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.
So 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.
What 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
My first shelter on Springer for a lunch stop
First camp and outdoor kitchen
First tent village
First bear bag
First Hiker bubble
First Camp fire
First hiker feed
First trail magic
First sunset and sunrise
First sunbathe on top of a mountain view
First state complete
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.