Days 0 and 1

Well, pretty much the usual procrastination nonsense on my part.  I DID have a lot to do this week, but still.  I’d wanted to get a fair deal more done on making meals and trail mix the night before, but I guess I passed out from drinking 2 glasses of wine…or maybe the water (a 24 pack of 8 oz bottles I POUNDED throughout the day that I was planning to use for oil bottles).  This led to me scooping stuff (measuring? pshaw) into baggies from 8-5:20 pretty much straight and frantically throwing things into boxes.  I left a half hour late for the airport, and a lot unfinished.  Just so happy to finally be done with that- whatever I did, that’s it.  Hopefully it’s enough.  But it’s great now!  I don’t have to worry about so much except walking!

The car ride to the airport takes longer because of traffic but it’s fine- I know I’ll get through quickly and I do.  I’m feeling more of a feeling of optimism, things can’t phase me.  Hey!  Awesome free hummus and olives in airport lounge!  I get carded because the woman at the bar thinks I’m 20 rather than 34!  Plane’s late, no problem.  I roll into the hotel (gotten for 5,000 IHG points, it was on reduced points breaks rate) around 1:30 am, take a shower and relax until 2.  2:30, I’m still not asleep.  I toss and turn until at least 3, and basically the rest of the night.  Each time I have a vague sensation that too much time has gone by.  Finally I check and it’s 1.5 hrs after I planned to get up.  I make coffee and have a little trail mix, and head to the MARTA station, which thankfully is right across from the hotel.  It’s $3 to go to the North Springs station.  The train is delayed a few times but I really don’t care.

Once at MARTA North Springs I see three other hikers but they all have shuttles that are $60-85.  Uh, no.  As I’d been advised it looks like a pain to hitchhike from there so it’s time for plan B- Uber.  After $22 signup discount and 10% cashback from Discover it’s $40 to get a ride in 5 minutes all the way to the trailhead at Springer mountain, including the last 10 miles on a compact dirt road (this takes about 45 minutes of the drive time).  My driver gives me his personal business card which is in the form of a fake trillion dollar bill (a la the current US budget deficit) complete with multiple forms of contact info- including a QR code.  He wears a suit when he drives “just in case”; today’s specimen was a mismatched orange and beige plaid combo- classy.  Actually though we had a nice conversation about politics, and most importantly, he was totally game to drive almost two hours to the Appalachian trail from the Atlanta suburbs.

When I get there a guy named Mountain Squid was signing people in.  Apparently already 30 people had started out that day before noon, though around half were section hikers.  I started my way up the 1 mile “backwards” to Springer.  A half mile in I can’t stand it anymore and sprint off trail to pee.  Got a rip in the Frogg Toggs rainsuit already, and I hadn’t officially started yet!  Oh well.  At the top it was grey and foggy, didn’t feel like a mountain at all.  There was a drawer in the rock on the right side, reminded me of that key slot in the Hallmark version of The Secret Garden (who’s with me?  Right?)

It was raining bits of the trail after, feeling good though. Not so much nasties on the trail but then the rain started to pick up.  Got to Stover Creek shelter which is a beaut, couple guys and I decided to keep this nice one and avoid the predicted downpour.  Rain came down hard but eventually let up completely.  The sun came out and reflected on water droplets like icicles.

Miles hiked: 3.8


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