Winter Appalachian Trail Thru Hike – Day 1 (30 miles)

Last night @colahikes @walkeatsleep and @travelerbytrail drove to Springer Mountain. About a mile from the top our truck lost traction. Ice was the villan, and we easily decided to pull over and walk the last couple of miles.

It was a good thing to because around the next corner there was more ice and it continued all the way to the summit.

I’m at Springer! The beginning of a 10 month adventure lay before me and I was almost gobbled up by the enormity of it.

It was a few hours after sunset when we got there. We took the obligatory starting photos before heading down the mountain to a shelter.

It was after 11pm before we got into our sleeping bags.

I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed. It has been 3 years or so since I’ve slept on a full length sleeping pad and I forget how comfortable it is.

It took a while to pack up and say goodbye to the boys, but eventually I had to set off for my first day on trail.

I felt free. The stress and anticipation in the lead up to this hike melted away. Now I could just walk.

For the first few miles I was walking on compacted snow that had almost turned to ice. On every hike I count some random thing. On this hike I’m going to count how many times I slip because of ice.

What other random fact should I count? Something that you would be interested in.

The morning went rather well. It was warm, fairly dry and I took in the beauty of the forest and streams. It is such a stark contrast to the dry desert on the Arizona Trail that I have just finished.

Around 10am a few drops of rain started to fall in passing showers and by 2pm it had turned into a light but constant drizzle.

I was at Woody Gap having a short break when the rain started. I decided to pack up and head off. Just as I was about to leave, I man came up to me. He was a former Thru Hiker and completed the trail 25 years ago. He was very interesting, and spoke about the history of the area and how the AT has changed over the year.

After 15 minutes of being wrapped in his story, I started to shiver. Time to go!

I left him and headed into Blood Mountain Wilderness. I began climbing up into the the clouds. It was fantastic, with the clouds creating the effect of the surrounding landscape slowly disappearing into a blanket of fog.

It was the look of winter.

I continued to climb, and as I got higher, the wind really picked up. Until this point I had been wearing my poncho to avoid over heating, but I started to get cold. I kind of had to expect it seeing I was in shorts and a shirt.

I only had 2 miles to Blood Mountain Shelter so I pushed on without putting on layers.

When I got to the shelter, I was surprised to see another hiker already set up. Cookie Monster is also Winter Thru Hiking. He could talk, and I just lay there warming up in my sleeping bag and listened to his hiking and life adventures.

A great and successful first day.

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Comments 4

  • Christina Crescimanno (Maybelline) : Dec 23rd

    Hi! Just curious why you decided on a winter thru-hike ?

    • Andrew Sherry : Dec 27th

      I’m attempting a year triple crown. It is also a unique experience and challenge.

  • Gankenberry : Dec 25th

    do you keep any kind of ice cleats with you for winter hiking?

    • Andrew Sherry : Dec 27th

      Yeah, it would be hard to go without.


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