From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Daystar Debuts

Hey y'all, Macon here.
Up and ready to climb straight up about seven miles and up about 3000 feet. The past few days have been wonderful. After Hiawassee I took an easy six mile day and camped just before the GA/NC border. Monday I planned to head to Standing Indian Mountain campsite but stopped in at a shelter just before and decided to stay. I'd been weary of shelters before then but I'd met some great people, and it's fun to hike alone all day and gather with others in the evenings to share a meal and be social.

Tuesday I was feeling great, the weather was gorgeous - brisk but sunny - and the terrain wasn't too challenging so I did a good 19 mile day to Rock Gap Shelter. The highlight of the day was climbing up Albert Mountain - very steep, using all limbs, an invigorating challenge after so much gradual uphill. At Rock Gap I met a great group of guys that I've been hiking with since - Gribly, Davy Jones, and Pants on Fire (ed. note – all “trail names”)

Gribly named me Daystar - it's from a blessing that talks about how in the night there are many stars but in the day we just have the one day star (the sun). I've been such a hippy-dippy art director out here, constantly pointing out the beautiful light, so Gribs thought Daystar was fitting.

Anyway Wednesday morning we had a great breakfast and slack-packed up to Wayah Bald. Mom met us with homemade sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, snickers, and water. Davy got a fine $4 Malbec at Walmart earlier in the day, and we had a great evening watching the sunset on the tower. We spent the night there which was chilly but so awesome.

I need to move on now but I should get to Fontana Dam in two days and will try to write more - its tedious writing this out on my phone. Had a great time at the NOC, the Nanatahal Outdoor Center ( but it’s almost 9, and the trail is calling me back!

Friday, March 30, 2012

More Wayah Bald

Macon sent some pictures of the tower on top of Wayah Bald.  Take a look at the tower where they spent Wednesday night.
 They had slack-packed up 5,000 feet to the tower and were tired from the incline so they stopped and had a easy night in the tower.
 Bill Bryson talks about the balds in his book, and what an odd occurrence they are, this plaque explains how balds came to be.  Click on the picture to expand its size so you can read the info.
 Getting ready for a return to the trail.
 The view Thursday morning is about what you would expect, and what motivates people to go outdoors and witness this kind of beauty for themselves.
 Macon up and ready to hike some more.
They have had a good couple of days of hiking and stopped at the Nantahala Outdoor Center               in Wesser, N.C., here to do laundry, clean up and get ready for the next leg of the trip. 

They are here on the map.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wayah Bald

Macon and a group of hikers caught the bus into
Franklin, N.C. this morning

Conveniently the bus is operated by a county commissioner
who takes the hikers to his restaurant where they had a scrumptious breakfast,
and on to his hotel if they need a bed and a shower. 

Missy caught up with Macon and her fellow hikers
later and took a group over to the Walmart to resupply. 
Final touches of packing the gear.

Once the resupply was finished she dropped them back at U.S. 64, and they slack packed up to Wayah Bald.

I am awaiting word from Missy that she is on the way back with the stories and accounts of the trek.  Meanwhile enjoy the view.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Made it past the 100 mile mark today!!"

Macon texted her mother that she'd made it past the 100 mile mark today, her 7th day on the trail.  Missy will meet Macon in Franklin, NC around 11 am tomorrow for a re-supply.  Macon has requested bagels, avocados, cheese, a Benadryl bug bite stick, and the Jet Boil.  Up 'til now, she's had no hot food on the trail.  With the Jet Boil, she can make tea, oatmeal, couscous, Ramen noodles, and hot chocolate.  More news to come after their meeting tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Leaving Georgia, On Her Mind

Last night Macon spent her last night in Georgia on this hike.  She had left her mother Sunday morning from Hiawassee heading north.  They will meet again mid-day Wednesday just west of Franklin, N.C.  to bring shoe insoles, a JetBoil, assorted packages of oatmeal, noodles, hard-boiled eggs, more apples and other produce.  Macon texted her mother that she had had a good day and had hiked with a woman from a town at the base of the Cumberland Plateau where her alma mater, Sewanee sits, the town of Winchester, TN.  They will hike together until Missy meets them Wednesday.

Macon loves music and is proud of her adopted state Georgia.  She is convinced that no other state can boast the lineup of artists like Georgia has produced: Johnny Mercer, James Brown, Ray Stevens, Gladys Knight, The Allman Brothers, Otis Redding, Travis Tritt, Ludacris, Outkast, R.E.M., Ray Charles, B-52's, Widespread Panic, Trisha Yearwood, Brenda Lee, Little Richard, and that isn't including the classical stars.  One of the things on Macon's bucket list was to visit the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia but the museum closed last year.  Right now that trip will have to wait, but I am sure she will get there.

