I made it to Atlanta, Georgia the evening of May 2nd. I was picked up at the Amtrak station by a good friend of mine, Anthony or “Fat Tony” — his trail name. We met working at the Green Tortoise Hostel in Seattle, and both hiked the PCT last summer. He lives just outside of Atlanta. When he heard of my plans to hike the AT he immediately offered me a place to crash and a ride to the trailhead. AMAZING!
I officially began my trek from Springer Mountain sometime around 3pm on May 3rd. I ventured on for a mere 2.7 miles to a stream just before Stover Creek Shelter. I followed a side trail along the stream for as long as seemed reasonable and laid out my shiny new z-rest sleeping pad and sat upon it. I had chosen to stop there to gather my thoughts, to decompress. I had just left a very busy lifestyle in New Orleans, and had spent all of the previous day in transit. I could sit for a moment, I thought.
One thing lead to another and next thing I know I am pulling out my sleeping bag and getting snuggly near a large tree. At about 3 AM I am awakened by faint sprinkles. It’s coming, I thought. I pulled out my Tarptent Double Rainbow. I threw my things inside. I followed. I went back to sleep.
The next morning it was pouring rain. Pouring. What? I was not prepared for this.”So hot and humid in Georgia in May”, they said. Nope. It was wet, and cold. My moon-time came. I’m out of sync. I did not move.
May 5th, 2017; AT Mile: 2.7; 1503
I saw a person, an individual a moment ago. Now I can hear a voice–there must be more than one. He is wearing a neon orange beanie. The unnatural kind that draws your eye from the scenery. A protective measure, I suppose. Though, statistically among those that vanish from the wilderness, the majority were last seen wearing very bright colors–and have dogs, interestingly enough. Anyway. I am not watching him, or them now. I only noticed him when I slipped out of my tent briefly to relieve myself.
Oh. How I long for solitude. I can feel my sense of adventure growing–but just now it is curled in the fetal position ready to be cooed by night dreams and day dreams alike. I hope to be more lively and social in days to come. Breathing this fresh air again was necessary.
As I slip in to my two-tone grey sleeping bag, with its hot pink inner lining, I imagine myself an awkward, indifferent little caterpillar inside my chrysalis of a tent. Just waiting to become a butterfly and discover the Appalachian Mountains. I will reawaken with fervor and that undying thirst for exploration.
I continued to listen to the rain clamor about me. That, and a concerned person who introduced himself through my tent as a “Trail Ambassador”. “Is everything ok?” “Yes, thank you” I responded. “Ok. Sorry to interrupt”, he replied. How embarrasing. It was clearly time to go.