Took a little walk in the park today—just 8 miles, no big weight. It was more of a warm-up, really. Just something to remind my legs that they’ll be climbing mountains soon. A last chance, more or less, to double-check that the shoes are good.
Am I ever glad I’m starting next week instead of this weekend. Brrrrr! From single-digit chill factors this weekend to chill factors around 30 by midweek. How huge is that? Bless you, March 1 starters.
Speaking of March 1 starters, there are 27 from the White Blaze message board alone. Since more hikers aren’t on White Blaze than are, I imagine there are 50 or 60 starting tomorrow. I did a little number crunching. I’m guessing 200 or 300 have already started hiking. If I had an office and the office had a pool, my money would be on my being… oh… thru-hiker 537 to sign in at the register at the visitor’s center at Amicalola Falls. I hope I win, I hope I win!
Anyway, weather-wise, it’s going to be 60 degrees and sunny in Suches, Georgia, next Friday, when I start the actual Trail. It’ll be chillier up in the mountains, but however it goes, that sounds like a gorgeous way to start.
A quick housekeeping note: To catch spam, I’ve set comments such that the first comment somebody makes has to be moderated. Any subsequent comments go through unmoderated. So if you leave a comment but don’t see it appear within a reasonable amount of time (maybe even a day or two, out on the trail), feel free to email me. You’re probably stuck in the spam filter. I’ve only had one issue with that so far, though, so we’re probably safe.
By the way—Akismet? Best add-on ever. It’s caught an enormous amount of spam. More spam than they eat in Hawaii in a year, is what I’m saying. A lot.
Well, one week from today I’ll be arriving at Gainesville, Georgia—then on to the Hiker Hostel in Suches, to laugh and fret with some of my twenty or thirty fellow starters. One week from tomorrow, I’ll be on the steps of the Approach Trail (Day 0). Presuming survival, one week from Friday, on International Women’s Day, I’ll be signing the register at the first white blaze on Springer Mountain and heading north. One day at a time!
I’m thrilled, and so grateful for the opportunity to try for this this dream. It makes all those months of working multiple jobs and saving money feel worthwhile. (Isn’t it funny how easy it is to forget the pain of something like that when it’s finished?)
Next week’s weather at the Springer Mountain shelter looks to be highs in the 30s, lows in the 20s, with a fairly perpetual chance of rain and/or snow. Sounds about right. 🙂
Here’s where I get my weather info, shelter by shelter.
For now, I can’t decide whether to clean the toilet or start packing. It would be bad to get them mixed up.
Heading out a week from tomorrow. Yikes!
It’s warm in the Smokies and cold on Springer. I’m sure that’ll change a bunch of times in the next week and a half.
Rumor has it that yesterday fifteen hikers started at Springer, and the day before that, fifteen more. I guess that’ll creep up to twenty or twenty-five per day by the end of next week.
Did I just say that? ‘The end of next week’? Yikes!
Looking forward to the starting bell!
This is a tech test to try out something my buddy Javelin mentioned. Is it working? (Nothing to see here. Feel free to walk on by!)
And one more photo…
Ok, lets’s see how that came out!
Best summit photo EVER.
Here’s the link to their 2008 journal. They did a super-fast hike, too: 112 days. “In the summer of 2008, my friend Adam and I Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail, starting in Georgia and ending in Maine. We hiked an average of just under 20 miles a day with backpacks that weighed up to 40 pounds! We took many breaks during the trip to relax, but when we hiked, we took it seriously. The average mileage that we hiked in a full day was more like the distance of a marathon, 26 miles. We finished our trek well ahead of our scheduled 127 days. It took us under 4 months, 112 days in total from Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin!”
I’ve often thought about carrying something interesting, or planning something clever. Bomber carried a rubber chicken, right? But first I have to survive to Neels Gap. I don’t really think much past that.