Are you ready to embark with us on our Appalachian Trail adventure? You better be…because here it goes with:
Day 1 – March 21, 2020, A Story of Our AT Thru-Hike!
Total chaos. We woke up at 4:00 a.m. to get our packs configured, prepare 3 weeks worth of food to carry on our backs, and travel up to Suches, GA in our newly built campervan with our friend and J Bird’s dad. It was the day we had scheduled to depart for the Appalachian Trail and we were far from being ready…
The day before we left, J Bird was sitting on our living room floor crying because we couldn’t find a second tenant to move into our home and without having the cost of our monthly mortgage fees covered, hiking across the country without a job for 6 months was simply not going to be a possibility. At the moment when we thought all hope was lost, we received a message from someone needing to move to St. Petersburg ASAP. We couldn’t believe it. Our problem was solved.
So when we were finally able to leave the house to be on our way, J Bird took the laptop into the van and got right to work. We had a nine hour drive up to the trail head and we had much to accomplish in this time. J Bird began writing up a contract, while Baby Bear made reference calls from the drivers seat. We ran a background check and credit check as well, hoping that everything would come back OK, as we knew that this was likely going to be our only option. It was a risk accepting a tenant who we never met before, but we couldn’t have been more grateful.
We reached the Amicalola Falls State Park around 4:00 p.m. and started hiking the 8.8 mile Approach Trail (leading to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail) with our friend and J Bird’s dad, who came to hike with us for a bit to see us off. We climbed 604 stair steps, overlooking Amicalola Falls. The falls were amazing and though our packs felt heavy, we were overwhelmed with excitement to be starting the journey we had been anticipating for so many years.
We hiked just 4.5 miles before setting up camp. The weather had been so beautiful, sunny, and warm, but as the sun descended beneath the trees, the pleasant breeze picked up and quickly became icy and cold. We made a campfire to provide our Floridian bodies with a little relief from the cold. We opened up our brand new tent, wondering why it felt so light to carry. We knew it was an ultralight backpacking tent, but it seemed a little too light… Why did we not set it up prior to departing for a 6 month hike? Because it had only arrived in the mail the day before we left and there just wasn’t enough time for everything we needed to do. We figured, “What the heck, it will probably be fine.” Amateur moment. It turns out it was a trekking pole tent that required the use of trekking poles…which we did not have. For the night, the four of us snuggled into the three-person tent that J Bird’s dad brought (not the best way to social distance during COVID-19, but a great way to stay toasty and warm). Right off the bat, we learned to live for the moment and not worry about the tent situation until the next day. 

As we lay restless on our new ground mats, sandwiched between one another, so many thoughts raced through our minds. We had been anticipating this moment for a long 4.5 years and it was finally here.

Hello to the very first page of the new chapter of our lives.