Macon will post another update on Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 days, 66 miles down

Howdy y'all! Macon here, so fresh & so clean, and comfy cozy am I here in Hiawassee. It's been quite an adventure, but as I realized yesterday at mile 15 in the down pouring rain with a smile, it is an adventure that I am seeking. Let me summarize the past few days:

Tuesday we drove over, Zeke the basset hound in tow (but don't tell Cole we let him ride in her Suburu) and met up with Monica & her dad. We quickly divvied up the food and set out for Springer Mountain. After the last goodbyes & photos, we officially began our hike. Luckily it was a gorgeous day and we completed nine miles, even after a late 3pm start. We set up camp on a mountain between Hightower Gap & Horse Gap. So far so good! Tents erected properly, bear bag hung, peanut butter nutella beef jerky sandwiches for dinner.. we were rocking!

Wednesday we rose with the sun and packed up pretty efficiently if you ask me. We hiked up and down mountains - it felt like the real hiking had begun. When we came to a stream we soaked our feet and met some other guys hiking. One guy kept talking about washing his hair so Monica & I named him Shampoo, although I'm not sure if that stuck.. After making it down to Woody Gap & intentions to hike another 5 miles to Jarrord Gap, Monica mentioned her knee was bothering her and put on a brace. After the steep one mile climb up Big Cedar Mountain (with an amazing view!) Monica came to the devastating realization that she could not go any further with her knee. She called her dad and made arrangements for him to pick her up in the morning. Luckily, we were only one mile from a major road.

Thursday morning I said a sad farewell to Monica and pushed onward, as I had a good ten miles to get to Neels Gap, out of bear country. Apparently, it is illegal to camp with out a bear canister in certain sections. I'm pretty terrified of bears as is, so if any spots require a special canister, I'm fine to pass on through. After a misty hike over Blood Mountain, which was amazing & gorgeous, I made it down to Neels around 2pm. I quickly devoured two hot dogs & a Coca Cola and let one of the staff members inspect my bag to see if he could help lighten my load. I was both pleased & annoyed with the results - pleased because he confirmed that I was pretty well packed and annoyed that it had taken so much time. He informed me that unless I was willing to hike another 8 miles or so, I would be back in bear country and would be best off camping out back of the outfitters. I made a small stink about it - I like hiking until dusk, but agreed that I did not want the bears to eat my food (or me!). Staying at Neels ended up being really fun. A group from the University of Maryland Outing Club camped near me as did a few other hikers. Many hikers opted to stay in the hostel, which cost $15 and included dinner & breakfast. Pirate, the old hiker who ran the hostel, invited me to have dinner with them since they had too much, which was a nice treat. After dinner, the guys who brought a guitar & ukulele jammed out with the guy who brought his wooden pipe/flute device - quite an interesting jam session. I made it back to the campsite pretty early but didn't sleep well due to the loud rain all night.

Friday I got up and headed out early - I wanted to make up for the past two short ten mile days so I could still meet Mom in Hiawassee on Saturday. I met up with a group of guys and we trudged up Wildcat Mountain and had lunch in the fog & mist at the summit. Most of the people I'd met at Neels stopped at Low Gap for the night around 3pm. I stopped for water and met a really nice Boy Scout group from Birmingham who offered me some of their filtered water and I told them about my thru-hiking plans.  Despite the temptation to call it a day after ten miles, I continued onwards. I'd heard the next five miles were easy and I wanted to get as close to Unicoi Gap as I could. The heavens split open around 4 and I just started laughing and thought, this is the adventure I came here for! and happily skipped along in my soaking wet gear. I was headed for Blue Mountain Shelter but met a nice guy from Atlanta who was camping out with some buddies for a guys weekend and they invited me to share the campsite. I impressed myself and also an older couple camping nearby with how quickly I set up my tent in the pouring rain. The older guy, Trogg, helped me tie my bear bag with theirs, as there weren't too many limb options around. The rain let up & I changed into my one set of dry long underwear and fell sound asleep.

