DAYS 1 & 2: 34 MILES (Plus 8.8 miles additional for approach trail)
The dark silouttes of oak trees drive up into the night sky, where the darkness is illuminated by a thousand stars. There’s a marginally thin crescent moon to the west, the color of pumpkin flesh. It’s the end of day two on my trek north to Maine, just after 8:30, and there’s nothing else to do than to write and close my eyes.
Ten years ago I hiked this trail. It nearly ruined me the first day. Hell, that first hour. As I slogged my way up the approach trail from Amicalola State Park, my back whimpered while my skin turned sticky in the late May heat. Now it’s January, ten years later. This time, the approach trail was easy, and although its not the official Appalachian Trail, I needed to revisit the footpath, and to start things off right. At 10:50am I left the park’s visitor center, an open mind in tow.
I made good miles that first day, and even better the next. Being able to hike 25 miles already AND enjoy it is a huge surprise to me, as it usually takes a week, maybe two. My pack’s weight is good—29lbs total with 4 days of food, a liter of water and a 12ounce container of coffee. Its very likely that the coffee is to thank for gliding so easily along these smooth Georgia curves.
So far, no pain, no blisters and good blue sky overhead.
It’s also likely that these miles come easy because I have found a hypnotic beauty in these woods, where trees stand naked and reveal beautiful silouttes that illuminate in the early morning and late afternoon sun. There’s so much more depth to it all, as compared to when their arms are littered with foliage. Without clutter, I am free to take in sunrise and sunset, both bursting with color where a pallette of soft pink, polar blue, cream and lavender turns vibrant and dramatic with tangerine, magenta and deep plum.
It’s odd to have so much to say in only two days time, but I suppose that is how one must choose to live each day on this journey. To treat each day as it’s own. Living for the moment without worrying about snow up ahead, which I know will greet me with open arms in less than a weeks time.
And I don’t remember any of the terrain I walked ten years ago, so it’s a refreshing notion that propels me even further.
But the nights are COLD and only gonna get colder. I wrap myself tightly in synthetic and down sleeping quilts while resting on an inflatable pad with an R-Value rating specially suited for winter. Down Booties are worth their weight in gold. As is this Patagonia R3 Hooded Fleece.
I’ll check back in a few days time. Hopefully this mouse doesn’t wreck terror on my sleep tonight, as last night I’m not sure I got any sleep as I thought the forest was going to come blowing down. I’m cowboy camping or in shelters until my Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo shows up next week.