So far so good!
Getting to the start of the Appalachian Trail is surprisingly difficult. Many people drive to a state park, hike 8 tough miles to the top of Springer Mountain, and then finally get to begin their real journey. I figured I'd get in over 2,000 miles over the next few months so we decided to take it easy. Rich drove us to a parking lot a mile into the trail (6 miles of off roading definitely wasn't easy) and we hiked back to the start.
Our first day threatened rain but ended up being beautiful. It was a mostly downhill walk and was a great way to get used to the weight of our packs! After hiking 9 miles, we stopped at a shelter and got to meet some other hikers. Hiking shelters are cabins with one wall exposed and people sleep on a raised floor. It was so crowded that my dad actually had to sleep on the lower floor and risk people stepping on him all night. We were glad to have the shelter though because it POURED! It was worth putting up with the snoring and even the mice that crawled on us in the night.
We woke up to a cold morning, it even snowed a bit. We had two mountains to climb that ended up being not so bad and reached the next shelter by 1pm. We decided to push on for another 5 miles to try to make tomorrow (a day with a tough climb) a little easier. Unfortunately, we felt the extra miles. We did manage, however to experience our first TRAIL MAGIC!! We actually had 2 moments of magic. First, two guys gave us each a beer (and my dad took on the trail name Two Beers, I'm yet to be named). Then, once we hit the 12 miles for the day and reached where we were going to camp, this awesome bus invited us in for soup and tea. Much needed!
It's a cold one tonight so I'm off to get into my sleeping bag and crash before another long day. Thanks for reading and happy trails! The picture above is us just before hiking on our first day.