Friday, April 29, 2016


1649 was my number when I registered at the Amicalola Falls approach trail. That means that 1648 thru-hikers have started the trail before me. This doesn't take in to account thru-hikers that started directly from Springer Mountain, section hikers, or day use hikers. They have said that this year on the AT will be one of the most crowded. Luckily for us, we have started long after what is called the "bubble" or the majority of hikers. I am really glad that we are starting on the later end of it all. That means that we will have less time to finish the trail before Baxter State Park in Maine closes, but it also means that we will have less crowded trails. It also means that we aren't hiking in the snow, like some of the people who started early had to do.

This time of year has been so beautiful, in terms of Spring and the trees/plants developing. Northern Georgia has a very similar landscape to Vermont. The trees are all starting to leaf out and every day there is a noticeable change in the color of the leaves. They started at a very light green at the beginning of this week, and are now a much richer green. There is still a lot more to go with the canopy of the trees, and it should be fun to watch this happening. I'm very excited for the trees to fully leaf out, so the temperature of the woods won't be so hot as it has been this week with the sun. I've been trying to start hiking earlier in the day to avoid the heat. Georgia is HOT! Aside from a snake on Tuesday (ICK!) I haven't seen much wildlife, but have been enjoying lots of wildflowers. The Trillium are all in bloom and have been covering the hillsides - truly beautiful.

So far this week we have hiked over 50 miles of the trail! I've had a great time this week and have met some really fun hikers. Dad, Alice, Audrey, and myself were traveling along with a pretty consistent group of hikers throughout the week. We've met people from Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island and beyond. It's been fun picking everyone's brains about where they are from, what they do, why they're hiking, what gear they chose, etc. Hanging in camp at night and chatting with everyone I've met has been one of the highlights of this week. We've added some people to our "Trail Family" and have enjoyed getting to know them. While some people in our group have acquired trail names, I have yet to be assigned one. A few have been tossed around, but I have vetoed most of them. Only time will tell what my trail name will be!

This week was made enormously more enjoyable thanks to Dad and Stacey. Not only did Dad and I get to hike/camp for four days together, but he also made this week so much more fun for me and everyone else. He made it his mission to make this first week as easy as possible for us. We hiked two and a half days without our packs thanks to them picking us up at road crossings. Also, thanks to Dad's planning and Stacey's driving, we had beers waiting for us at all of the shelters we stayed in this week - which was a great way to finish a day in the woods. On Thursday and Friday nights we (and our new friends) came back into Helen to sleep at the condo, shower (SO NEEDED), eat tons of restaurant food, and relax in the hot tub. Honestly, this week has been so special to me, and I am so grateful to Dad and Stacey for helping us ease into this endeavor. We are having one more hurrah at the condo tonight, doing a huge BBQ with some of our new friends. After dinner we'll be resupplying our food stores and getting ready to hit the trail again tomorrow without the fantastic support we've had this week. It is actually starting to get real. We're hoping to be out of Georgia and into North Carolina in a few days, which is a pretty cool milestone! Someone figured out on Wednesday that we had finished 1% of the trail - that wasn't the most motivating way for me to look at the trail.

All in all things are going really well. My legs and feet feel pretty good so far, and I'm excited (and nervous) to increase our daily mileage. Looking forward to what the trail has to offer. Hope everyone at home is doing well, I miss and love you all. Feel free to email me ( with fun words of encouragement for those hard days that will be coming up. Tomorrow or Sunday might be our first day of rain - definitely a hard day.

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