Amicalola Falls to Stover Creek Shelter – 11.6 miles
11.6 miles done on my first day. Only 2.8 miles on the actual AT. Stove Creek Shelter is completely full, with lots of tents set up around it. Very crowded.
The first day of my hike was cold, but I loved it so much. My original start date was March 2nd, but I ended up getting sick and coughing so much that I pulled a muscle over my rib cage. Just breathing hurt, so any chance of hiking in that condition was gone. At the advice of my mom and my sister – who was in grad school and is now a fully liscensed physical therapist – I postponed my start date and went to see a physical therapist. I was given stretches to do to help my pulled muscle heal and even continued doing them the first week or so on the AT. The night before the 10th, my mom drove me to my step dads brother and sister and law’s house that is within 20 minutes of Springer Mountain. The next morning I was up bright and early and my mom and I were at Amicalola falls, ready to hike at 8:30am. The plan was my mom – aka: Italian Ice – would hike the approach trail with me to Springer Mountain and I would continue on my own when we reached the official beginning of the AT. My pack started at 38lbs and boy did I feel that, but the excitment and adrenaline of finally being on the Appalachian Trail made it eady to not think about my heavy pack. I got to Stover Creek Shelter around 2 with the last mile of my hike that day being in the cold rain. That’s definitely something I got used to. I was the only one at the shelter/campsite with a trail name already (got it from a thru hiker in 2017 when I did a section hike on the AT), so I felt weird introducing myself as Slider instead of Amy. For the first few days I would say that my name is Amy and my trail name is Slider. The campsite quickly filled up and thankfully I had a shelter spot out of the rain. As many people as could fit were crammed into the shelter out of the rain and we all hung out, swapped life stories, ate our hiker dinners, and went to sleep at hiker midnight. I don’t think I saw hardly anyone else from that first night again on the trail. That’s not to say that none of them made it to the finish…that’s just the way the trail works. As a thru hiker, you meet so many people and have no idea if you will ever see them again but you still have an instant connection with anyone you meet because of that one common goal of hiking 2,190.9 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to the top of Katahdin in Maine.