Yes I’m still alive and haven’t been eaten by a bear yet… Shutterbug’s Trail Update #2

I know, I know. I haven’t exactly been keeping up with the blog posts. But I promise I haven’t died! I’m still very alive!

I’m trying to catch up on my journal writings and when I do I will post more detailed descriptions of how my days have been but in the meantime here are

27 things I’ve learned from hiking the first 270 miles of the Appalachian Trail!


  1. Sometimes you might need to skip a part of the trail because of weather or injury or whatever but it doesn’t make what you’re doing any less badass.
  2. Almost everyone out here doesn’t know each other so it is much easier to be outgoing and make some lifelong friends.
  3. Sometimes a mountain will try and beat you down. After defeating said mountain, you will feel much better if you turn around and flip it off before climbing up the next mountain.
  4. Being able to see the mountain you just came from when you’re on top of another mountain will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something in life.
  5. Waking up for the sunrise is worth it. Even if you go back to bed after.
  6. Running into a friend is a great way to cheer you up and make you forget that you have the knees of an 80 year old woman on a steep downhill.
  7. People out here are wonderful. Especially when you show up to a shelter 10 minutes before it starts thundering, lightning, and down pouring and everyone there squishes together to make room for you to sleep there that night.
  8. The first hostel you stay at will seem amazing. Free coffee? Awesome! But you will soon learn that there are way better hostels than Top of Georgia on the trail.
  9. Seeing a friend have to get off trail due to injury will be one of the hardest things you will experience out here. (Love you Hamilton! ❤)
  10. You will not hike much faster than you usually do when slackpacking
  11. Peanut Butter & fluff is the most delicious snack. No tortilla, bagel, or bread needed. Just a spoon.
  12. One day you won’t have any views and it’ll be foggy & cloudy but the next you’ll come across a tower where you’ll have the most beautiful 360 degree view.
  13. You have to trust the trail. When things go wrong it’s just to show you how tough you are. You’ll make it through.
  14. When the weather is ideal, cowboy camp. You’ll never regret it.
  15. Sometimes you’re going to check the weather and it will say that the rain isn’t supposed to start until 3pm and its only 10am so you stay at some trail magic for an hour and then start hiking up a mountain (such as Jacob’s ladder) and when your foot finally touches the ridge line you hear the loudest crack of thunder you’ve ever heard so you start running and crying. But you get to the next shelter and all your friends are there which makes the day okay again.
  16. When a tent is a two person tent it doesn’t actually mean two people will comfortably fit in your tent. Especially if it’s raining/sleeting. You’re gonna wake up in a puddle.
  17. You are going to face some of your worst fears. Such as climbing an old rickety fire tower with nothing to stop you from falling off the sides.
  18. Hiking alone is great. You get to be alone with your thoughts and hike at your own pace. It is especially great when you run into your tramily every 3 miles or so and take your breaks with them.
  19. If you’re going to do a sunrise hike, definitely do not miss the opportunity to climb up to clingmans dome before the sun rises. Trust me, if the weather is nice it’s worth it!
  20. Knowing you’re only hours away from being able to eat town food will make you hike faster.
  21. Doing a 19.8 mile day in the smokies might not have been a good idea but it was worth it to catch up to friends.
  22. Night hiking by yourself is a lot less scary if you blast music while hiking.
  23. Miss Janet is the best. Her advice will get you to Katahdin!
  24. Always hike with someone else on a rainy day. It will make the day a lot less dreary. You’ll also have someone to complain about the rain with.
  25. Don’t let other people’s judgements of you bother you. Who cares if you hiked an 8 mile day when the person next to you did 20. They’re just asking to get injured if they’ve been doing 20’some since the start.
  26. When you and a friend have a shelter all to yourself, put up some Christmas lights and use the time to catch up on your journal.
  27. Hotsprings, NC is a vortex. You can check out but you can never leave. First you’ll take your planned zero, then you’ll try and wait out the rain and lightning to night hike out of town but the rain will just get worse, then your rain jacket will no longer be waterproof and the forcast will say two more days of rain. But you’ll make the most of being stuck in a town with shitty cell service & horrible wifi. The bartenders will start to recognize you as the girl who got up and danced with her friends in front of all the locals who thought you guys were crazy. You’ll spend hours joking with friends about reasons you’ll need to take another zero. You’ll go to the same diner for half of your meals and promise the waitress they won’t see you tomorrow. And lastly, you’ll have spent 4 awesome days in a weird little town with people you know will be your lifelong friends.

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