Amicalola Falls to Steak n’ Shake…and everything in between

I have done something terrible. I went against everything @KarenRussell and every other professor/mentor/blogger has ever taught me and stopped – with absolutely no explanation whatsoever – posting regularly on my blog. I apologize to anyone that I may have left hanging as a result, and I feel I owe it to you and myself to finish this blog up in a manner that respects the many unwritten rules of online media…and that does not require 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to read.

Bettina and I donned our caps and gowns, walked across two separate stages and listened to numerous speeches about how to persevere during these tough economic and social times, but we barely had time to make one last escape from the campus police (kidding…sort of) before our idealistic plans of a carefree summer in the wilderness were thrown off course by the sound of “grown up” decisions knocking on our doors.

As a result, our month of wildlife indulgence is being postponed for a later date, but fortunately, I was able to sneak away from the pressures of unemployment for a nice long weekend on the Appalachian Trail. Two dogs (Penny’s sister Riley came along for the journey) and one boyfriend in tow, we hiked up the HUNDREDS of steps to the top of Amicalola Falls and the beginning of the AT Access Trail.

Once we finished the 8.5 mile access trail, I fully understood  why someone wrote in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy log book:

“Just finished the access trail. Can’t imagine wanting to do that again.”

From the top of Springer Mountain - Day 2

Considering we only had a few days of hiking to push through, my note was a bit more upbeat…and may have even mentioned my first Phish show, which I had attended just days before. During the relatively short time we were on the trail, we saw a wedding, met the most adorable father-son (maybe daughter….this child’s hair was long, curly and blond) duo from New Orleans, got blisters, ate too many granola bars, bathed in a waterfall and even got rained on a bit. Everything was amazing, and aside from realizing how out of shape I was, it made me even more excited for how many amazing things I will see and learn on longer trips in the future!

Phish - Alpharetta, Ga

Dustin and I attempting to take a nice picture at the top of Springer. Photo courtesy of Dustin Ray Huffman

Coldest bath EVER! Photo courtesy of Dustin Ray Huffman

The last day was tough, and remarkably, it was easier climbing UP those stairs at the falls than it was to hike back down days later (I blame the extra 10 pounds I was carrying under my fingernails on the way out). Also, after only eating beans and rice, Cliff bars, and peanut butter crackers, there was only one place to go….Steak n’ Shake. We ordered everything on the menu from a side salad to a bacon burger and a plate of pickles to two full sized shakes….there were few remains.

I’m so thankful I was able to spend a few days with the trail, and it definitely will not be the last time.

Thanks for reading, and stay crunchy!


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