One year ago, I started hiking the approach trail to Springer Mountain. I said goodbye to my parents at Amicalola Falls and set off with my husband, Rob, who was accompanying me for the first day and night of my Appalachian Trail journey. The approach trail hike included a roller coaster of emotions making the trail seem much harder to hike than it actually was. I asked my self a series of questions followed by a series of positive affirmations - this went on for miles.
What am I doing? Being a badass. How long will I be able to hike? All 2,189 miles, baby! Did I pack enough? I am an ultralight guru, I don't need anything else! Will I meet anyone cool? Who is cooler than hiker trash friends?! How am I going to leave Rob? Easy, I am a hiking beast who needs no one! What the hell am I doing? Being a badass.
Before I could second guess myself anymore I was on top of Springer signing the trail log.
Little did I know that the two names above mine would go from strangers, to friends, to one of the first of many hiker families. These strangers would transform into Wrecker, Squeeze, and Alan the Scapegoat. I didn't foresee how confident I would grow on the trail, right now I was only worried about making it through day one.
That night was a blur of fixing dinner, comparing gear, setting up in Stover Creek Shelter, and listening to a German couple snoring. I surprised myself by waking up early, a habit I would continue along the next 1500 miles of trail.
That morning I said goodbye to Rob - he headed south and I went north. I did't let my self cry, although I wanted to turn around and run after him. I had made a commitment to myself and nothing was going to stop me (so I thought). I turned to the north and said to myself, "right foot, left foot, repeat."