Around 5am this morning, another heavy storm rolled in and the loud rain, thunder & lightening woke me up. Thank goodness it did, because the winds knocked one corner of my tent off the stake and it collapsed on me, with rain pouring outside. I found my headlight and pair of crocs and got out to fix my tent. Despite my efforts to fall back asleep, I decided to get up, only to be faced with the cruel reality that I had to put my cold wet hiking clothes back on. I packed up and hiked about three miles down to Unicoi Gap where there is a small parking lot. Mom drove over with a small daypack for me and trail magic for other hikers. She let people dump trash in a trash bag, and offered water, apples, snickers, and rides into town. I took the necessities & enough food & water for the day, and set out to cover 16 more miles to Dick's Creek Gap, which is where many people hitch hike into Hiawassee - the first real "resupply" town. Today was a challenge, I must admit. Two long mile days back to back haven't been good on my feet & joints, but I feel strong and the good kind of exhausted when you know you've worked hard. It feels a little weird and unworthy this early on to be staying in a hotel all clean with Mom, but I am not at a point to turn down any luxury.

Overall, I can honestly say that I LOVE being on the trail. I took a workshop from the AT guru, Warren Doyle, last May and he said if that after the first week you are smiling and thinking, "this isn't as bad as I thought" then you are on the right track - and I'm happy to say I think I'm on the right track. I love the community that I've met and am excited to get to know them better. I love the long stretches of hiking alone where I sing to myself (some top hits from my playlist: "she's got it, yeah baby she's got it" - when I'm marching right along, "way down yonder on the Chattahoochee" - since although I'm on the AT, I'm in the Chattahoochee National Forest). I also love meditating while hiking, where I challenge myself for small spurts of time to not let a thought enter my head, and to just be totally present. I love moving through the mountains and looking out over the stunning vistas. I love breathing in the fresh, fresh air. I love that my daily schedule revolves around sunlight and water sources. I also really love being active all day. I definitely have some refining to do in my hiking style, but so far, I'm happy to say that I'm off to a really great start! Thanks for reading!

Weekend Update

Missy will be heading to Unicoi Gap on GA 75 early this morning.  Her mission is to bring supplies, take home unneeded gear, let Macon "slack pack" to Hiawasee, GA.  Once they meet up this afternoon they will get a motel room, do laundry, go out to dinner, and spend the night.  Sunday Macon will head out for the two week trek to Gatlinburg where we will meet her again, possibly with siblings for some day hikes over Easter weekend. 
Macon and her mother have text messaged some since Monica left the trail.  She found an outfitter store near Hog Pen gap, where she bought a hiking stick and a backpack cover, and spent the first night alone in the campground there waiting out a thunderstorm along with an outdoor club from University of Maryland.  She has hiked with an older couple, a Boy Scout troop from Birmingham, and a bachelor party from Atlanta, all in the rain during the past few days. 
Missy is taking Macon's laptop so she can write a post herself if she is up for it, or Missy can ghost write the piece.  Either way more info will be posted sometime Sunday afternoon.  Stay tuned!


Missy and Macon have connected.  There was a pretty large group that was with Macon but they are probably stopping before Hiawasee so Macon is the only one "slack packing."  Missy gave Macon some dry clothes and a day pack with a sandwich, grapes, apples, and some water to get her the next pick up.

Update 2:

Macon wanted a scenic view while she enjoyed her luncheon and look what she found.   Always being one to share the little things in life, she emailed this picture.  Missy has shuttled a group of hikers from the pickup point on US 76 south east of Hiawasee back to town.  She has been giving out "trail magic" to hikers crossing the highway.  I think Missy's trail name should be JoMamma, but that's just me.  What a gorgeous day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You can't teach an old knee injury new tricks

Last night Monica's knee was swollen and causing her severe pain, and the wise decision was made for Monica to call her dad and get medical attention.  The girls had hiked some seven miles Tuesday, spent the night and hiked another twelve or so on Wednesday.  

Guys have football injuries that everyone nods knowingly and sympathetically when the pain returns. For Monica this seems to be an old ballet injury.  Monica's dad picked her up this morning near Woody Gap and is taking her to the doctor in Savannah later in the week.
Macon is okay, a little rattled that her dear friend had to retire from the hike so suddenly but is pressing on knowing she will find hiking partners along the trail, but still worried about Monica's knee.  We will meet her this weekend in Hiawassee where the Trail crosses Route 76, get her restocked and ready for the hike to Gatlinburg, TN for Easter weekend. 

