Almost one week ago I started my second thru hike. Almost one year ago today I began my first on the Pacific Crest Trail. I was introduced to a world that really and truly changed me. In a sense, returning to the trail albeit a far different trail felt so much like returning home. Winter seemed to slide by for the most part. I found myself returning to the same old habits I’d worked so hard the previous summer to cut back on or cut out. Needless to say, I began at mile 0.0 completely and utterly out of shape. The only real tools I seemed to have were some muscle memory and the mental preparedness for what I was about to endure. The trail brought me back and true to form I had some beautiful foreshadowing of the characteristics of trail life.
The trail breathes giving, gratitude and…well…magic. Three days prior to my start I was picked up by a car at the greyhound station in Atlanta and taken to Suwanee Georgia where I was spoiled rotten by people I had only met briefly during my winter job in Alta, UT. The Thompsons and their friends and family helped me prepare, fed me, pampered me and made sure I was happy, charged and filled with goodness. Their kindness and selfless giving reminded me of all that I gave and received on the PCT. It was a good thing to put in my mental pack. I felt grateful and undeserving and so ready to start walking.
The night before I was to leave I felt nervous and scared. In the pit of my stomach I almost felt lost and questioned myself over and over as I laid in a bed that was not my own. Just as the doubt was sinking in my phone rang. It was a friend I’d made on the PCT. I hiked with her on and off. I could barely keep up with her clip out there in the Sierra. But she was a beautiful person. everytime I’d see her I felt inspired to push. I knew she was also beginning the AT, but was unsure when. I suppose I figured we’d catch each other out there in the green void…somewhere.
Her phone call was to the point. “Kimchi? It’s storybook. Where are you? When are you starting?” I answered the following day to which she asked again where I was and basically informed me that she would be picking me up and we could start together. She’s not a demanding or direct person so I was surprised by her candid forward ness and took it as a sign that I should agree. I tried to sleep my last sleep in a comfortable bed and prepare myself for seeing A)Seeing Storybook again and B)knowing I’d have to try to keep up with her while I C) hiked another long trail. I finally drifted off, letting myself relax and take in all of the good fortune, the beginning of the magic.
We started together one week ago at Springer Mountain ( the southern terminus) in Georgia. My pack felt heavy with my whole life inside of it …the weight alone of five days of food was a burden in and of itself. The knowledge that I would be pushing my body to the brink everyday was building anxiety with each step. We signed the register and with unsure legs I just began moving, one foot in front of the other as the realization set in that for the next 5 months I would be walking everyday for roughly 10 hours a day.
The weather was beautiful. The Chatahoochie Forest smelled beautiful. I followed Storybook’s happily bouncing backpack into the trees, onto the trail and into Georgia.
I’m now 109.6 miles in and I really have to fully update you on this week but I’m exhausted. (I hiked a 20 mile day and hitch hiked into Franklin NC to resupply). I just wanted to give you something .
I’ll try to get up early before we leave to at least update the week. I miss and love you all and apologize for the crappy writing. I’m just so tired. This trail is way harder. Xoxo