We're finally back at a computer after four days on the trail. Oddly enough, we're back at the hiker hostel that we used as our staging point to begin the the journey. Not a bad thing; it just so happens that if you follow the trail you come very close to it!
A few stories:
We got into Atlanta just fine and were clearing customs with lots of time before we both realized that we'd left our "bounce ahead box" (a mailed ahead resupply box) on the baggage conveyor belt. Thankfully we had the help of some very kind airport personell and got everything through. We stayed our first night in the Hiker Hostel (where I write this) and after a night of trimming our pack weight down and a hearty morning breakfast including gravy and sausage bits over biscuits (a normal breakfast food here in Georgia) we were off.
Since then we've made decent time hiking but paid for our lack of being-in-shapedness. Em's ankle injury kept us (her) from doing training before going so our legs and backs have been paying for it. The first day was a little tough, the second day much harder, and the third more gruelling still but we have been walking through beautiful forest and and finding a lot of joy in not being at work:) On this part of the trail it is usual to stay in regularly spaced shelters and so we got to spend several evenings with many of the same folks. The trail brings all types. We got a lot of great advice from Barry (trail name Bare-Bear), a trail vet who through hiked in 2006 and has spent lots of time before and since on the trail. His best advice, "take time and enjoy what you're seeing". Also we stayed with a young guy, just out of law school who had brought his dog on the trail so we felt like we had a pseudo-pet for a few days (of course, the dog carried his own pack).
Some of the highlights so far: The enormous trees! We've seen bigger trees than I've seen since in the BC old growth forests. The Big Agnes! (which have been like sleeping on clouds! Thanks B and M) The totally different ecology (Em has been loving, figuring out what everything is). Em accidentally flinging some kind of poo into the back of her shoe, and me making fun of her... until discovering that my shoe was also covered:(
All things considered, we are tired and sore but getting stronger and fitter. The hiking has been beautiful and we're ready to hit the trail again tomorrow:)
I'll try to post pics but it may not work. If not now we'll happily show them later:)
Love, Matt and Em