From my journal…hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail

On Springer Mountain

On Springer Mountain (Photo credit: marklarson)

Day One:  Hiking begins!  It’s a long haul up Springer Mountain.  Starting at the approach trail at Amicalola Falls State Park.  I found the first mile of the trail an ordeal.  One hiker is carrying 65 pounds – I’ve got 55.  I pass Frosty Mountain, the Nimblewill Gap at midday.  I begin my ascent of Springer Mountain at 5 p.m. at a slow, stop-start-stop pace.  I stumble into Springer Mountain shelter at sunset.  Dinner is a goulash of cooked rice with sausage and pea soup.  I read my first shelter register and it’s fascinating, filled with tips and tales and gripes and glories shared by other hikers.  As I shuffle into my sleeping bag

Barred Owl

Barred Owl (Photo credit: Bob from Caledon)

the sound of barred owls is heard echoing in the forest – a wonderful, eerie chorus which puts me to sleep.

Looking back on this entry today, I’m first impressed about how sketchy it was before I transcribed it.  This was the result of sheer exhaustion and the pressing wish to simply crash for the night.  Still, even without photographs, I can clearly remember the experience: the drenching sweat of the ascent and the agonizingly slow pace; the expectation of doing more than my body was ready for; the surprising lack of appetite for food; the continual thirst for water; the incessant aching of my feet; the elation in my spirit and sense of adventure!  


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