I've been a backpacker for more than a decade, but my first thru-hike was the Colorado Trail in 2019. It was amazing! Since then I hiked the South Dakota Centennial Trail and attempted the Uinta Highline Trail. This summer I am hiking the Appalachian trail northbound, starting in the first half of April. Excited to spend months in the woods, find a trail family, and explore the eastern United States!
Late morning found me on a gentle ridge between trees full of bird song. As I hiked I slowly ate a Stinger waffle and felt entirely content with an overwhelming sense that the trail is my home.
The trail climbed from James River, though it went quickly as Mike and I chatted the entire time. We took a lunch break when the trail flattened at Little Rocky Row.
Shortly before noon, Sonic Boom, Hobble-It, Lt. Dingleberry, and High Route arrived in town. Along with a hiker named Three Sticks, we went to brunch at Cracker Barrel.
As I hiked I thought about an ex-boyfriend, Alexis, who passed away on this day four years ago. He would be happy I am walking amongst trees.
I woke with the light and got up, though I was still tired. The plan was to reach our hostel before the late afternoon rain.
Shortly into the day I passed the 1/4 milestone for the entire trail!!
I slept well and got an early start, eager to do a 20 mile day. Nearly five miles in I encountered Wendy slack-packing the opposite way. I hadn’t seen her since Winding Stair Gap, mile 109, but we’ve kept in touch via text.
A small cascade nearby served as the shelter water source. I found a salamander family, three big and one small, hanging out in the shallow wash of water over a big rock. I was so excited!!
It was a brisk morning so I kept my puffy on until I warmed from the uphill climb and patches of sunshine. The four miles flew by and soon I was at Indian Grave Gap.
I started my day doing Yoga with Adriene! This was a typical activity pre-trail and my body welcomed the hip opening flow.