White Rectangles (Days 102-106)

20130822-203255.jpg

Hiking into New England has really felt like hiking home to me. The rocks, the woods, the streams, and the trails all feel familiar. This sense of coming home was heightened by my family coming out and meeting me on the trail. My parents met me as I crossed the border from New York into Connecticut and then my brother, his wife (my friend), and their two kids met me as I crossed from Connecticut into Massachusetts. It was great seeing everyone again.

Per usual, the two kids stole the show. It was their first camping trip and their first hike on the AT. Having a 1 year old and an almost 3 year old in my tent was a novel experience for me. I spent the next few days finding hidden Cheerios everywhere, but they were so cute that it was worth it!

One of my favorite parts of the visit was taking my niece for her first walk on the Appalachian Trail. I pointed out the white blazes on the trees and told her that that was how I knew where I was supposed to go and that I’d followed the white blazes all the way from Georgia to Massachusetts.

Finding the blazes soon became a game. My niece would see one of the blazes, then she’d smile and yell, “white rectangle”, as she ran down the trail to point it out to us. It was soooo cute! The game was especially fun because we were in an incredibly over blazed section of the trail, so there were blazes every ten feet.

Trail Angels (less than 12 hrs to go)

Tomorrow morning I’ll actually be at Springer Mountain! I’ve been luxuriating in the creature comforts that I’m about to leave behind like: showers, soft comfortable beds, family within a stone’s throw and well, anything that I can’t fit into my backpack.

Even though I didn’t think I had family in Georgia, It turns out that my new sister-in-law does. They are the “trail angels” that have swooped in to help me out even before I set foot on the trail. They have a cabin near the start of the AT and are letting my parents and me use it as a base camp while we’re here in GA. The crazy thing is that we just met them this weekend and here we are, in their amazing cabin in GA just a few days later. They’ve made me feel like I have family here, and have reminded me that the trail is full of amazing people that I look forward to meeting.

I am thankful to them and everyone that has helped me get to this point, where my dream of hiking the AT is about to begin. Springer Mountain here I come!

20130507-235152.jpg