First night at three forks rain,sleet, lower 20s cozy and warm in the hammock, everything frozen in the morning very cold. 9.5 mile day.
Second day pushed to Justus Creek, stupid move had to set up in the dark, 10 mile day, lot's of mud but warmer day. First fall totally lost my feet landed on my pack. Felt like a turtle barely got up made 3 new dog friends.
Day 3 hiked to Lance Creek first bear sign cub print with a mama print just ahead. Sassafras Mountain was a total monster but great views. Entered the campground to the shout of Reverend! A lot of community forming quickly on the trail. Camped with 5 new trail friends.
Day 4 short miles huge day 6 hours to do 7 miles. Blood Mountain was amazing! Met a Twitter friend on the trail, great day into a real bed tonight and a rest (zero) day tomorrow. This is even harder and more awesome than anticipated. Lots of ups and downs every day, really awesome people.
Trail people so far 3 Kevins 2 from Maine, 1 from FL, abbey, petri, ducky, AT, Kayla, Bain, Bactracker, Wildcard, speed bump, warrior, airman, Running Nose the GA trail angel and a ton of people whose names escape me or had not picked one yet. I have made over 10 new dog friends including a pair of miniature italian Dalmatians wearing beat bells.
Ahh Team Turtle a name I forgot but I'm one of the slowest people on the trail. But, two 20 yr olds have already quit, and the stats say 30 percent of all hikers quit here at Neels Gap, I'll be walking on in 2 days. Some are younger and faster I'm faster than a couple, luckier so far than some and more determined than a lot. So slow and steady has me further down the trail than a lot of folks. This is hard as hell and I'm happy and lucky as hell to be doing it! Night all, an actual bed under a roof, is calling my name.
In Neels Gap GA, climbed Blood Mountain today highest pt on the AT in GA. Climb was magnificent the descent SUCKED! This is really hard and I'm sun burned and really happy.
Amazing how fast you recover on a zero day very ready to hit the trail in the morning. List of ailments so far, pulled lower back muscle day 1, sore shoulder muscles, sore mid-back muscles, blister on right foot from a boot rub, sore spot on left ankle from boot rub. All much, much better today, let's walk.
So I’ve arrived at the park, shuttled up from Atlanta by Survivor Dave a great guy, I highly recommend his services. He’s part of a network of folks down here that help shuttle people to the start of the trail. He took a photo of me at the arch on the park, should be on his website in a day or so.
The lodge at Amicalola is beautiful and I’m sure the park is as well but this is the current view from my room.
Tomorrow I hike 5 miles up to the Hike Inn and then Thursday I’m on the trail. This might be my last post for at least a few days.
As anticipated I’m a big ball of nerves and excitement can’t wait to get on the trail. Ready or not here we go! I hope whatever adventure you’re involved with today that you are having a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane
So finally today, I’m on the train and heading south. It’s an emotional day, the first day of an adventure always is this way. Little sleep, wake up early, double even triple check everything and of course the one rule of travel. You always forget something. For me today it was both my debit and AAA cards. Remembered the debit card in time, the AAA card is left behind.
Always a bundle of nerves initially and then standing at the station a woman cautiously walks up to me and says, “heading to Georgia?” I smiled big, she was a 2008 thru-hiker and we had a great conversation.
Getting into Penn Station and headed for the train, it was my turn as I said to a couple, heading to Georgia?” They smiled big. Turned out to be John Stewart so there were now two famous names heading for the trail.
On the train we fell into immediate and easy conversation, we have the same anxieties, questions, excitements. We are all carrying too much food, right? We immediately talk about gear, the hiker’s equivalent to how’s the weather. it’s nice to have this conversation, they are good people and I’m taking it as a good omen.
Today I’m traveling solo but not alone, I bring pieces of people with me both mentally and physically.
My medicine bag from KC with a drawing from my youngest niece, and Ganesh from Stephanie.
I have a good luck charm from Kim and Lhakpa in Nepal. A book from my family. A piece of a quilt from my friend Meleah, anything you carry on this trip has to be precious because weight is so important.
We carry a lot in our heads as well and we hope to throw off that weight with the miles. So to my three questions, what was the most beautiful thing I saw today, that would have to be the scenery out of the train window.
What made me happy today is easy, getting on the road. What I learned today was that other thru-hiker’s are in the same space I’m in and that made for a happy day my friends. – Rev Kane
I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that? ~ Soledad O’Brien
So tonight is my last night before the journey starts, I’m excited and nervous and running a million things through my head. Tomorrow morning I will board an Amtrak train for Atlanta with a brief hour and a half layover in Penn Station. Enough time for one last legitimate piece of pizza before I leave NY. About 19 hours later I’ll arrive in Atlanta at 8AM on a Sunday morning.
Because it’s stuck in my brain I’ll share the worm, On the Road Again
I will spend two days in Atlanta, to see one of my best friends, kick around Atlanta a bit and pamper myself for a couple of days in a really nice hotel. On Tuesday morning I’ll jump on MARTA to hook up with Survivor Dave and a couple of other thru-hikers to head to Amicalola Falls State Park. I’ll transition easy into the thru-hiker life on the AT, a night in the lodge, then a 5 mile hike the next day to the Hike Inn for a less posh evening. Then finally the next morning after a year of planning and scheming, of buying sooooo much gear and changing my mind so many times about what to bring, I’m off.
My plan is simple, 8-10 mile days and an arrival into Neels Gap on the third day. The first few days will really be a live fire check-out run, get things dialed in and start to adapt to trail life. I look forward to when get up, tear down, hike, set up and sleep becomes a routine. The beauty of all of that is nothing about it will be boring or routine. I look forward to warmer clear nights where I can take the rain fly off of the hammock and stare up at the stars until I fall asleep.
There will be so many milestones to look forward to, my first state border, then 13 more. I look forward to seeing my first bear, climbing Clingman’s Dome, then getting out of the Smokies, jumping off trail in NC and VA to visit friends, my first resupply run, my first hitchhiked ride, my first trail angel, my first successful yogi’ing and especially to my first new friend on the trail. There will be adversity of course, blisters, turned ankles or knees, sore feet, incredibly hard days, rain and I look forward to all of it. Truly, all of it is the experience because you never know how many of those 5,000,000 million steps to Katahdin you’ll get to take, but I’m hoping to take and relish every single step.
Lot’s of thank you’s to go out to folks, first to David Miller the writer of the AT Guide, AWOL is a great guy, super accessible and helpful, he was in fact my first pre-hike trail angel and I look forward to meeting him in person at Trail Days in Damascus. My friends and family who have been supportive even when they didn’t have an idea or understand why in the hell I’m doing this. To Scot Gauvin and the Potable Aqua ATCrew2015 and my fellow crew members, I look forward to seeing you all at some point on the trail, even if it’s a high five when you’re going SOBO. To Phoddo, a Twitter friend, it’s been great to have someone to stress with via Twitter. Finally, to the readers of the Ministry of Happiness, we talk a lot about living a happy life, so time to stop talking the talk and to fully start walking the walk and of course having many happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane
Check out from Rev at The Ministry of Happiness