Day 1: Pine Mountain Trail thru hike, 4/4/14

Weather is such a fickle thing. Maybe the universe decided that I’d had enough rain on the AT last year and decided to spare us today! With an 80% chance of rain and potential severe storms after 5pm, we all thought we’d spend a good portion of the day wet. While hiking, we put on rain jackets and up went the umbrellas….for all of 10 mins. Until we had set up and were in the middle of dinner, no rain at all, just lots of clouds but a surprising amount of sunshine too! Enough humidity to sink a ship….ahhh, I love hiking on the east coast but I will NOT miss humidity in the southern CA desert on the PCT.

Joan and I decided on the indulgent way of thru hiking today when we got up and promptly decided to quickly hike back to the car and go to a Subway we’d seen the day before for breakfast. With more than enough time to spare before we were to meet the other 3 ladies joining us today (Monica, Jean, and Dusty), we were glad we drove into the town of Pine Mountain, which didn’t take long at all. Once the ladies arrived, we discussed options for bailing if the weather really got bad, and left several of the cars at a trailhead 6 miles in. This turned out to be a great decision, as it allowed us to move a car to 11 miles out, and we then drove to the access point for the campsite we’re staying at tonight – Dead Pine, which is much prettier than the name would suggest! Tomorrow we plan to go to the other end of he trail, and hike backwards towards where we left off today – that way we’ll maximize seeing the really pretty waterfalls in good weather, as Sunday AM is still supposed to be rainy. Many thanks to the flexible folks in the park office who allowed us to change our reservation for tonight’s site, and hopefully we’ll have the same luck tomorrow! Pine Mtn (in FD Roosevelt State Park here in GA) is a great location as far as access to the trail is concerned. You don’t feel that you are out in wilderness, per se, but it’s a great location to bring a group.

It was wonderful getting to know the ladies today, and despite my “brisk” pace in the lead, which I think I need to tone down tomorrow, I utterly enjoyed the hike today. Great conversations, and comfortable silence when we were all just enjoying nature and the walk (or at least I was!).

After dinner, I picked Dusty’s brain about both learning to downhill ski and becoming a teacher from another career. I admit, despite never having taught before, the thought of summers off is very appealing. Over the winter is been trying to give some thought to what I want to do “after”, and teaching or working in a local school system administration has been high on the list, very cool to meet someone who had done the same type of career switch. Further food for thought!

All in all, a wonderful first day on my first official Trail Dames hike! I do hope, however, that my already ravenous appetite is the result of hiking >10 miles for the first time in a few weeks….this doesn’t bode well for my food bag!

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