We will update as we get more info, and hopefully Monica will feel up to posting later this week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Setting Forth From Springer Mountain

Yesterday under partly cloudy skies, low humidity, and mid-seventies heat, the trekkers left on the big walk.  We met in Dawsonville, and on the way, both dads independently told the girls about the NASCAR great Bill Elliot who is from Dawsonville; yes the same "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville."  After some debate about using Google or Warren's directions to get to the top of Springer Mountain from downtown Dawsonville, we went with Google and set out.  The roads were well marked, and the directions much easier in person than on the paper.  The Forestry Service roads were in fantastic condition and nowhere near what I had expected-- deep ruts with overloaded log trucks straining down the mountain meeting us in the middle of the hairpin turns.  There are signs guiding you into the parking lot so there we went.  It is .9 of a mile hike to the top to the first blaze.  After some discussion about food distribution between the packs, they weighed their packs, both coming in at 32 pounds.  That is considered a little heavy for women but we decided that the food consumption will lighten the packs as they travel the next four nights. 

On a side note, here is Eddie Vedder singing from the soundtrack to "Into the Wild"

Missy and I love Jon Krakauer's books, one of which was made into a movie "Into the Wild"  which is about a young man who leaves after his college graduation to see the west and ends up dying in Alaska.  Sean Penn bought the movie rights after reading the book and made it into a movie, and I must say he did a great job.  Many of the scenes are just breathtakingly beautiful, and some are very poignant.  Macon and Monica saw this movie when it first came out in NYC a few years ago and sobbed during the end of the movie while my sons, who saw it years later, couldn't figure out how somebody could die of starvation in the summer in Alaska.  They join many Alaskans in their thinking.  Anyway, with that history duly noted, I thought a little Eddie Vedder singing "Setting Forth" seemed appropriate.

The girls have their tents, their sleeping bags, first aid kits, change of clothes, food, water, and bear bag with rope.  They should be fine to get started.  They will be out on the trail for four nights, and we will drive over to Hiawassee, Georgia to meet them where the trail crosses the highway.  We're planning to take fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, a set of hiking poles, pepper spray, and a cooler full of "trail magic" to share with other hikers we encounter.

Macon told me that Warren, the AT guru, had emailed her that over one hundred North Bounders started out this past Sunday.  We saw a half dozen or so just on Tuesday, and most of them were girls so they will have plenty of female company on the trail it seems.

Finally, the hike to the top of Springer Mountain is worth it.  The view is stunning, enough haze to remind you where you are, but enough vista to see what you are getting into as you commence the hike.  They signed in with their legal names and are waiting for the bestowing of their "trail names."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Savannah to South Korea to Springer Mountain and (hopefully) Back...

Hi all! Monica Phillips here, of one time, short lived MoniKorea and Her Wandering Roots fame. Looks like the big day is just about upon us. And boy, can I say... holy moley I'm nervous. Not nervous, want to back out nervous, just good ol' fashioned butterflies in my tummy nervous. Actually, I am as good as stoked. My bag is packed, the tent is ready and I just laced up my boots with new hot pink shoe strings. It seems the stars are aligning for our hike to commence. One could really go as far as to say that the stars, the moons, and all eight (nine if you include Pluto) planets aligned for this entire trip to take place. Getting a little too astronomical for you? Well, let me explain by quickly taking a few steps back to fill you in on the road that led me here...

As my loyal blog fans know (that's you, Mom and Dad), this Savannah girl made a home in South Korea last year. I was in New York City with Macon for three years prior to that, but found myself really needing a change and a year in the Far East seemed like just what the doctor ordered. At first I wasn't quite sure why I was leaving the people and places I loved to live abroad, but it seemed like the thing to do, so I just went with it.

I was teaching English at a school outside of Seoul and just two months into my new life overseas, my co-teachers and I found ourselves with a little time off from work for the Christmas holidays. What's a twenty-something to do with a chunk of free time whilst living in Asia? Book the first flight to Thailand of course! And good gosh, what a visit it was. Looking back, I sort of mark that time in my life as when I officially came down with the incurable, life-altering, Travel Fever. I knew from the moment that plane touched down in Phuket's tiny, filthy podunk airport when everyone else was shaking their heads wondering aloud, "what on Earth have we gotten ourselves into" I was jumping up and down, high-fiving myself, ready to load 'em on up and move 'em on out on the first tuk-tuk I could flag down in the dark. When I got back to Korea after that blissful week in the Land of Smiles, I figured out why I had left New York and all my best friends and my truly outstanding family. Ah ha! I needed to travel. I mean, I really needed to travel. I needed to travel like a bear needs to eat. So, I spent the rest of my year in Korea squirreling away as much money as I could, like said bear preparing for winter, to spend as much time post-one year Korean contract to... Yep! You guessed it! Travel, travel, travel. And travel I did.

