A week in Atlanta (or almost!): 3/28/14 – 4/3/14

I’m lying in my tent happy how well I pitched it tonight, reviewing and grinning at pictures of Joan practicing her “going to ground” setup – I predict she will hang her hammock as often as humanly possible on the PCT! She and I are leading a Trail
Dames backpacking trip starting tomorrow, at FD Roosevelt State Park here in Georgia – we billed it as doing a thru hike of the Pine Mountain Trail, all 20-some miles of it :). We came down a day early to avoid driving during rush hour, plus we both needed a break from the last minute angst and frantic PCT prep of the past few days. I’ve enjoyed a gear sewing party this week which initiated me into the DIY gear tribe! I made gaiter legs out of an old pair of hiking pants, and an elastic headband for my new Zebralight headlamp – I’ve always disliked the thick headbands that come with most lights. I feel so crafty. Both are working great so far.

This week I crashed (well, not really, I was technically invited) a going away party for Joan on Sunday and then another one for Susan on Tuesday! It was so nice to meet their friends and get to share that with them, they were both so touched.

Sunday was a stellar day all around – Joan and I gave a presentation on our individual journeys that led us to thru hiking, and I also shared my most breath taking moment in each state along the AT. It was very hard to just pick one photo, but when I had more I talked for 1 1/2 hours. Poor Joan, who had the “privilege” of practicing with me on Saturday. Even then, I cheated and picked 2 photos for Maine – I couldn’t not do my Katahdin summit photo, but I also adored my best animal spot on the entire trail – the moose I saw on the second to last day when entering Baxter State Park. It was so rewarding to give that presentation to the Trail Dames, who have been so instrumental in my backpacking journey, despite the fact that I’ve never lived in a state with a chapter.

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the spring flowers, hiking every day, and spending time with Susan and Joan. Granted, we’ll be spending lots of time together in the next few weeks on the PCT, but it’s been so much fun to do the final prep with them in person, rather than the many many MANY emails that I’m sure would have taken place if I’d been in Ohio still. We’re just feeding on each others’ excitement (and anxiety).

The week has flown by, as I’m sure the next few days will as well. Last year at this time I was gearing up to enter the Smokies after an ice storm across Cheoah Bald, and today I’m enjoying a warm night after an 80+ degree day in central Georgia complete with gnats, ticks, and…a fire fly. I had no idea they could come out this early in the year! So amazing for me to think that this time next week I will be at the end of Day 2 of my PCT thru hike. 🙂

Some fun times today:
1. Purchasing my new BRIGHT green (neon green of course) visor – it totally matches the neon green in the clown shoes, thus tying the entire outfit together. I never dreamed something could actually outdo the glowy-bright of the shoes!
2. Realizing we were doing an out and back – and then leaving the majority of the food in the car
3. Making up the “A New Cookie” mnemonic for the stages of dawn…new knowledge of the day! Who could forget wanting a new cookie?!

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