Sunday, March 29, 2009


Today we arrived at Amicalola Falls State Park, GA. From here you can hike up a steep, rugged 8-mile approach trail to the Appalachian Trail trailhead on Springer Mountain. There are other ways to get there, and we are doing one of those. "We" -- Steve is driving me up to a Forest Service road that crosses the Trail about a mile into it; together we'll hike back to the trailhead, and together we'll walk my first mile. Together. Together.... my husband and me.

It's not like this is goodbye for six months. He's going to meet me and bring me food in 4 days, again 3 days later, and one more time before I get out of Georgia. THEN I'm on my own. Till Maryland, when he'll be able to meet me a few more times.

We're here. I'm ready. But I can't go yet.

I've got business to take care of tomorrow: paying the last of my stupid medical bills incurred during the summer: my physical therapy, the oral surgeon, the dentist, the emergency room (that humdinger panic attack.) Running into town for a few last-minute items.

I need to write out the list of post offices where I'll be stopping, and send it to my mother.

I need to wait for my friend Sally, who's doing half this venture with me. She and her son left Winchester, VA today. She's starting her hike with him via the approach trail, which she really wants to do, on Tuesday, spending the night somewhere at the top. And I'm starting from the top on Wednesday. Somewhere Wednesday, we'll catch up to each other.

It often happens that people who've planned to start and stay together, find they develop different goals as their hikes evolve. It's kind of like in a marathon: you start with a friend, then one gets tired and lags behind, or the other feels full of pep and wants to go faster, or one stops in a porta-pot and doesn't want the other to blow her race by waiting for her, and they end up each running their own race. That's the code of the road: Run your own race.

It often happens this way on the Trail. You hike your own hike. So we may stay together, and we may not. Time will tell. It's like the headlights.... you can only see so far ahead.

I LOVED that sermon. It, like many other experiences in that Southern Gospel Lutheran church, changed me life.

Anyway, so I'm hanging around waiting for the next two days to pass. I sewed a new buckle on my tent. I fixed a broken drawstring in my rain pants. I got inspired and made a pair of fleece mittens from scraps I had lying around... traced around my hands, cut them out, and sewed them together. I examined my sleeping bag to see if it might be better for me a foot shorter. Decided against that. Debated sleeping in my tent tonight to assure myself one more time I can hack it below freezing (it's cold here.) Steve talked me out of it. I think he wants me to sleep with him :-)

I'm as buzzed as a bee. I feel like I've had too much caffeine. I took a pill: I don't want one of those cursed panic attacks, like the one that felt like a heart attack and landed me in the hospital. They're not born of anxiety exactly.... they're adrenaline surges gone awry. And I've got plenty of adrenaline going. I do *not* want a friggin' panic attack. So I took a pill.

Many thanks to Fiberjoy for her beautiful story about me on her blog. What a lovely friend. Thank you, Friend Fiberjoy!


Anonymous said...

It makes sense to find your own walking rhythm. Maybe the two of you will have the same pace, it does seem like it'd be nice to have someone familiar on the trail even if it becomes one of those passing each other, fall back/move ahead companions that help the miles to pass.

Flo said...


Like a lot of folks, I've been following along in all your prep. I haven't had anything to add to the conversation so I just read your story and cheered you on. I can not believe it is here already!! I wish you great success (however that translates for you). I hope the trip is everything you imagined it would be. I'll be here, along with others I'm sure, silently cheering you on and waiting for updates. Good luck Ellie!!!

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks for the update about your friend Sally. I remember you mentioning that she may do the AT too awhile ago. The analogy with running a marathon with someone else, or not, makes perfect sense. Either way, I'm sure it will be nice to have a friendly face to look forward to seeing early on.

Steve said...

One more "One more time"
Good Luck Ellie. Enjoy the journey!!!


elizabeth said...

Good luck! I found you through Wanda's blog and will be following your journey. Hiking the AT has been a pipedream for my husband and I for many years and we hope someday to do it, till then we'll live vicariously through trail journals like yours! I wish you many happy miles and no blisters!

Evie in WV said...

A friend posted a link to your blog. I've been catching up and I'm hooked. I'll be following and praying for you to have a wonderful and safe journey.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Evie in WV