Lessons learned: The first two weeks of trail life.

This is not your typical “It’s all sunshine and roses out here” post. In fact, there wasn’t much sunshine at all the first two weeks. And roses, well it’s the forest people. 

It’s hard out here, y’all! 100 miles in and I’ve had plenty of ups and downs so far. 

Waiting on a warm meal at our first stop, Neel’s Gap!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it. And I’ve learned so much already. But it’s definitely tough.

That’s part of the beauty of it though! Seriously! The hard days make walking up to that shelter you never thought you’d get to so much more gratifying. The rain makes you appreciate the days filled with warmth and sunshine. The sunny days make you thankful for the overcast days and less bugs flying around your head! And those days in town, well you’ll never be so thankful for a lukewarm shower and mildy burnt pizza as you would be after having spent five days in the woods. 

Lessons I’ve learned thus far:

1. Don’t get too caught up in the miles! It’s all about the journey after all!

2. When expecting rain overnight, pitch your tent somewhere will a slight leaf covering so as to avoid packing up a muddy tent in the morning.

3. Also when expecting rain, pick a tent spot  that’s not going to end up a puddle of water.

4. Eat even when you’re too tired to. I struggled with this to start. I was so tired in the beginning, I wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner at night. But I could definitely tell a change in my energy level when I forced myself to keep up those calories. 

5. Talk to people! The AT is an amazing community. It amazes me everyday how you can go into a shelter knowing absolutely no one but have so much in common with everyone! As an introvert who has always struggled with small talk and opening up to people, I have found this easier than expected on the trail.

6. Plan food better. Take into account the calorie/ weight ratio so as to not carry too much.

7. Weight matters! If you haven’t used it in two weeks, you probably don’t need it.

Drying out clothes on the outside of his pack

The day the AT brought the rain. 30 hikers holed up in Standing Indian Shelter.

My brother, Hunter, who graciously did the first two weeks of the trail with me 🙂

See ya later Georgia!

Our first trail angels at Unicoi Gap!

Myself, Hunter, Buz, and Oakie heading into Hiawassee

Stay tuned for more!

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