Tonight is cold… a damp cold. I’m snuggled into my down quilt paired with many layers of clothing, including my jacket (puffy). A heavy rain has continued since early evening, leaving most hikers buried under their sleeping bags. I hear crinkling from my mom’s sleeping pad, distant snoring, and the constant tapping of the rain. As my first day on the trail comes to an end I think about how great of a day it was.
My first day on the AT was better than any imagination I’d had. The past few days have been quite chaotic between last minute purchases, traveling, planning supply boxes, missing gear, etc. We began our day with 3 hours of sleep and a two hour drive to Amicalola. Within a matter of minutes after being dropped off we experienced the beauty of the trail.
At last minute we decided to skip the approach trail and head straight to Springer Mountain (the official beginning of the trail). The Visitor Center wasn’t open when we arrived, so we went to the lodge to ask for information. As we arrived we began talking to a couple from Texas whose daughter was also starting their thru-hike today. They offered to give us a ride to Springer mountain and we hiked with her for the remaining of the day.
Our day was full of laughter, sweat, and eventually… COLD rain. We hiked 8.1 miles to Hawk Shelter and quickly set up our tents trying to keep our gear as dry as possible. The temperatures dropped rather quickly, leaving my fingers numb and making our tent setup rather difficult. Once camp was set up everyone quickly got into their sleeping bags to warm up and stayed in their tents for the remaining of the night.
Despite the cold, my moral is high. I’ve watched vlog after vlog and like most say, it’s nothing like experiencing the trail in real life. The trail is beyond what I expected. I am so excited for the next days to come.