The past few days have been a whirlwhind! We pulled an all-nighter right before we left to make sure we packed everything we needed. We made it to our flight one minute before they shut the gate. It seems that we're always pushing the limits.
When we arrived in Atlanta, our boxes were missing from baggage claim. Turns out they were set aside in AirTran's office. Perhaps our hiking gear was suspicious. We got a shuttle to the trailhead from a man named Ron Brown. For anybody who needs transportation in the Atlanta area to the trail, we highly recommend him. He was full of information about the trail with tons of tips and helpful advice so what do we do? Fall asleep. We tried to stay awake and chat but I finally gave into the sleep when I almost knocked myself out on the window from nodding off.
Springer Mountain, the starting point, provided amazing views. It felt very surreal that we have been planning this trip for so long and we are finally about the embark.
We hiked a couple miles past Springer and stayed at Stover Creek Shelter. Having been awake for many hours already, we passed out for four good hours. We woke up, chatted with some fellow hikers, ate dinner, and went back to sleep. We had a decent night sleep even amidst the downpouring rain all night.
We woke up in the morning to a slight drizzle only for it to start downpouring again as we took our first steps. We were practically walking up rivers all morning. I think we got more precipitation that morning than we have all year in Michigan. It cleared up halfway through the day right about the time we took a detour to check out an old cemetery from 1902. We hiked a lengthy 12 miles our second day to Justus Creek campground. We arrived exhausted and ready for sleep but not without soaking our feet first in the mountain stream. It felt heavenly. And numbing.
We slept in kind of late because the sun rose from behind the mountain. A little past half of our miles for the day, we experienced our first instance of trail magic! A church does yearly outreaches at Woody Gap and hands out free hotdogs, pop, and a multitude of snacks. They were true trail angels. Rob had a little too much to eat and felt like vomiting halfway up the next mountain. Good thing he didn't because he already smelled. Bad.
We camped out at Lance Creek that night alongside a nice ridge. This provided for an AMAZING sunrise in the morning. It was good that we had a nice start since we did a lot of uphill today. We climbed Blood Mountain which was our highest peak yet at 4,458 feet. We rested for a bit at the top and soaked in the views and picked up and left. We had to be sure to make it to at least Neels Gap as there is an active bear in the area. We hear she is pretty big, starting to get aggressive, and is crafty at stealing food. Eek! We made it out of the bear area to Neels Gap where a hostel/outfitter named Mountain Crossings is located. We ended up staying here for the night to sleep on a nice pullout, shower, and eat some good home-cooked grub. A man by name of Pirate cooked up some porkchops, baked beans, salad, and GREEN pineapple upside down cake. It was divine. There were about 20 people inside the hostel that night and about 10 more camping outside. There are many, many, many people on the trail. It is kind of surprising when you start setting up camp and see how many people are actually out here because it can feel somewhat remote while on the trail.
We'll try to post more frequently as we're starting to get a little more settled. Hopefully we can upload some pictures soon. Off to bed we go. Hopefully we can actually sleep as there is a guy who snores REALLY loudly.
Hello. We are Robert and Candice Fox. We created this blog for people who want to follow us as we thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. If you don't know what the Appalachian Trail is, we will let our favorite online resources tell you most anything you need to know. Just click on the blue stuff.