started at Amicalola Falls approach trail (8.8 mi); got out at Woody Gap (20.8 mi from Springer) = three nights camping, 29.6 mi.

Windows Come and Go.....and Come Again:
About eight years ago I was making plans to thru-hike the AT. I was transitioning jobs and needed to unplug and regroup. I missed my window to thru-hike (perhaps won't see the window again for another 25 years or so). The initial melancholy desiring the fellowship of the trail subsided and I started dating the woman I would end up marrying.

Eight years later I live in the eastern states again and saw a new window opening up. On Friday, Oct. 16 I looked at my calendar and looked at the weather; both lined up perfectly for me to go to the mountains for a few days. I quickly scribbled some plans and notes and thought, "I am going to start section hiking the AT. I'm not going to miss this window."

I started with the approach trail. I know there is no right or wrong way to walk the white blazes, but for me, the decision to do the approach trail reflects the pilgrimage I've been on for years. So, as with life, so much is required of us and so much happens to us before we are arrive at beginning points. New chapters only begin in context of previous chapters. There is always more backstory to our lives; and there will always be more life to be written.

This first trip was from the approach trail, as I already stated, and went through Woody Gap. My desire was to go through Tesnatee Gap (only 4 miles from my father-in-law's cabin and was meeting my family midweek). My knee, unfortunately, slowed my pace. Arrived at Woody Gap parking lot mid morning on fourth day to a warm fire already going strong. And had some time with the three guys I leaped frog with starting back at Hightower Gap. What a great way to end the hike as I waited for my ride to pick me up!

This first hike on the AT was a series of firsts for me: first time hammock camping; first solo trip; first time experiencing early morning hikes (2) and one night hike. Beautiful!

I was so grateful to have seen the window and excited that I walked through it. Curious who I will be after finishing the walks ahead.

P.S. A big shot out to Herb at Hightower Gap for letting me use his phone after my battery died. To the trail angel leaving water jugs at Cooper Gap. And to Greg at Woody Gap parking lot for letting me use his phone too.