It’s that time of the year again. Those of us who are in the planning/wannabe stage of a thru hike of the Appalachian (that’s App-a-latch-in for all you flatlanders) Trail are engulfed in the overflow of words and images from the efforts of more intrepid folk who are already out there in the cold and rain/snow. You Tube, small lightweight cameras and gigaplenty storage cards have made the virtual sharing of that experience possible.
The scrape of branches and much huffing and puffing accompany the narrative as hikers talk to the lens and tell us of their adventure as the trail passes behind hem. I’m waiting for the bloopers reel when the faceplant caused by inattention to footing gets caught and posted. Be careful all you budding Hitchcocks. But the videos are only part of the treasure available to armchair hikers. Blogs,trail journals, facebook posts are abundant now that spring has sprung and Springer Mountain is one of the most photographed and talked about places in Georgia.
I have written about the trail here and there and here before and continue to plan and prepare for April 2017 when I hope to see the plaque atop that Georgia mountain in person. For now, I sit in envy of everyone slogging up and down and eagerly await their latest narrative or video. Humor and self deprecation go a long way in selling the stories. We mustn’t take ourselves too seriously mustn’t we.
My son, Brian, hiked with me almost twenty years ago on a section of the AT. He was just about ten and had no idea what was in store for him. We had many issues those two days and it took buckets of patience on both our parts to make it back to the pick up point. The joy of the rocky and mostly uphill wilderness did not make it into his ten year old brain. Last October with his wedding approaching, we decided to try it again.
What a difference a few years makes. We had a wonderful trip back into the shelter and celebrated his bachelor’s party over mac and cheese and good bourbon. Brian tells me he is ready to go again as soon as winter is over. I think that is a grand idea. But maybe next time there will be even fewer issues with soreness and slowpoke hiker buddies. I’ll try to be in a little better shape, Brian, and not slow you down. How far is it to the trailhead?
So for those of you starting out now, look for some trail magic in Rocksylvania this summer a few miles north of the Allentown shelter at the Fort Franklin road crossing. Some old dude and his now married son (and maybe even The Child Bride) will be there a few times with food, drinks, a trash bag and maybe even a chair or two. See you on the trail!