Thursday, December 24, 2009

GA and the beginning

So this is where it all starts. The beginning of the trip and the end of the AT as far as this blog is concerned. I don't know why I did this backwards oh well. This is definitely not the end of this blog though.
Georgia and the beginning of the trail. It was finally real. I dreamed about this for a year. I didn't really plan too much though. I remember the ride down to GA with Jon and his parents. It didn't feel real. The whole trip was still so far away until we actually set foot on the AT Approach Trail. Even then the idea that was hiking the entire trail never sunk in until Maine.
I really didn't know what to expect too much. I'm familiar with AT sections in east Tn and western NC and figured GA terrain wasn't going to be much different. I was confident in my skills and gear. If I did it again I'd used different gear, but I have a different skill set now.
I didn't really plan too much. I knew where the first resupply was and packed 3 days worth of food. That pretty much set the pace for the rest of the hike.

The first of the white blazes.

Jon on Springer Mtn the official start of the trail. We did around 7-8 miles of the approach trail leading up to Springer the night before and hit the summit around 8 or 9am.

I started off with a lighter pack than most at around 25lbs with food and winter gear. I still get kind of embarrassed by the size of my pack early on though.

Our first camp site of the trail. Its ridiculous how many hikers don't make it 30 miles before they go home. As a result in GA it can be pretty busy with people and its full of camp sites everywhere.

Georgia mountains

Thats pretty much it. I left out plenty of stories throughout my entries so I may go back and tell a few here and there, but hopefully this blog will be more of new trips and less of this one trail. Its such a wierd trail and people get sucked in and make it their life. It was fun and was a lot more to me than I ever expected it to be. I'd rather take the memories, experiences and lessons learned and move on and apply them to new goals than go back and relive the AT constantly like many do.

Monday, December 14, 2009

NC to the Smokies

North Carolina. The second state and the first border to cross. Mentally its nice because you feel like you're making progress early on. It only takes a few days to get here. I think its around 70 miles of trail in GA if I remember right. You're barely getting in the swing of things and you still have a lot to figure out.

The state line is actually marked. One of maybe 3 or 4 state lines marked on the entire trail.

Good morning. Early on in the trail I would get up around dawn and start walking. I love this time of day and wish I had the discipline to do it later on in the trip, but at the same time I'm glad I stopped hiking with people that used alarm clocks. I don't like feeling like you have to do anything on the trail other than enjoy yourself and do whatever you want. Schedules and routines take the fun and freedom out of life.
Your body gets used to going to bed a little after dark and you naturally wake up around dawn after a week or so anyway. So alarms be damned.

Next up I'll throw the GA pictures online. Then I can get this AT business behind me and out of my mind. I'll hopefully keep this blog up though. I have plenty of other trips to recap and hopefully I'll keep finding excuses and new stuff to go find.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

I've neglected this blog. My mind hasn't really been on the trail which as far as I'm concerned isn't a bad thing. I'm trying to move on to the next fun thing (without forgetting the best of the AT). So here is the GSMNP portion of the AT. Currently I'm not worried about it because I need to get the rest of the 800 miles of trail the park has to offer.

Coming from the south you have to cross Fontana Dam to access the park.

Looking down on Fontana Lake

A glimpse of trail through the park.

I believe this is Rocky Top if I remember right. But apparently not the Rocky Top from the song.

Jon hanging out

I'll never forget the smell of fir and pines on Clingman's Dome.

View from Charlie's Bunyon.

I'll try to put up my NC pictures soon. Then its just GA after that.