Flashback: Georgia (AT 2011)

In just about 2 months, it will have been one year since I commenced my momentous journey. A few days ago, I was unpacking some boxes and stumbled across the first of my AT journals. I sat amidst old, dusty boxes–reading, laughing, and reliving the crazy events of the first-leg of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. I will admit that reading these old journal entries stirred a longing within me, a longing to get back out on the trail!

For the last few months I have desperately missed life on the AT; therefore, I have decided to quell this desire in the coming Spring. In March, I will be taking an Advanced Wilderness EMT course at Wesser. I thought to myself, “why not just hike there?” So… I have decided to hike the AT from Springer Mountain to the Nantahala River just before the course starts. It’s only a short distance, but I hope it will quench the longing I have to be back in the woods!

In the meantime, for your reading enjoyment, a flashback to Georgia…

3/10/11  @ Hightower Gap, GA

It’s 1 am. right now and it’s so darn cold! Tonight it decided to snow on us, along with temperatures sinking down into the ‘teens. I am officially regretting my decision to bring my synthetic 20 degree sleeping bag; I am definitely switching to my down bag and liner when we meet Carla at Neil Gap. The hour is late–yes. This is because we retreated to our habitations around 8 pm. Of course I tried to go to sleep; however, the cold, the snow, the strange noises… When I woke up to pee I was sadly disappointed when my watch only said 1 am. I was hoping it would be near morning!

Day 1 went along really well. It was pretty easy going with no real steep ascents to deal with. I hiked through the snow wearing shorts. Yes! I remained clothed in this manner until we reached camp. I think I am going to start telling people I am from Canada. haha. In total, our hike was approximately 8.3 miles–a nice, moderate start to our ultimate journey.

As I sit here and write, the pace of the snow begins to pick up. I have come to appreciate the snow because it does not drench you. As for camp and setup, I am amazed at how long it takes to do anything because everything is packed away and you must go through the cursory moves of unloading it. We shared a camping site with 3 other guys, 2 of which are from Florida. I can’t seem to escape Floridians, even in the wilderness of the Appalachian Trail. We had a funny experience hanging bear bags with them. Oh yeah, did I mention that I am sleeping with our camelbacks? This is so they do not freeze over night. They are tucked away next to the warmth of my body so they will not become solid blocks ice. Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow we are making a little over 9 miles. Hopefully we’ll camp in a better spot with less wind and a good water source. Hopefully I will fall asleep!

3/12/11 @ Neil Gap Hostel, Georgia

Yesterday had its share of ups-and-downs, literally. We skipped breakfast to leave the god-forsaken setting that we stayed at (Hightower Gap). We hiked through snow and freezing conditions. It was pretty miserable! Lunch time was a blessing; we stopped at Jesuit Creek, a beautiful site! We stripped off our layers and basked in the sun. The latter half of the day was great and  we finished by camping at Woody Gap. It was a much better night than our first night, but I was still freezing cold. We camped with a bunch of guys and had a wonderful camp fire. Yesterday, the Lord truly carried me through the miserable conditions.

Today, however, had a much more pleasant heir. This was probably because I got to have my morning cup of coffee. We pushed and got over Blood Mountain, making it to Neil Gap. Tonight we are staying at the hostel and we are so glad to be sleeping in a bed. Never have I been so glad to take a shower; it was so amazing! Today, my ankles hurt pretty bad. I found that they hurt the least when  I am climbing up hill. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little easier on my feet! The conditions today were bright and sunny–I had to strip down to a tank-top and shorts. I got so sunburned! Now I am relaxing in the hostel. In a mistake of words, I received my trail name today. Lilly was joking that my trail name should be “Anne of Green Gables,” but this other guy thought she said “Fuzzy Navel.” Then it stuck because everyone thought it was so funny!

3/13/11 @ Low Gap Shelter, GA

Today was an amazing day. I finally broke through the hump of difficult exercise. I was able to storm up massive inclines without any problems. I was hiking so quickly and was able to conquer each mountain I came to. The hike itself was very, very long. We made 11.3 miles today over some extremely rough terrain. I think I am at the point where the constant movement is beginning to affect my body. This morning, Lilly’s mom said that I looked like I had lost weight–too funny! I was very tired and anxious to get to camp today.

Anyways, everything has been great on the trail. I think my feet are finally adjusting to all the abuse. Tomorrow Lilly and I will stop off at her aunt and uncle’s house in Helen, GA. The hardest part so far has been my insomnia. It’s been terrible! I hope that one day, sleep will come easily to me. I am trying to think of other great things to write about, but nothing comes to mind. Good night!

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