This afternoon we crossed the border from Georgia into North Carolina. 1 state down, 13 to go. 79.3 miles of walking in just 7 days with 35-40 pound packs on our backs. Wow! I’m kind of amazed with ourselves, if I do say so myself.
(editor’s note – no cell service now, so not sure when this will post, but it’s Friday the 18th)
A big thing that’s struck me and my dad is the kindness that follows along the trail. It’s hard to describe the kind of absolute friendliness that we’ve encountered on our journey so far. The fellow hikers, hiker families and locals have all been incredibly supportive. All of the Georgians we met, from the Hiker Hostel folks that picked me up at the MARTA station, to the post office clerks in Hiawassee who think that “oh, it’s so nice for you and your dad to be hiking the trail together before your wedding” to the families out for day hikes and picnics have been just so, I don’t know, nice! They wish us good luck and health and they have smiles on their faces. And boy are we stinky, too! I’m not sure if these folks are always this nice or that it just seems extra nice to me because I’m just used to people in NYC trying not to look at each other on the street or the subway. But maybe, just maybe, there is something actually magical about the Appalachian Trail.
There is, actually, a thing called “trail magic” and we’ve encountered at least 4 episodes so far. Our second day out, coming into a gap where there was a road and a parking lot, there was a “trail angel” giving out cupcakes and sodas to all the thru-hikers. He had thru-hiked a few years ago and was giving back to the new class. (Apparently there had just been pizza too, but we missed it.) On our 4th day, there was a church group at another road crossing with a plethora of goodies for hikers – fresh fruit, raisins, sodas, milk and medical supplies too! And yesterday morning another trail angel left a bag of homemade cookies and brownies all ziplocked on a rock!
But it’s not just food, it’s an overall helpful vibe. If you read Mike’s latest post, you know that sadly Tim had to end his trail-time with us this morning. To get back to where the car is parked in Tennessee, a fellow hiker’s wife who was headed north, offered to take him part way!
Anyway, it has been something special so far and that’s what’s making all of the leg-burning, foot pain, freezing when you crawl outta the tent to pee at night, sweaty when the sun’s beating down on ya and the overall massive stinkiness factor worth it. We are very sad that Tim had to go today, and we heard (but it’s not confirmed), that our new buddies from Raleigh, Black Thunder and Wild Card got off the trail today too. And this is going to be the bittersweet part of it, I think. We’ll be hiking a similar schedule with some folks, get to know em a bit, and then it’ll be our time or theirs to move on, sometimes without even knowing it. And we’ll be glad to have met them, but sad to have parted ways. They say everyone has to “hike their own hike” though and
I guess that’s just what we’ll have to do.
Thanks as always to all of our followers new and old! And a big thanks to our families! We love and miss you very much.