Highest mile day yet!

Passed mile 420 today, on 4/20, pretty close to 4:20pm so we celebrated in proper 4-20 fashion and continued on. Today was a 24 mile day in the rain – the longest mileage day yet! The hostel we arrived at was full because of bad weather, but found another place near Hampton, Tennessee 🙂

All good here! Too many stories, laughs, miles, views to choose what to share – the trail is abundant in all the important ways.

Hello from mile 288

Just left Hot Springs and spending tonight at a campsite. This journey continues to be amazing and I am enjoying the challenges and highlights of each day!

Today was the first time I actually listened to music while hiking. I have been enjoying hiking to the sounds of nature a lot!

Mile 136.7 – NOC!

Made it to the Nantahala Outdoor Center yesterday! My tramily booked a cabin to stay in last night and I camped down by the river with another hiker Duck Hole and some of his tramily. Duck Hole is a flip flop hiker, meaning he hiked about 1700 miles of the north end of the trail last year and is now finishing up the southern part of the trail. Duck Hole’s tramily from the initial half of his hike drove to meet us yesterday and help us do a cheaper resupply at Ingles than the expensive general store at the NOC 🙂

Here we were also able to print our Smokey Mountain National parks passes, get some awesome food, and we even got beer trail magic while we were sitting down by the river yesterday!

Last night was the warmest so far, around 48 degrees; being at lower elevation definitely makes it warmer. We have continued to be super lucky with the weather!

We are making awesome time, so are probably only doing 6 miles up Jacob’s ladder today and camping up there to enjoy the views!

Physically, I’m doing pretty well aside from a few blisters that I’m working on healing.

I’m loving this new lifestyle!

– Rocket

Resupply in Hiawassee!

We’re at mile 62 (I think) and doing great! We hiked 7 miles this morning and got a ride into town about 12 miles down the road, but not before we were surprised with amazing trail magic!! A former 2003 thru-hiker named Switchback and his family grilled cheeseburgers, hotdogs and had a whole spread of snacks! People like this make the trail community an amazing thing to be part of!

In town we resupplied at Ingles, got LOTS of food and some beer at a local pub, did laundry, hung out with other thru-hikers, then got Dairy Queen 🙂 I went to DQ in my rain clothes while all the rest of my clothes were drying. We’re headed to an all you can eat hiker breakfast tomorrow then back into the mountains. We eat A LOT. Shooting for a 9 mile day tomorrow to cross the GA/NC border!

Aside from some blisters and a few aches here and there, everyone is doing great!

We have seriously lucked out on the weather this first week! Rain is in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday, but looking good again after that. So far, I can genuinely say everyone I have met out here is insanely happy and having the time of their lives! Let’s see if the rain changes that…

I’m realizing these posts are very scatter brained but there’s so much to say, so little phone battery, so little service, and so much to do! Sorry no pictures this time – taking forever to upload!

A reminder to myself…

Taking advantage of the signal. Just finished up a 14 mile day! We hit the 50 mile mark! Amazing day – not too many climbs until a killer one at the end to our campsite. Hiking with Steve, Anna, Cody and Andrew (Prometheus). Here’s a reminder I wrote to myself the morning I started the trail:

Sydney (Rocket) –

Today you start your AT thru-hike.

Be strong.

Be vulnerable.

Be patient.

Be purposeful.

Listen to your body and your mind will be your biggest obstacle.

See you in Maine.

⁃ Sydney (Rocket)

^view from Blood Mountain, just south of Neel’s Gap.

Alive and so so well!

Hi! Just posting to let you know I’m alive and having a blast! A ton has happened! I ended up starting a day early (on Sunday) and made it to mile 38 today! I have a sweet camp spot with 4 others I have been hiking with. Lots else, but to name a few exciting things, I had my first resupply at Neel’s Gap, have a trail family (tramily), have met a ton of awesome people, got a gnarly blister, lots of amazing views, moons, and stars, got some trail magic, hiked early morning before sunrise, hiked during sunrise, saw sunsets, and most excitingly I got my trail name courtesy of Steve and Anna! I now go by Rocket!

Lots more pictures and updates to come when I have more time, but for now here’s a view from yesterday morning shortly after sunrise 🙂

Everything is going great!!

– Rocket

Feeling most and least confident about…

In 6 days my lifestyle is going to radically change. Most everything in my day-to-day life will be different than the way I have lived the past 24 years. New environment, new people, new entertainment, new challenges, new clothes, new food, new tasks, new routines, possibly even a new name (thru-hikers typically acquire trail names while hiking). Naturally, I feel more confident about some changes than others and I think certain things will be more challenging adjustments for me. Of course this is completely subject to change the moment I get to Amicalola, but less than a week out these are some trail life characteristics I am feeling most and least confident about.

Feeling preeeetty good about:

Look at those sexy crocs!
  • My pack weight and gear! My body has become accustomed to the pack fit and weight at this point and I have tested all of my gear. I will hopefully shed a few items on trail, but at this point I am confident with my gear and it all fits in my pack woohoo!
When I don’t have a resupply box I will be resupplying in grocery and convenience stores in town.
  • My resupply boxes! Thanks to lots of advice from friends, a few trips to Walmart, and a weee bit of OCD in planning, my resupply boxes are very (possibly too) thorough. I packed 8 resupply boxes, which my Mom will mail to me along the way. I will receive most of these in towns where resupply options are super limited or too expensive due to the town being more of a tourist attraction. In these boxes are things such as: segments of my trail guide, homemade dehydrated meals, first aid supplies, toiletries, cash, fresh bandanas, and lots of other goodies.
  • Being disconnected from technology. I am definitely not the best at limiting my tech time when it’s readily available, but I do every now and then try to put away my devices for a while, which always feels refreshing. Of course I don’t need to go into the woods for 6 months to do this, but it will sure make it a lot easier because there won’t even be the temptation to check Instagram or Facebook on a daily basis.
  • The routine of setting up and taking down camp. This is something I will have to do every day except on zero days and I really think it will be alright. Sure the rainy days will suck, but overall I like the idea of setting up a little home, my own space, and then putting every piece of gear in its place in my pack. It’s a cool feeling to have everything you need to survive on your back. I hope this routine and the minimalist lifestyle will translate to my abundant (and somewhat materialistic) lifestyle when I return.
  • Pooping in the woods. I’ve mastered it.

Some things I’m feeling eeehh about:

  • Hitchhiking into town. It’s probably a good thing I don’t feel confident about this. I’m a decent judge of character, which will be important for safety, but I can’t say I have done much hitchhiking in my day. Any tips…shout ’em out!
^That’s a lie
  • My homemade dehydrated meals. I made ten different recipes and tasted one of them (edible, but not the greatest). They look like dog food. It helps to know the ingredients that went into these, but I’m not even that great at cooking hydrated food, so setting the bar real low for these.
  • Being wet…constantly. I typically like to dry off after I take a shower and put my clothes in the dryer after washing them. I’m a diva, I know. These aren’t exactly options on the trail and it does rain quite a bit (like every 1 in 3 days), so expecting everything to be wet a good chunk of the time is very realistic.
  • Night hiking by myself. The idea of hiking in the dark by myself does not sound great, but that’s a different story if hiking with other people. Will try and avoid doing this solo this as much as possible.
  • Hanging my bear bag. It’s just friggin’ hard.