I’ve reached my first town stop of the Appalachian Trail. While it’s a landmark, it’s a little early to be rejoicing. This again, is one long journey.
I’ve only walked 67 miles, not much to already be in town. It’s strange to be an experienced long distance hiker for this AT experience. I pass everyone. I say hello, and goodbye in the same interaction. On the other trails, “goodbye” usually means, “see you later”. On this trail, our paces are so different, that it’s likely that I won’t see these people again. And yet, beyond the odds, I’ve found a partner for the time being. Freefall, and I have a huge amount in common, and have actually met before. We’ve both lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco, we’ve both blogged and videoed about our PCT and CDT hikes, we have mutual friends and interests and we’re both getting off the AT in a few weeks to fly to California for the same exact job interview. It’s a small world. For the time being, we’re hiking together. Socializing with the people we pass, tent camping rather than sheltering and doing twenty plus miles a day.
I’m seven miles away from finishing Georgia. It’s not a state that I can say that I’ve “walked across”. It hasn’t been as hard as anticipated. There are indeed some decent climbs, but only two or three were more than a few hundred feet. The past few days have been warm. Sometimes, it was even hot when powering up a hill. Today, it’s rainy. I have no blisters, and no pains. I feel like I’m in thruhiker shape already. For a nature trek, it’s plesant. The AT is very much an eastern forest amble. I’m content that the forest hasn’t yet leafed out. Once it does, I won’t be able to see the countours of the land. Without leaves, there are many more views.
The people are the highlight. A friend from Atlanta, came out over the weekend to hike with me. We ate perfectly fired steaks and potatos, washed down with beer. I’ve also been the recipient of three trail magic events. An apple from a hiker, a feast of burgers, fruit, chips, candy and drinks at a road crossing, and a couple of buckets full of sugary and salty goods at another road. I’ve also had the pleasure of camping with fine folks, both thruhikers and section hikers.
It’s time to head back to the trail and see what it brings. Next stop? NOC. Next “real” stop? Fontana Village, NC.