The magic date was finally approaching for us. A date we have waited for 3 years for, the same date we have centered every life decision over that time. So why are we terribly nervous about this date? I mean, we just have to put the packs on and hike right? In 7 days, we start our Appalachian Trail thru-hike! The night before we left while at a house party, let's just say I nervously visited the bathroom about 5 times. ONLY 24 hours left until our lives change in the most amazing way.
February 26th, countdown is 1 day. Jon almost made our friend and rock-star Jeremy, turn around after an hour into our drive because he couldn't find the Garmin. Jeremy is driving us from Charleston S.C. to Springer Mountain G.A. So was it just nerves or did Jon almost lose the Garmin? I may never know. Then he couldn't find his phone. The Garmin was in his puffy. The phone in his pocket. Pre-hike jitters!?
Once Jon stopped sabotaging the drive :) we finally got to the lodge. As we signed in at the Amicolola visitors center, we received our hiker tags, #350 Jon and #351 for me. His pack weighed in at 35 lbs, mine 25 lbs. Ha, I guess I win. Forgot to get the passport stamp, at the FIRST damn place. If you are wondering, no, we did not do the approach trail. It only took us 2 months to make the decision. First world problems I guess.
So what do you do when you have all night to sit around and think about what happens in the morning? What it feels like to start such a huge adventure, to finally realize a 3 year old goal? You eat, and eat a lot of food. We walked into the Amicolola lodge restaurant and enjoyed a huge steak dinner thanks to Jim Wilson, my close friend (damn near family) and old boss. Met some other hikers starting tomorrow morning. It is hard to describe, but all night was a very surreal feeling.
We sat around and drank beer and bullshitted with other thru-hikers until almost 11pm. Yes we knew our ride to the northern terminus arrived at 6:45am. But the adrenaline was flowing on high all night. Some of the hikers we would see a lot over the first month. We finally made it back to our room a little after 11pm, then edited our day 0 video to get uploaded before the hike started tomorrow. Holy shit, our hike starts tomorrow!