I made my way to Japan in August to volunteer with a disaster relief crew after the earthquakes and tsunami that put such a hurtin' on the coast of that beautiful country. I hit Vietnam to party, be social, and trade off-color jokes with a slew of other backpackers from all four corners of the world. I stopped in Cambodia to spend some time with orphans in rural Takeo. I then rounded the whole experience off with a month in India practicing yoga and trying to decide where to go and what to do next. That's when my very best friend Macon "She of All Mighty Details" York contacted me to let me in on her plan to do a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. Now Macon has come at me with some pretty wackadoodle plans before but, let me tell you... this wasn't one of them. I was on board immediately.

It was just the right time and I was in just the right place to make it happen. Unfortunately with all that traveling and volunteering (and partying) my stash of nuts that had been squirrelled away was so low, I could barley make a peanut butter sandwich. So while Macon has made plans to do the epic though hike that every outdoor/ travel/ adventure junkie dreams of, I will only be able to stay out for a little bit more than a month. Again--- a bear's gotta eat, so this cub has to go join the circus.

It's obvious that my situation honestly did come together quite magically, but what is even more magical is how lucky I am to be accompanying someone as organized and as committed to making our time on the AT what it should be, as Macon. Macon has busted her hiney making doubly sure that everything we need to survive has been purchased and packed. She knows the routes, the weather, and the whereabouts of the all important "difficult" portions of the trail. (I put difficult in parenthesis because the person who graded the trail as easy to difficult has successfully hiked the AT 17 times. That's right, SEVENTEEN times. I'm just going to go out a limb here and guess that his "difficult" and my "difficult" are a bit different.)

Macon is more prepared than I would ever be if I were spear-heading this trip on my own. The proof in that pudding would be that I left Korea to spend 6 weeks in Southeast Asia with little more than a few summer dresses, my trusty 9 year-old flip flops, and the address to a hostel in Hanoi. That sort of fly by the seat of your pants, "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it" attitude works just fine when you've got time and money and the promise of sunshine and coconut cocktails for days. This trip is on a different track, if you will. This is the sort of adventure that if you just show up unprepared, determined to make it on smiles and karma points, your fate will most likely fall to that of a mountain lion or a bad lightening storm.

So to say that I'm a bit nervous with a hint of excitement fueled butterflies on the side is all thanks to Macon and her wonderful family for pulling the logistics of this adventure together. I feel blessed and grateful that I found myself in just the right place at just the right time to take advantage of it. I know Macon and I will come away with different experiences, it being she's committing to the trail for a much longer amount of time than I am able. Regardless of this, I am confident that we will both feel equally changed. And in my book, that's what it's all about. So let's all take a moment to raise our Nalgenes of chemically purified mountain spring water, shall we, and toast Macon and her never ending quest for more information, her attention to detail, and her incredibly supportive parents, without whom I may never have been given the chance to be given a trail name...

See you on the other side!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Trail of Two Tales

This is a post from my cranky conservative blog, "Howlings From Georgia," that I wrote after reading two wonderful books about hikes on the Appalachian Trail.

My oldest daughter has announced on her blog her intention to hike the Appalachian Trail this spring and summer.  Being as obsessive as we are compulsive, Missy and I began reading about hikes on the AT.  We read "Becoming Odyssa" by a young lady named Jennifer Pharr Davis who not only completed the trail but went back two more times setting the women’s speed record and then the overall speed record.  Her book was a fascinating read. My daughter has met Jenn, and I read the book she had autographed for our younger daughter.  I then dove into another account of the trail called “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson.  This was about one hundred ten degree different from Jenn’s account.  I loved both books for different reasons. 

Jenn’s story was of a young girl becoming strong and finding her calling.  Her voice isn’t fully developed but the story is enthralling nevertheless.  Bryson’s account is told by a very experienced writer and story-teller with all the polish you would expect of somebody who knows his craft.  Bryson’s story is spit-out-your-drink-funny as you read, I mean this guy is bust-your-gut-funny at times.  But Bryson has the jaded quality that comes with age, and that contrasted with Jenn’s total embrace of the experience.  I identified with Bryson in so many ways, and I yearned for Jenn’s unbridled enthusiasm.  Both of these books spoke to me in very different ways.
The fascinating thing is that, in two completely different accounts of the trail, common themes emerge.  The trail is hard; it is arduous because it is drudgery interrupted by breathtaking moments.  The trail is communal, that is to say everyone undergoing this crucible becomes part of a family and culture.   This encompasses the “trail magic” and the support by the people in the towns along the trail; the common experience binds all the hikers.  The trail changes you.  You are different when you come off the trail.  You get really dirty and stinky, and both writers don’t try to sugar coat that fact.  So both writers wrote about how important time off the trail was to recharge and reload themselves for the next push on the trail.
Bryson tells history and background as a veteran writer can do, but Jenn shares the spiritual growth she experienced on the trail.  I recommend both stories, especially because they are two very different experiences of the same trail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

6 days to go!

