Miles hiked: 8.1
Miles to go: 2177.2
Chrissy and I have successfully completed day one! We’re now waiting for our dinner to cook: brown rice with soy sauce for me and brown rice with added dehydrated pineapples and almond butter for Chrissy. Pretty appetizing meals right there! (But actually, we’re both pretty hungry and I think anything we eat at this point will be delicious.)
For those of you that don’t know, Chrissy is a friend of mine from middle school who oh-so-graciously agreed to hike the first two weeks of the AT with me. She’s also from New Hampshire and was very interested in seeing what hiking in the south was like, and I was pretty interested in having a buddy with me until I’ve adjusted, so we’re both benefitting.
We left NH Saturday morning and took two days to drive down to Georgia. My dad drove us and actually hiked two miles of the trail with us this morning. We decided not to do the approach trail (which is 8+ miles to the top of Springer Mountain where the AT begins) and instead accessed the trail via Forest Service Road 42. We were able to park the car and the trail up to the mountain was only .9 miles, allowing my father to join us. After driving us 17 hours to the mountain, he earned the right to hike with us for a bit! We hiked the mile up to the top of the mountain together and then after taking some photos turned around and went back down the way we came. We decided to slack pack (hike without our bags) during the hike up to Springer (my dad’s idea), and we picked our bags up when we dropped my dad back off at the car.
The views from the top of Springer were gorgeous. It was between 35 and 40 degrees but the sky was clear and blue. By the time we got back to the car and said goodbye to my dad it was a little after 12. Chrissy and I continued on and tackled the remaining 7 miles ahead of us. Overall, I thought it was a pretty easy section of the trail and it was a perfect way to start this hike. I couldn’t have asked for a better day of hiking!
The trail was mostly dirt with only a few stumps and rocks, making it really nice on my feet. It was relatively flat with only a few steep sections, so it wasn’t too tiring or demanding. It’s going to get tougher, I’m sure, but today’s trail allowed me and Chrissy to break in our legs without breaking our legs, if you know what I mean :-).
We stopped every now and then to refill our water, take a couple bites of our energy bars, and make eye contact during the pivotal parts or our stories, but overall we kept a steady pace and just focused on getting to the shelter while enjoying the views around us. We made it to the shelter a little after 4:00 and immediately set up camp and changed out of our sweaty clothes. As we were setting up I realized that the peanut butter I had packed exploded over everything in my food bag. Epic fail. I had my peanut butter in a ziplock bag to save weight: great idea in theory, messy idea in reality. Chrissy and I emptied out everything and using face wipes, my pack towel, water, and toilet paper got everything as clean as possible. It probably took us 40 minutes. Now everything including ourselves smells of peanut butter. Ha, oh well. I’ll be more careful going forward.
Our dinner’s now cooked and our tenting neighbors just built us a fire, so I’m going to go sit by it and warm up and eat my food.
Ta-ta for now!