Sunday, March 18, 2012

Woody Gap!

     So far so very good on the Appalachian Trail! Having the time of my life! It's hard climbs and brutal weather at times, sure, but there is nothing I want to do more right now than exactly this! As I push through Georgia, I am met with some very breathtaking views and some awesome hiking! The woods here are very unique, with tall hardwoods, red clay and waxy green leaves.
     The Approach Trail was so worthwhile, and I am very glad I did it. It was pouring out, but I had rain gear on and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face! The climb was steep up the falls but very impressive to look at. Making it to the top was one of many small accomplishments.
     Eventually, I made it to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the A.T.!!! My excitement could not be contained as I signed the book, and took my first steps past the very first white blaze... I was walking into a dream come true...
     As I walked, I was almost in tears with excitement and I daydreamed about the many amazing people in history who have walked this very dirt. I am actually doing it!
     I had planned out an itinerary prior to the trip to ease my anxiety. As soon as I made it to the first shelter I intended to camp at, that itinerary was crumpled and became fire starter. When I got there it was only 2 pm! And I felt great! So, I kept walking north...
     Eventually I came to a beautiful campsite that looked like something out of a painting. Babbling brook, beautiful flora, the works. So that is where I spent my first night.
     Three fellows joined me at my spot. They are hiking for a week or two, and were really friendly. One of them, dubbed "Hot Wing", had previously attempted the trail in 2009. He dropped out from drinking bad water though. I could tell from his eyes a part of him was not going to want to get off trail in 2 weeks...
     The next day, today, was full of interesting characters. I met a couple guys, "Big Brother and Little Brother" from Australia. I met a woman from Germany. I walked with a young man from North Carolina for some time.
     One of the most interesting one was somebody I met on the Approach Trail, only a few miles in. "Meandering Snail" was his name... It took home 4 days to get just a couple miles in!
     I past many interesting folk, and loved talking to them, getting their story. It is sad that many of them I may not see.   again.
     I am making good time. Much faster than I expected! My original plan was to go slow the first few days, but I loved the hike so much I kept going! Today I put in 17.5 miles! I am a little sore, but not bad at all and loving this so much.
     I made it to Woody Gap today, and am camped just a little past it. I am very excited, because a good friend is coming here to meet me and hike with me for a few days! He is coming tonight and tomorrow I climb Blood Mountain, a tall one I am really looking forward to, and then I will be hitting Neels Gap, a big milestone early on! I am hoping to push right to there, to avoid camping in the area before it which has some serious problem bears.
     To cap off tonight, I just want to say again that I am truly loving this experience and I love all my friends and family who without them I could not be here!
     Signing off and proceeding to enjoy camp!

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