Saturday, April 23, 2016

Day 2: the real start

4/21: Springer Mtn - Priest Rock
Mile: 0-22.1, 22.1 miles

Jet lag and camping for the first time in months make for some nice and broken sleep. Poor Rest Stop was up at 4:30 wide awake. I managed to make it a bit later and got to enjoy sunrise from the tent, I am so excited to be out here. Springer is the official start to the AT, so today is our first full day and our first day on the actual trail.

The whole day was rolling climbs and seeing other hikers. Lots of small springs and streams and a whole lot of green. It's beyond pretty with a patchwork of deciduous trees and evergreens filling the hillsides with colors. Throw in the songbirds, flowering dogwoods and wildflower and I'm one happy camper.

For fun we counted the number of people we passed today, anyone was fair game as long as they were hiking. The grand total was 42, yikes! And that didn't include anyone at shelters since they were slightly off trail and we decided to skip the extras. So far it seems that there are shelters with privies every 6-8 miles which is a nice option. We met a lot of folks today who are carrying some wickedly heavy packs and pretty much everyone looked fairly beaten down. Climbing up and down all day is a whole different story with a 65 pound pack and a 20 pound pack. I'm feeling pretty good, and so very glad my pack is light. It's making everything seem so doable and instead of suffering I'm enjoying the views and the foliage.

The afternoon offered more ups and down with increasing peeks at mountains through the trees. We picked up another hiker for a few hours and with forbidding clouds gathering and the wind picking up it was perfect weather for hiking. Rockier terrain and more ledges left me even happier as we climbed. We grabbed water from a bubbling spring and headed just a bit farther to find a campsite and a view. Getting tired and hungry I stuffed my face as we kicked back and enjoyed the end of the day. A few raindrops started and within 5 minutes it was a downpour. Good thing this tent is a quick setup. I'll admit I had some not so good flashbacks of the tent filling with water on a hard packed trail back on the CDT. Luckily as the rain continued its downpour we stayed dry and warm. For now the rain has stopped but word is showers all day tomorrow but it's also a fake town day because the trail passes through Neels Gap which a gear store with some services so we'll probably spend most of the day there. Woohoo 9.6 miles to new food.

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