I hadn’t allowed myself to get excited about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or feel much of anything as I wanted to give work 100% of my focus until the last minute.
Therefore as I sat on the bus making my way to Melbourne to fly out to my mums I was filled with emotions…tears in my eyes as I contemplated the trials, tribulations and successes that lay ahead – my head ached with the enormity of it all.
I set about cleaning all my gear making sure that I wasn’t carrying any soil or seeds through to America. I am really conscious of cross contamination and the negative impact introduced species have. I became quite staunch about this in New Zealand when I was kayaking, and as I saw the outbreak of didmo in our streams and rivers.
Being conscious of deer ticks and Lyme desease – this year there is supposed to be an increase in deer ticks due to a bumper crop last year – I treated my clothing including my nightclothes, with permethrin.
I have never flown on Korean Air before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially given the cost of the return fare, which was very cheap. It was a fantastic flight, the seats seemed wider than normal which could just be because it’s a long haul flight plane, food was great and service was excellent.
One of the downsides of picking a really cheap flight, is they normally include quite a long layover. The flight to Seol was 10 hours then I had a 15 hour layover in Seol followed by another 13 hour flight to Atlanta Georgia.
In Seoul I stayed at the Incheon Airport Transit Motel which was value for money. The only disappointment was no jug and free tea and coffee. Otherwise the room was more than adequate for a 12 hour stay.
My experience with customs in Atlanta, was quicker than expected which was a bonus. They had electronic customs booth, which really speed things along. On top of this I was then ushered into the fast lane through the final checkpoint.
Affordable Atlanta Limos was excellent to deal with and were more than accommodating. I made a pick up change prior to the day and included another unscheduled stop during the trip. I booked for four hours as I wanted to stop at Walmart to get supplies for the trail as the Amicalola Park Campground is not within walking distance of any shops or town.
The Amicalola Falls Lodge and Campground has good facilities for a campground – although the washing machine wasn’t working and I had planned on washing my clothes before hitting the trail – oh well I shall start the trail stinky…which I doubt I other hikers will notice.
However, as I sit here the night before I hit the trial I cannot help but think about what I am taking on, while at the same time trying not to think of the whole picture rather just where I need to get to tomorrow night.
Went down to the visitors centre yesterday to register myself as a thru hiker for Monday (I want to get off at the crack of dawn) and to pick up my tag for voluntarily registering online. On the way I met Puddin, Grizzle and Bob – I met several other hikers but they were not ‘smiley and didn’t really respond’ each to their own – who were starting their thru-hike. That’s when I felt real excitement, when faced with other hikers already on their way!
I must confess, I forgot two things at Walmart a gas canister and a lighter. I was going to go stoveless, so a gas canister wasn’t on my mind and I am still getting use to this not smoking thing – haveing been a smoker for almost 30 years I am not used to not having a lighter on me.
So one could say that I have already experienced trial magic. Ron of Rons Appalachian Trail Shuttle in Atlanta, was coming out here last night so dropped a gas canister off to my campsite. Then this morning one of the Lodge trucks went past, I flagged it down and one of the workers gave me a brand-new packet of matches – which was handy as I had run out of ready to eat meals that I had allocated to these three days.
There is now nothing left to do but have dinner and get some sleep…my time has finally arrived to take my first steps on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. 😊