my warm layers and quilt got wet. And of course, I miss my family- especially cuddles with my cat!
However, one of the things I’m finding is that a negative situation can change to a positive one pretty quickly out here. During a hard bout of rain, I found myself stewing in negativity in my tent. All of a sudden, a friend asked us a totally random question, unrelated to the weather, from her tent. It may sound arbitrary, but that random question that then sparked a conversation between tents flipped a switch in terms of my perspective. We were dry, safe, and not alone- and this perspective switch immediately erased my negativity. Soon the rain cleared up and we were able to hang out outside, and the night ended up going well!
Despite all of the challenges and my worries and fears, not once have I wanted to quit. I keep finding myself thinking “I want to be able to do this.” A large part of this is due to the incredible people I have met so far on the trail! Christian and I almost immediately fell into a tramily (and extended tramily!) and my experience would not be the same without them. Despite the pain, crappy weather, and other challenges the trail throws our way, I continue to find myself laughing, smiling, and feeling truly joyful around my tramily. Even the hikers I have only seen in passing make my days better- everyone is so kind and welcoming out here! The community on the AT is amazing.
Mentally, I can’t wait to get back out on the trail after we finish up a refreshing zero day. Physically, I’m still feeling a bit sore, but I know I’m getting stronger and can tough it out! Looking forward to the next stretch of miles to come!
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Just bought the spice kit from Pigtail! Great idea! Good luck as you continue. I start my flip flop on April 17.