Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Amicalola Falls

We made it to the AT starting point yesterday. After a steak dinner complemented by a gorgeous sunset with our friends from Atlanta who kindly drove us up here, we retired to our room for the last bit of prep.
But, as we'll learn many times over in the coming months, the best laid plans will go astray. There was no water in the room. Due to a burst 16 inch main water pipe, the entire lodge was without water and it wasn't going to be fixed until this afternoon.  Rather than start with the hiccup of no water and having to forage along the trail, we decided to stay a second night. It was a great decision. We spent the day hiking some of the side trails and the first part of the approach trail including the 600 step staircase next to Amicalola Falls. 
The day was also a chance to just relax after the hectic past month of packing and getting everything organized for putting our lives on hold while we hike the trail. Tomorrow, we'll start for real, hiking the rest of the approach trail to the official start of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain and will spend our first night in the woods a few miles beyond. It'll be another trial by fire. The forecast calls for 100 percent chance of rain. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Days to Amicalola Lodge

IWe have made it through the packing of our house, leaving our cats in NC, our dog in Kansas, and most of our administrative preparations. We are relaxing in Florida with Muskrat's parents, and we can now count the days on one hand.

The packs are packed, lodge reservations made, and the first quarter of our AWOL Guide is highlighted and footnoted!  We have a short REI list, a drive to Atlanta, and some grocery shopping, and then we begin.

With all the work leading up to stepping foot on the trail, I almost forgot that it was going to be fun. I had a ton of anxiety about leaving our house, and I woke in our RV the morning after we left and told Muskrat we had made a huge mistake, were totally insane, and we needed to call our landlord and move back in.  Instead, we drove to Kansas with our lab Sam, so he could have an extended visit with grandma.

We got to spend some time with my mom, sister, brother-in-law and our nieces and nephew while simultaneously putting bills on autopay and making the necessary administrative changes to live in the woods for 6 months.

Some beach time here in Fort Myers Florida and some detailed seasions with our AWOL guide and suddenly I remembered that we are about to have the most amazing adventure! It's going to be fun! We are going to see places we have only read about, take incredible photos, make new friends, sleep under the stars and enjoy how the world looks at 2 miles per hour!

Even though I'm seeing photos of spring emerging back in DC, and of my friends' lives moving along, I'm feeling a little less attached to the comforts there, and a little more excited about the new experiences ahead.  Good thing too, because 5 days from now, we walk. . . For 2,189.2 miles. . . We walk.

All photos and text copyright 2015, Jennifer Magnuson, All Rights Reserved