AT Happiness: My First Down Day

AT Happiness: My First Down Day


For a lot of years I suffered mood swings and depression.  In recent years I’ve learned how to deal with these better, learned to identify the triggers that would tank my mood. One of my biggest triggers is lack of sleep, being tired just allows other triggers to get a stronger foothold.

So a mountain short of Blue Mountain I tweaked my knee on a rocky downhill.  Two downhillls later my knee was unhappy as I entered Helen.  The night before I slept in a shelter for the first time and got hardly any sleep and beat up my body even more.  Tack in saying goodbye to a great hiking friend, Backtrack, and little sun over the last few days and my mood fell in the well.

I found myself pretty depressed yesterday sitting in the faux Alpine village of Helen, GA.  I knew I needed to do something so I planned a zero day now in Helen instead of 2 days later in Hiawassee.  Walking in the rain today would not have helped.

So I slept and napped, I iced my knee and bought a knee brace.  I ate well, I had a milkshake, I’m feeling better tonight, will sleep in a little and hit the trail in the late morning tomorrow.   Grey tomorrow, rain, but the sun is coming and I move forward toward completing my first state and entering North Carolina.


At no point in the last two days did I consider stopping, I’m enjoying this, I want this, I know why I’m out here and I still believe in what I’m doing. There will be days like these, as the Bus Question said to me in a comment, these will make the better days that much better.


I’m still learning how to do this, Georgia on the Appalachian Trail is the preseason, things get real once we head up the NC/TN border and into the Smokies. Let’s get it on and have some happy days my friends.  –Rev Kane

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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6 Responses to AT Happiness: My First Down Day

  1. Bus Question says:

    I loved the smiling picture at the end! Makes me think of the old saying: “This too shall pass.” Just keep chugging along, and definitely give yourself liberty to use zeros as needed, as you did. It’s your hike.

    Good luck getting on to State #2.


  2. James edgeworth says:


    Be strong, you can do this. When you finish this you will look back at these down days and be amazed and proud that you did this. Good luck.

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