My First Week on the Pinhoti Trail
Week 1 on the Pinhoti Trail
Week 1: 75.5 miles hiked
Over this last week I embarked on the beginning of my long trek to Maine, starting on the Pinhoti Trail.
Before flying down to Alabama to hike this trail I had only been to Alabama one other time. After hiking through Alabama for one week I can say that I am in awe of how beautiful Alabama is. I’ve been blessed with great weather and an early spring, which means just about everything is blooming. Red blossom trees can be seen all over the trail as well as many different types of wildflowers. I’ve been loving this state so far.
And as far as the people, I have to say that southern hospitality is truly a real thing. Everyone I have met so far has been nothing but kind and welcoming. Strangers have asked me where I am going and where I am from. Numerous individuals have told me that they will be praying for me along my long walk to Maine. I have felt very blessed so far along my walk.
My first night on trail I camped with a man from Alabama and we stayed up late by a fire talking.
Day 2: 11 miles
The next day I hiked out nice and early and did 8 or so miles to the Sylacauga Dollar General. There I got lots of food and goodies before continuing along.
While I was walking the next mile or so of road walk, Chuck Norris from the POC drove by and offered to take my pack for me so that I could walk without it for the next 2 miles. I couldn’t refuse! Then I stayed at the POC again that night.
I met a few other hikers, Monk, 5 Pounds, Mule, and Daddy Long Legs. I had a great night relaxing and talking to other hikers.
Day 3: 13.2 miles
The following day I took it nice and slow, easing my body back into the routine of daily walking. I took lots of breaks and made camp ridiculously early. But it felt good to let my body adjust back to hiking.
Day 4: 13.2 miles
Today was another slow and steady day. I felt good but I didn’t want to push it. By around 11am I got to a trailhead where there was supposed to be a water cache but it was dry. Luckily Chuck Norris from the POC brought me water! But not only did he bring me water, he also brought me fruit and a coke. He’s such a great guy.
I got back to walking after that and only did another 7 or so miles. By 3pm I reached a beautiful campsite with a bench and great views. I couldn’t resist stopping for the day and I was truly in no rush to be anywhere else. I set up camp nice and early and had a relaxing night.
Day 5: 10 miles
The next day I did the final 10 miles to a trailhead where I was able to hitch into Talladega, AL, my first trail town thus far. When I got to the road I stuck my thumb out and the first car pulled over. The man who picked me up was a retired pastor and was very kind. He told me that he would be praying for me along my trip. And before he let me out of the car he gave me a bit of money for lunch. I refused it, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He said that he likes to bless people when he can.
Once I got into town I headed over to the Next Step Hostel which is a free hostel run by trail angels Nancy and Jeff. They were so accommodating and got me situated with a bed. After that I was able to get comfortable and do my food resupply for the next stretch of trail.
Two other hikers Lark and 2 Pac were already there. And as the day went on TABA arrived, a hiker who I met back when I first got to Alabama the night before my first day on trail. Later on two more hikers arrived as well! Nails and Jinx. It was so nice to be surrounded by other hikers.
Day 6: zero miles
Because of an impending storm arriving we all decided to take a zero day the following day. My first zero day so far! It was great to relax and spend time with other hikers. We were even joined by two more hikers later on in the day, Mule and 5 Pounds, who I had also already met back on day 2 at the POC.
Day 7: 15.7 miles
And the next day I packed up and most all of us hikers set out to get back to trail. It was a stormy day but was tolerable. I continued to take it easy and take lots of breaks to stretch. Originally I had planned to do 14 miles and camp nice and early. But upon arriving at my campsite for the night it began to absolutely pour rain. I had no time to put my rain gear on so I got soaking wet.
At that point I checked my map app (Far Out) and realized that it was only another 1.7 miles to a trailhead where I could get a ride back to Talladega. Nancy from Next Step Hostel came to get me and took me back to the hostel. There I was able to warm up and get dry. I accomplished my longest day so far as well which was 15.7 miles. And my reward was that I got to take a hot shower and sleep in a bed.
That is one nice thing that I have noticed about the Pinhoti Trail so far. You are never particularly far from a road. So if weather surprises you then you often have the option to hitch into town if need be.
TABA, Mule, and 5 Pounds were spending the night at the hostel as well so we all hung out for the rest of the day. TABA actually coordinated a unique meeting with a local man who wound up showing all of us his vintage car collection.
Thru hiking is amazing in the way that it is so unpredictable. One moment you are walking through the woods in the pouring rain, and the next you are in town touring a garage full of vintage cars.
It has been a truly incredible first week on trail. 75.5 miles down, 2555~ miles to go.
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