Days 1-3: Springer Mtn to Woody Gap

Ok, I’ve walked 20 miles (32 km) in 3 days. Only 2169 to go! (At this rate it will take me about 11 months to get to Maine.) But… I started out with 46 pounds (21 kg) and it rained last night (a lot), so my pack probably weighed closer to 50 this morning, what with everything being wet. My tent, it appears, is not very resilient in adverse weather conditions. On a positive note, my first night on the trail was warm and dry, so I didn’t have the urge to bail immediately after starting my thru-hike. Though the thought did cross my mind a couple of times as the water was dripping onto my head in the early hours of this morning…  

 Everyone says to pace yourself at the beginning, so I hiked a wonderfully short 5 miles today. I was then picked up by the lovely people at the Hiker Hostel for a night in a warm dry bed, an opportunity to wash my clothes and most importantly, to offload some serious weight. My pack now weighs closer to 32 pounds (about 14.5 kg). Much of that weight loss was achieved through jettisoning excess food. Those 4 days worth of food bags I photographed? I’ve eaten maybe the equivalent of one in 3 days. The famous ‘hiker-hunger’ hasn’t kicked in yet. In fact, I’ve experienced the opposite – a complete lack of appetite. But I am told that this is perfectly normal, that it takes some time for the metabolism to adjust.  Some highlights from the first couple of days on the trail:


First Creek Crossing


Stream Crossing – Three Forks


Laura suggested I take a series of photographs in which the blaze is always in the same spot, so hopefully this is the first of many which share this feature.

 In order to be able to maintain my reading habit while at the same time, cut down on weight, I had to do something today that I thought I’d never do; I tore my books into manageable pieces:  


 I’m reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, so I gave the first half to my fellow hiker and new friend, Grumpy (who doesn’t live up to his trail name at all from what I can see). I told him he’ll have to keep within hiking distance if he wants to be able to read the second half. The other book is my guidebook (I’ve just kept the sections for the first three states and mailed my future self the rest for later collection). 
I keep forgetting to photograph my campsites for my “beds I’ve slept in” series (which is well into the two hundreds now). I think I will create a complementary “sites I’ve camped in” series, specific to this trip, so will try to remember to photograph my many future “homes-for-the-night”.
Back on the trail in the morning…


6 thoughts on “Days 1-3: Springer Mtn to Woody Gap

  1. Good going Lou, though it looks like you should definitely have packed a fishing rod. Love Dad

    Sent from my iPad



    • I passed two locals who were returning from a fishing trip just up the trail from where I took that shot & asked if they’d caught anything. “No ma’am, unfortunately no fish today.” So I likely would have gone hungry had I been responsible for catching my dinner! Love Lou


  2. I hope you are getting hungry soon! Because my package to you is basically a food package ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have you sighted any squirrels yet or other wild and unpredictable animals?


    • I am told the hunger will kick in within the next week or so. Your food package will be very welcome. I just stocked up on snacks in case the hunger hits between here and the next town. I saw 3.5 deer this morning. 3 ran across the trail right in front of me. They were moving really fast, so no pics sadly. The fourth stayed hidden in the bushes but I caught a few glimpses. No squirrels in Georgia (yet). But I saw two sweet little woodpeckers today as well.


  3. Southeastern spring weather is very unpredictable. My old “Guide to the Appalachian Trail in the Southern Appalachians” (1960) had this wisdom to impart: “The likelihood of very heavy rainstorms should be fully appreciated. When a tent is to be used, a thoroughly waterproof one is necessary… Long wool underwear for sleeping is needed.” So, don’t give up on the possibility of April snow especially at higher elevations even though we are having record setting warmth at present. Stay dry and light and keep on truckin’. Great photos!


    • Thanks Wes, good advice. I just bought myself a new tent. This one’s bigger and lighter. My hubba has been great but it’s 12 years old and just doesn’t handle the rain like it used to. I’ll keep it for Summer camping trips. I am told there is a cool change on the other way, so I may yet have cause for all that winter gear I brought with me! And as you say, there’s still the Smokies to contend with.


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