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
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!