View Full Version : First time experience?

02-12-2004, 20:58
What was your reaction the first time you saw the trailhead at Springer or Katahdin?
Your first white blaze?

After 30+ years of dreaming, planning and wishing. I finally set foot on Springer at 10 AM 3/15/97, my first reaction was to cry. Not a heart wrenching sob, but quiet tears of joy. I then found the register & wrote something in it, have no idea what I wrote. I had walked to the trailhead from FS 42 trying to not look at the blazes, so that when I got to the marker the first blaze I saw was the first one on Springer, it was a magical moment, and to this day I still feel a special magic when I pass a white blaze, I even have a few photos of them. There are times I am quite happy to see a blue blaze, but nothing matches the feeling of passing yet another white blaze. I have mixed reactions to shelters, sometimes Iím happy to see them, some times not, but Iím always happy to see a privy :)


Kozmic Zian
02-19-2004, 20:13
Yea.....1st Time. I remember on my Thru Hike...I did the approach trail from Amicalola Falls Ranger Station. Phew.....an all blue blaze trail. All the way to 'The Rock' on Springer it's a blue blaze. Then on Springer at The Box, it changes to WHITE. Yea, I remember it was quite a moment. I knew I was on The Trail. I was ecstatic, happy beyond words. Then I walked up to where the 'blues' led to the Shelter. Later, after getting my gear together and setting up in the shelter, I walked back over to 'The Rock' and had a 'Trail Blessing Ceremony', to send my hike off on a good foot. It's a very sacred place to me, Springer Mt. As is Mt Katahdin.....The Alpha & Omega.....The Beginning and The End. All Blessings to The Mother Earth On Whom We [email protected]

02-22-2004, 12:35
I had a different experience, Doctari. I don't think before I got out there I realized what this Appalachian Trail experience was all about. I saw my first white blaze at Unicoi Gap where I entered the trail with my brother (he's doing it section by section year after year and I decided to tag along on year two). It was exciting, sure, but not emotional for me as it was for you. However, after putting myself through the most difficult physical experience of my life, and succeeding, I understood what you knew before you ever stepped on the trail. This is big. This is one of the most important things I'll ever do in my life.

So the next year when I returned at Standing Indian Campground and saw the first white blaze of the Trail... that was the emotional moment. We climbed Albert Mountain last year. One of the highlights of my entire life.

We're going back again this year. Cannot wait.


02-22-2004, 12:48
Having done the GA section of the AT many times before, when I got to Springer to start my thru in 2003 the sight of a white blaze didn't have a dramatic affect on me, if memory serves me correclty. What did strike me though, and what stayed with me for several days at first, was the reality of the fact that I WAS ACTUALLY OUT THERE ON A 6 MONTH THRU-HIKE. I remember like it was yesterday ...whispering to myself over and over again ..."I can't believe I'm actually doing this".

For me, the whole thru-hike thing was hard to grasp at first. I had dreamt about it for years and planned pretty intensely for the past several months. However once found myself making that hike up Springer from FS42 it almost didn't seem real. I started my hike on a Saturday so for the first two days there were lots of other hikers out there and it felt a lot like one of my normal weekend AT excursions. When it really hit me (and I started paying more attention to the white blazes) was that first Monday ...when the weekend warriors went home and the only other people out there were thru-hikers. It was really a great feeling to say "ALL THE WAY", when another hiker would ask ..."how far are you going ??"

Damn I miss being out there this year !!

02-22-2004, 13:16
I had close to 400 AT miles before hitting springer so I wasn't completely speechless by the white blazes. With that being said, I had only been out a max of 4 days, so long distance hikes were brand new to me. In fact, I was supposed to hike for 2 weeks back in 01' and quit after 3 days. I hated the mosquitoes, the heat, hardly anyone around, it was horrible. Glad I gave it another shot. The thru was magical. Everything went smooth. It didn't kick in probably till i was out of Georgia. The first few days felt like I was sleepwalking, unaware of what I was really DOING. Springer was cool cause I got to meet tons of cool people (pack 31) and there were families, trail angels and other sender offers. It was joyous. Next time I'll probably wanna start off alone.