March 8th. Slept in our first shelter last night…kinda slept! Had a big breakfast with Amy’s family this morning, time to go check in as a thru- hiker and hit the trail!

After breakfast and checking in, I am thru-hiker 210 for this year, we hit the trail. We hiked from 11:30 to 5 PM and made it all of 7 miles to the actual AT trail head. We then walked .2 miles more and set up camp at the Springer Mountain Shelter. Good day, only 2,183.8 miles to go!

A big thank you to Ryan’s friend Rob how drove to the airport and picked us up, took us to REI, and drove us to the State Park. He dropped us off and left late to drive home. Thanks Rob! Also, thanks to Amy’s family for a great send off!

March 9th. Slept in our second shelter last night and boy I’m glad we did. We went to bed around 8 PM and at 9 PM the rain rolled in… It poured rain for at least 4 hours but we stayed pretty much dry in the shelter. At 7 am we got up and moving and by 8:45 we were on the trail. I need to get more efficient in my morning schedule, we will practice. We hiked all morning and stopped at a shelter for lunch, a 7 mile hike so far. It was 12:30 and we contemplated staying there for the night or pushing on to the next water source. We decided it would be boring to sit around all afternoon and took off for a 7 mile afternoon hike. The trail ended up being tough and by the time we made it to the creek campground we had put down 14 miles on day two!

My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my backside hurts, my hips really hurt, my back, my shoulders, but all in all I’m having fun! In the tents now and heading to bed at 8 PM.

March 10. Woke up at 8 and took our time with breakfast and breaking camp. Only 10 miles planned for the day so no hurry. We got our first taste of “trail magic” at Woody Gap where someone left a cooler packed with soda, oranges, chips, and chocolate cake treats, it was great! We relaxed for quite a while there in the warm sunshine. Ryan found some pieces of foam padding for me in the trash can. My backpack is good but the hip belt won’t get tight enough around my waist so I’ve been stuffing my rain coat, camp towel, sleeping pad and more inside the waist belt to make it snug, but now these foam pieces fit better, and smell like trash. We got to Lance Creek and set up camp. Ryan went to hang a bear line for our food and got the rope stuck and I spent twenty minutes up there helping him. After that we went to the creek to filter water and we both thought something smelled really really bad. We both also thought it was us that smelled so bad until we got back to camp and I realized that somehow while I was up helping Ryan in the woods I had stepped in a big pile of human waste…note to everyone, whenever going into the woods to do number 2, take a trowel, bury it 6 inches deep, and don’t do it very close to a camp site. What a day!

March 11. With the time change we woke up at 8 instead of 7 and had a later start. We hiked up to the top of Blood Mountain, tough trail, and had lunch. After that we made our way to Neel’s Gap for a food resupply, much needed showers, and even more needed laundry! At the end of the day we left there full from the hot dog special, and ready for the trail. We went about a mile more and set up camp next to a few guys who hiked the trail last year. Turns out we met one of the guy’s parents yesterday when they brought trail magic to hikers at Woody Gap!

March 12. Rain. It rained all night, not hard, but consistent. We packed up camp in the rain and headed out. We hiked until early afternoon in the rain to Low Gap Shelter but at 2:30 it was already full of hikers hiding out from the rain. We decided to hike on in the rain to find another campsite. Around 6 we finally found a flat campsite and set up our tents in the rain. We ate in the rain, hung the bear bags in the rain, then got in the tents to get out of the rain. Brian’s tent is leaking in and getting him wet. Ryan’s rain coat is doing a better job getting him wet than keeping him dry. My gear is working pretty well, only problem I had today was I peed on my pants while going number two in the woods in the rain, had to be something. It wasn’t that bad, plus at least it happened on a rainy day! All in all it was a very wet day, but we did hike a big 17 miles through the Georgia mountains! Hopefully tomorrow will bring warm sunshine to dry us out!

Don’t forget to check the link to Ryan’s hiking blog, he is posting information as well!  The link should be in the upper right side of the screen.