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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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Starchild

to NOC

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Hi from the AT

When I write these updates or think what to include sometimes I expect more hiking related stuff. But there is a saying that hiking the AT is life simplified. So I do find much more to write about then just the stats and the scenery. But I made a effort to talk a bit about the hike itself here.

Some of the hiking aspects are after 12 days on trail I covered about 139 miles making it from Springer Mountain GA to the NOC NC and 2 days away from the Smokies. Today I am taking my first 'zero' day ( AT talk for zero miles on a day) with a off trail friend showing up later to visit. So far I tented only one time. The rest has been in shelters, hostels, house, motels, one night in a car and one under a shelter with five others for warmth. The one night in the tent was by choice and even though there are many more hikers wanting shelter space then shelter space available there I have always found a space for me there even when arriving late.

My on trail pack weight is around 25 lbs with 3 days supplies and looking forward to lightening the load as warmer weather comes. This is quite a but more then the 16 lbs of my training hike but so much more is needed for a thru hike then a single overnight. Most everyone else is over 30 lbs and some over 40.

On trail Food is a mix of no cook foods such as cheese and pepperoni and just add water freeze dried meals with a hot coffee in the AM. The emphases is on time and convenience. I have not found much desire to spend much effort on elaborate cooking. There has been a good deal of 'trail magic' food (freely given by people who help thru hikers ) which is greatly appreciated but hard to account for in packing enough for the next section. At this time hikers are also usually carrying extra food too which has lead to hikers freely sharing foods which adds variety. Eating in trail towns is usually getting the foods one felt deprived of when on the trail. For me it was a cheeseburger with Swiss and mushrooms with a side of fries.

But AT has many rhythms which hiking and weather are just one of many and perhaps one of the easiest. A person can chose to dance to one or multiple aspects of the AT but coordinating the dance with all the differing rhythms including the very social aspect both with the thru hikes and those who assist the thru hikers out of kindness as well as keeping connected with friends off trail. It is easy to drop one or two aspects and that usually allows more miles but also a great loss of what the trail can be and to me what the trail is meant to be.



The cold and snowy nights made group travel almost mandatory with the standard AT backpacking equipment. Also is much easier to get help such as rides as a group then by oneself. here were some group dynamics that greatly helped but also some dynamics that were discouraging. Overall groups are benificial but unfortunately the group dynamics usually leave some receiving less of the benefit then others.


Also today I got my first mailed care packages. Was great to get it and great content of mostly trail snacks. I should have taken the offer of the socks however as I do see some wear on mine. So thank you Alec. I look forward to my next one which is on its way and that I should get by next week. After that none is planned so for those who offered or want to send, let me know so I can get you the address.

As for prayer request. My first one was so I can make this journey that my knees hold up. I am happy to report that they are and seem to be getting better over time and miles. My second one was more for all the thru hikers including me that of better traveling weather which there was a improvement. I would ask that those who have offered or desire to pray and send good intentions continue and add good sleeping weather as well meaning no so bitterly cold at night.

For this time my goal and wish and my newest prayer request for those who are are in groups but perhaps in the wrong groups that they find people who appreciate them for who they are and experence a fuller range of social interactions. That these people realize that there is something better then what they have and be willing and have the courage to journey on. Also for me that the discouragement that I experienced with this group be lifted and that I too find better and healthier social situations as I journey on; to learn this dance so I know how to experience all life has to offer.

Thank you
Starchild
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