In the beginning, there was Georgia

It took the best part of 4 or 5 years, possibly more before I made that leap, went ahead booked my ticket and flew to Georgia. I spent a few of them not really knowing what it was out there that I needed to do, but then I found it, The Appalachian Trail. I then spent a couple more saying to myself and others that I was going to do it but never really got round to doing anything about it.

And then as some of you know, I made that leap of faith. I went into work, pleaded for 6 months off, booked my flight and I was on my way. Obviously between that leap and getting on the plane there were hours and hours of reading, watching, Facebooking, Tweeting and Podcasting to find out all I could about the trail, but that’s another blog that I have already covered.

20130324-065322.jpgSo the deed was done, I had made that huge choice to leave everything in my life, including my wife, for 6 months. I was on the plane to Georgia absolutely shitting it but at the same time buzzing with excitement…….but mostly shitting it. My actual words in a previous post when I first got to America were “Oh fuck, what the hell have I got myself into”. Click the link to read the full post.

After the 9 hour flight I had luckily pulled myself together and was now in the adventure, the adventure of my lifetime. This was the start of many firsts as I had never done anything even close to what was ahead of me for the next 6 month of my life. I had finally found myself at the start, the approach trail, up to Springer Mountain and the southern terminus of The Appalachian Trail.

wpid-img_13494882047513.jpegWhat followed was a pretty steep learning curve, literally and psychologically to put me in good steed to complete the thruhike. Before this crazy adventure I had only hike about 100 odd miles, I had never camped or cooked in the woods, never taken a shit in the woods, never hitched a ride, never hung a bear bag and hadn’t hiked over about 2000ft. This was going to be make or break really from this point. I would either thrive on the life out there in the woods and mountains or I would crash and burn, running home with my tail between my legs. Luckily as you now know I thrived out there, but it didn’t come without the odd bit or a fair whack of blood, sweat and tears.

What follows are a few photos of my firsts.

My first mountain

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My first shelter on Springer for a lunch stop

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First camp and outdoor kitchen

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First tent village

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First bear bag

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First Hiker bubble

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First Camp fire

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First hiker feed

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First trail magic

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First sunset and sunrise

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First sunbathe on top of a mountain view

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First state complete

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As I’ve been saying Georgia was a ton of firsts, a huge classroom and playground to make my mistakes and learn from them so I was able to carry on with the following 2000 miles of trail.

I thrived on being chucked into the deep end.

For the first time in my life I could honestly say, I felt alive and strangely at home in the mountains.

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