Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: On the Road
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