Hey y'all - Macon here! Sitting on the back deck at my parent's place in Chattanooga, drinking a cold beer, and enjoying the warm weather. A week and a half ago, I packed my bags and said goodbye to New York City. I spent four and a half years living and working, chasing and achieving my dream of being a magazine designer. A new chapter awaits me in Savannah, Georgia, where I will relocate in August to launch my letterpress & design studio. In the meantime, I'm setting out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, beginning at Sprinter Mountain, Georgia, and ending on Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

During my trek, I will carry everything I need on my back in a pack - a very specific list of items that I continue to whittle down. I plan on camping out most nights in my tent with a sleeping bag & ground mat. Shelters are available every ten miles or so (I think) but from what I've heard, they are crowded with stinky hikers, mice, and weekend partiers. I'm looking forward to waking up with the sun and spending my days moving north through the Appalachian Mountains. I will be eating granola bars, bagels, peanut butter, dried fruit, and Snickers bars. Small towns dot the path and usually you only go 5 days or so between resupply opportunities. In town, you can also load up on hot meals and/or perishable food (like ice-cream!), toiletries, and camping gear. Water will come from streams and springs, and I will treat anything questionable or downhill from livestock with Aquamira. I'm not excited about drinking chemicals, but from the research I've done, it's the least harmful and most reliable (filters break and clog, and add extra weight). To all the concerned New Yorkers that frightfully asked, "But what will you do about coffee??!! Are you taking a French Press??" my answer is that I've spent the past week weaning myself off coffee and am drinking plenty of  green tea. It's not the same, but no, I'm not taking a French press with me. I'm still debating taking a Jetboil stove for morning tea to get me going & hot chocolate in the evenings.

Anyway, that's it for now - just wanted to say hello and provide some information based on the most common questions I get. Below is a picture of my "dress rehearsal" with my gear - I hiked the Perimeter Trail around Sewanee with my sister last weekend. It was a lot of fun and I feel much more confident & ready to get started on March 20!

The Countdown To Hike the Appachian Trail Began Years Ago

Monica & Macon a few years ago
My daughter Macon and her friend Monica will depart Springer Mountain Georgia around noon on March 20 to attempt a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail.  This walk encompasses 14 states, and some random 2175 miles.  Macon decided she wanted to do this while she attended Kanuga Camp Trailblazers when she hiked on the Appalachian Trail at the age of 16.  The dream has come and gone over the years, then she found a book, Becoming Odyssa by a young woman named Jennifer Pharr Davis who completed the trek, returned a few years later setting a women's speed record, and this last summer completed the trail in a record 46 and a half days.  Macon is planning on four months or so to hike the trail. 

This blog is an offering for those of you who want to follow Macon's exploits.  On the first leg, she and Monica will cover the first third, and if Monica finds gainful employment she will return to the world outside the trail.  Macon's sister will join her in Virginia and walk to New York and beyond if time allows as she has to start her job as a camp counselor in mid-June.  Finally, for the most arduous final third leg, her brother Billy will join her, providing he passes the interview later this week.

Missy and I will go with Macon for the drop off, not for sentimental reasons but to make sure Missy doesn't get lost on the return leg.  The added bonus is that I can take some pictures of Macon and Monica as they depart, you know the "before" pictures.

Since Macon is a little obsessive, kinda like mom, she has lists upon lists.  She has attended a work shop in Johnson City, Tennessee put on by Warren Doyle who has hiked the trail some sixteen times.  She has analyzed equipment, done extensive reading, and is now hiking the perimeter trail around Sewanee atop Mounteagle, Tennessee.   I am confident she is as prepared as she can be, and most importantly, she has a great attitude toward the adventure.

Both of these girls are great writers and have wonderful blogs that I have linked on this one.  Take a minute and look around them as they are wonderfully written and pleasing to the eye.  Missy will clean up the grammar when she can.  Both girls, and later other hikers, will add posts to the blog and with any luck at all it should prove to be an interesting travelogue.

Stay tuned!