The day has finally come! 7 months of planning, endless amounts of research, and lots of training has led up to this moment. The moment I step foot on Springer Mountain and begin thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail!
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until I picked up my orange thru-hiker tag at the visitor center and got my official hiker number of #1635 that it suddenly hit me… I’m here. I’ve obviously been excited for the last 7 months and knew in the back of my head that at some point it would really sink in that I was actually taking on this crazy adventure, but I expected it to sink in sooner.
Usually it’s heading to the airport that really makes big adventures sink in, but not this time. Clearly, my large amount of sobbing as Nick dropped me off at the airport was probably just an extreme case of “did I forget something?” Right? I knew this big thing was pulling me away from my guy for a long time but in a weird way, still didn’t feel real.
And over the last few days of seeing friends and talking to family, I answered lots of questions and laughed about things like “last meals” and “last showers” but even then, it still felt like “future happenings.”
Last night, I became a bundle of nerves. I think it was fear of the unknown, the known, and wondering if I would let all of the people following my journey, and myself, down. But with any big vacation once again I chalked it up to “night before jitters.”
But here I am, shoes touching dirt, a slight chill on a cloudy day, about to take my first few steps on the trail…and it is all sinking in. The excitement, fear, nerves, the feeling of my pack’s full weight, and now, the beautiful sight before me, all becoming very real.
This trail that once felt like a dream is now staring back at me, waiting for me to make the first move. I’m ready.
P.S. Thanks Aunt Sally for the best send off ride a girl could ask for!