Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail has always been on my bucket list. And we all know that when something is on my bucket list, it gets done! Well I hiked 40 miles of it....only 2,160 more miles to go! The Appalachian Trail goes from Maine, all the way down to Georgia. Our group drove down the Georgia, and hiked our way up. We intend to go back every year and hike/camp for a week or so, that way we eventually hike the entire trail. A few of us plan to go back on Spring Break and hike some more!
We wanted to hike/camp for 2 weeks, but with all of our work schedules, we could only go for 7 days....which ended up being only 5 days because we got caught in a hail storm on the side of a mountain...but that's a long story.
You all know me.....I take a lot of pictures. Out of the 800+ photos I took, I'll try to only post a few of the best photos on here. :)
Love this first picture...it was so foggy and misty that you could barely see the mountians in the background. This was our first mountain that we climbed; Springer Mountain.
The group!! From L to R
Me, Andrew, Chris, Molly, Mary, and Steven
My view most of the time....seeing everyones backpacks. I only had my camera out during the easy parts of the trail. When the path got really rocky or steep, I would put my camera away.
Chris and I climbed up the side of a waterfall! Look Mum, no hands!
Me, Mary, and Molly.
I was soooo glad to have some girls on the trip with me. A lot of my girlfriends dropped out of the trip, and for awhile it was going to be just me and two of the guys going. But the week before we went, I was able to convince my roommate and one of her friends to go with us! It was nice to have some female company along!
The group again! Let me tell you....these people are amazing. They are not like any of my other college friends. We would have group prayers every morning before hiking, not a single cuss word was said, everyone was laughing and having a great time. It was seriously such a great group! We all cooked dinners together, helped each other pitch hammocks and hang up tarps. We read a few Bible verses together each night too! It was just such a blessing to be with a solid group of friends. I felt so safe, and we all had the time of our lives!!
Ok Story Time.....
The guys had a much faster pace than us girls; and at one point (during a very steep part of the trail) they guys hiked up ahead till they came to a clearing, then came back down, took us girl's packs, and hiked back up with us. Us girls were not complaining and nobody asked anything, the guys just up and did it. How sweet is that?
Me journaling in my hammock. I sewed my hammock myself before the trip, so I was a little nervous if it would hold up, but it sure did! In fact it's in my backyard right now! We would pitch our hammocks bunk bed style, so there would be two or three of us on top of each other. Here I am at the top...my hammock was probably 7feet in the air! I needed help getting in, but I stayed the most dry that night, since I had the most coverage from the tarp we hung above.
At this point in the trip all I could think is "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING BETHANY?! DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU CAN HIKE THIS APPALACHIAN TRAIL?!" It was crazy. But fun. It was crazy fun! But inside I was dying. Like for reals I should have gotten into shape before doing all of this.
Just me and my pack and a gorgeous view of mountains off into the foggy distance. Ahhhh this is the life. Yes, climbing and being so tired all the time sucks, but that feeling of being in an unknown place for the first time, and having an adventure of a lifetime?!...yeah I wouldn't change that for anything!
A map of the mountains, creeks, and gaps we have hit so far in our trek through Georgia.
Dinner on the mountains? Don't mind if we do! That flat rock that we were standing on? Yeah I slept on that. Stargazing in the mountains is wayyyy better than any other stargazing I have done. And NOTHING is better than taking off your boots after a long day of hiking, having a hot meal, and a view like this!
no editing was done to this....straight off the camera!!
How's THIS for a sunrise?! The second best thing in the world? Eating hot oatmeal and watching the sunrise at 6:30am :)
At this point, after four long hard days of hiking, my body was dreading another day of up and down mountains, but my mind was racing and I was so pumped to wake up early the next morning, put on my 47lb backpack and hike up more mountains!!
The group on top of Blood Mountain! It was as awful as it's name sounds.
This is on our way down the side of Blood Mountain. We got caught in a hail storm. It came all of a sudden out of nowhere, and poured very hard. Usually with all the trees, we don't feel much rain, but we all got soaked! Our path was a 4inch deep river, and our boots were soaked through. After running through that storm for a few hours, we finally made it to a road that had a small convenient store nearby.
Every 20-50 miles, there are stores and hostiles available for hikers. At the bottom of Blood Mountain there just happened to be a store and cabins!! This was the cabin we stayed in on our last night. Because of the hail storm we were unable to pitch our hammocks outside. We all dumped the entire contents of our bags on the ground of the cabin to let them dry out. And we put our boots in the oven to dry them out.
Such an eventful trip!! And there were so many blessings along the way! Our group became so close, and we had such a blast! I could talk about this trip for hours...I can't wait to tell my grandkids about all the crazy things their Grandma Bethany did in her college days!