Appalachian Trail Thru Hike 2022: 3/26/2022- 1st Week Thoughts from the Trail

Day 1:

Getting started!
Thru hiker tag! For Jake-a-Lope!

We stopped off at Amicolola Falls and picked up our hiker tags, signed the hiker register and completed our Thru hike safety class.

Day 1 total miles hiked, 3.2.

We got a super late start, hitting the trail to the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia at approximately 5:30pm. It’s a 1-mile hike to get to the top to start!! Probably not the smartest move as it was about 30 degrees F and super windy, making the wind chill drop temps in to the 20’s. Needless to say it was super cold!!

At the Approach trail

The trail to the top was WAY more challenging than we expected. We made it to the top and headed back down to the first shelter to camp around 7pm. It was dark and freezing (literally).

Off we go!
At the top of Springer Mountain!
Jake at the top!

We woke up the next day (see day 2 below) and i could barely feel my fingers. My feet were numb and every time i sat up, i got dizzy and had to lay back down! I finally made it up to the shelter and tried to start breakfast, but i kept getting dizzy and passing out. Jake gave me a snickers and it was completely frozen. Awesome start to the day! We were able to boil some water and warm up enough to hit the trail!

Day 2:

Miles hiked: 9.8 (AT mile 12.3)

Shelter: none. Pitched tent next to Cooper Gap parking lot. Friggen exhausted!!

Breakfast: none

Lunch: tuna pouches and nuts

Dinner: we split a snickers bar, handful of nuts. Had to ration water.

Connectivity on trail continues to be an issue with spotty service at best.

Standing up to pee is no joke. Although super freeing and convenient, you use different muscles than when squatting. I actually got a cramp in my abs!!

But for real, the feminine stand up to pee device, i will call it a “She-nis”, is amazing!

I slept like shit after Day 1, even though Jake says i was snoring like a banshee 🤷‍♀️

I’m completely exhausted, my legs are burnt out. My back is screaming at me and I’m completely dehydrated. We have 2.1 miles to nearest water source and down to two cups of water. 1/2 a snickers bar for dinner. But this is fun, right?! 🤷‍♀️

Oh well, another day in the books. On to Day 3…

Day 3

Miles hiked: 11.3 (AT mile 20.5)

The start was really rough as we were dehydrated which i think is causing my leg muscles to cramp up and move so sluggishly. Our primary goal is a 2.1 mile hike to a water source, then on to a shelter for lunch and privy usage.

The hike was beautiful and the water was a flowing! We were so thankful for water but had to move on quickly because every time you stop, your muscles cool down quickly.

We stopped to make lunch at Gooch Gap shelter. Victoria and her fiancé and brother were there, it was nice to see them again! We had nice conversation and shared a meal together. We are all shooting for Neel’s Gap tomorrow. It’s gonna be a tough push for sure.

By the end of the day i was exhausted, so when we got to the parking lot for Woody Gap, i was adamant we find a ride in to town to get cleaned up and have a burger/beer. This was a need for me at this point, as i already felt broken. At this point i was thinking about calling a ride to get me to the car, so i would head back 3-days earlier than planned… that’s how terrible i felt.

After burgers, a few beers and a great nights sleep, i was ready to lace up and hit the trail in the morning!!


Day 4: on to Neel’s Gap!! (Mile 31.3)

Miles hiked: 14.3 (includes .3 mile hike to hostel)

Signage to Neel’s Gap

Holy crap! I feel SO. MUCH. STRONGER today!! Jake is just crushing the hiking but today, i am keeping up a little closer than i have been, i even took front point during our down hikes!

Blood Mountain was no joke! So incredibly difficult.

Hike up to top of Blood Mountain

Lots of bouldering up and mostly down. The rocks really destroyed my feet so when i saw Neel’s Gap in the distanced, i got a surge of excitement and a little choked up. We had made it a little over 30 miles and to the point we’re about 20% of all thru hikers, hang up their boots and quit. I can totally see why. This shit is hard. Really pushes you on so many levels. Hiking is one thing, but backpacking is a whole other level.

View from Top of blood mountain

We are staying a hostel tonight, Blood Mountain cottages and then back on trail tomorrow. Hike on!!

Wind chimes at Neel’s Gap

Day 5: Neel’s Gap to Low Gap, 11.5 miles (mile 42.8)

Breakfast: mountain house egg scramble

Lunch: Trail magic! Grilled cheese and ham!

Trail magic!!

Second lunch: trail magic #2! Walking tacos by Queen Diva

Queen Diva (trail Angel) and her famous walking taco!

Dinner: ramen and mountain house chicken Alfredo.

We still haven’t figured out how to perfectly hydrate mountain house 🤷‍♀️

We met a hiker named AU (Mike) at Neel’s Gap just before we left. What an incredibly interesting fella! AU has been hiking this Georgia section of the AT for over 20 years! He was very encouraging for Jake and really had wonderful stories. Hiking with AU for most of the day was a Godsend, as it helped to take my mind off the pain of my hips. Jake seemed to really connect with him as well. We lost AU about 1/2!way in to our day, as we stopped to enjoy a magnificent view. Overnight camp at low gap.

Camp set up at Low Gap

When we arrived at Low Gap, AU already had his tent set up. He helped us to orient our tent to better prepare for the impending storm blowing in from the Southwest.

We made dinner and then hunkered down for the storm!! We both passed out fairly quickly and then around 2 am, the storm blew in. It was a crazy windy storm. Lots of rain. Our tent has very wet the next morning!

Tucked in for the storm!

The wind was very crazy. It sounded like a tsunami rolling in. You could hear the wind blowing Thru the trees miles away and then it would hit the campsite. It was a very weird and cool beach sounding effect.

Day 6: Low Gap to Unicoi Gap, 9.7 miles (Mile 52.5)

Final trail day for Food Guru. Overnight at Around the Bend Hostel. Dinner with Queen Diva, Hopeful, and Circuit Rider in Hiawassee.

We were invited to dinner by Hopeful after running in to them again at Around the Bend Hostel. They had provided trail magic a couple of days ago. We went to an AYCE buffet that tasted amazing 🤩 To be clear, i am not usually a buffet person but after a week on trail, it was heaven! Lol! We had great conversation and exchanged numbers to keep in touch for trail progress.

Around the Bend Hostel in Hiawassee

It was my last evening on trail as i had to return home to ensure the youngest son graduates high school and i tweaked my hip stepping on a rock and just could seem to get it back in place🤷‍♀️

I will now transition to hiker support and logistics planner as my husband finishes his thru hike! We will see how that goes…

I dropped Jake-a-Lope back to the trail and headed home! Hike on!!

See you soon!!

Published by Analiese Kennedy

Ecology and anything outdoors is my Jam! We love exploring new places and connecting with others over a good meal and wine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: