Week One On the Trail

Getting Started -Atop Springer with BonBon

Getting Started -Atop Springer with BonBon

Week One on the Trail: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Truly Incredible

One of my main concerns with my thru hike was starting in March with the potential for cold weather. However, by pushing out much further, I knew that I risked not getting to Katahdin before they close Baxter State Park. Based on some trail journals I read and a tip from a friend who had to postpone her hike this year, we decided to stay at the Blood Mountain Cabins and shuttle to and from the trail to get started

The Good:

#1 – The week of March 23, the weather was all over the place. We had lots of sun and (almost too) warm weather, followed by nasty, cold rain. We didn’t really slack pack, but carried about two-thirds of our full pack weight to get us acclimated. The cabins were wonderful to come home to. We still ate our trail food, but enjoyed a hot shower and warm bed each night. Oh, and wine. Lots of Three-Buck Chuck!

#2 – I am so very grateful that the instructors at the MVP gym got me squatting. In addition to improving strength it has made PITW so much easier.

The Bad:

#1 – Because we needed a pickup at the end of the day, we always felt like we were under a deadline. It was really hard to know just how far we could go in how much time. Like many folks I found the downs as hard or harder than the ups in many ways. I thought I left the corporate world to get away from pressure and deadlines, but I found I was also having them on the trail, largely of my own making.

# 2 – I am also a shoe-in for the slowest hiker that ever lived. Because it is taking so long to get where I am going, I haven’t had many opportunities to blog or meditate.

The Ugly:

#1 – Blisters! I am definitely blister prone. Pretty much always have been. However, I had found some boots a couple of years back that gave me no troubles at all. I wore them doing the Approach Trail about a year and a half ago and had no blisters whatsoever. The last time I wore them before the AT was for a shakedown hike in January. They felt smaller an I wondered if working out with a weight vest had already made my feet a little bit bigger. So I was concerned that these boots might now be a bit too small. I ordered a new pair of the same type just half a size larger and I brought both pair with me. I had really hoped that the old boots would be fine, and I could mail the new ones home for when they inevitably wore out but that was not to be the case. Changing to the new boots and properly taping my feet really helped eliminate all of the blisters and they healed pretty quickly.

#2 – Wet!!!!! On Sunday we hiked from Tesnatee Gap to Low Gap. Being the slowest hiker on the planet, there was no room at the inn, e.g. shelter. We filtered water, made dinner and set up our tents. I didn’t do such a great job of staking mine and some rain got in. We broke camp in the rain and started hiking toward Unicoi. The weather was supposed to clear, but it stayed misty until mid afternoon. I was concerned about a damp bag, wet tent and damp sleep shirt drying in time. I decided to grab a shuttle into Hiawassee and dry out.

The Truly Incredible

#1 – The unbelievable majesty and awe of the AT. The views that go on for miles and miles on a clear day, the eerie mist on a foggy morning, the colors of the sunsets, the flowers beginning to bloom… It is truly humbling to think of all that went into making this wonderful trail.

#2 – My hiking partner BonBon. When I had blisters she helped me with laundry and getting me cups of tea. When I got wet she let me warm up in her bag and tent and made me a hot breakfast. Plus she made me totally laugh out loud more times than I can count.

The first week has been amazing!  Onward!


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Comments 5

  • KT : Apr 2nd

    Yes! so great!

  • Claudine Kuykendall : Apr 2nd

    How inspiring! I am a grammie thinking of walking the AT and I know pretty much nothing about camping and hiking, so reading your story and knowing you started without a wealth of knowledge is amazing and encouraging!!! I will be praying for you and wishing you the best!!!!

  • Leslie : Apr 2nd

    As someone who is considering hiking the AT, you have provided me with an incredible amount of motivation to do it. I look forward to hearing more about your adventure and remember slow and steady wins the race.

  • Nancy : Apr 2nd

    You have amazed and inspired me for as long as I can remember! Love you!

  • Evelyn : Apr 3rd

    you are an inspiration. Have a great hike,


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