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Jrichards - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2015

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Jesse "Slugbait" Richards
City: Irmo
State: South Carolina
Country: USA
Begins: Jul 5, 2015
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Nov 10th, 2015
Start: Hawk Mountain Shelter
End: Springer Mountain, GA
Trip Distance: 2,136.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,547
Journal Visits: 24,258
Guestbook Views: 1,050
Guestbook Entrys: 38

Gear list

Appalachian Trail Map

Day 129

I got up and got my breakfast out. It could have been any other wet morning where I was going to hike 20 miles and then stop at a shelter or tent, see some views and some viewless views along the way, maybe some animals. But, today I would reach the end. The trail was flat. Well not really, but a gentle downhill followed by a gentle uphill made for some fast hiking. I stopped by Laurel Falls which was gorgeous and had a great amount of water flowing over it making it just beautiful. Then passing through the nice Three Forks area and on up the gentle hill, I rounded the corner and spotted the van where my parents sat waiting for me.

After a reunion with my parents, we walked the last 0.9 muddy miles up to the top of Springer Mountain. Again, it could have been any other mountain with a wooded summit and just a small window of a view ( the clouds had broken up and blue skies were pushing through by this point). But this mountain, Springer Mountain, was chosen to be the southern terminus to the Appalachian Trail, a continuous footpath stretching from Georgia to Maine for those who seek fellowship with the wilderness.

A champagne toast, signing of the trail log, and many pictures later, we headed back down the trail. We ran into Louis on the way up who had tented at the stream I forded yesterday to wait for Spice because of her injuries but he didn't see her show up. But he was happy that he was finally done and was able to go back home. Then at the bottom next to the parking lot, Kickin Wing comes walking up. He had stayed at a hostel 20 miles back, but got dropped off 10 miles back and was going to go do the other 10 miles after summitting. It was great to see him at the end before he heads back home to Austria. He told me that he had found Spice on the trail yesterday just mentally defeated due to her injuries and had suggested that she just go to the hostel with him. He said that she had been dropped off with him, but didn't know how far behind she was. So just as my parents and I got in the car to drive away, I spot Spice on the trail. So I got out and congratulated her on getting to Springer. She said she was going home afterwards to heal up and would try to finish the one section of the trail that she had missed (from Waynesboro, VA north through the Shenandoah National Park). It was awesome being able to see so many friends all finishing on the same day. And then I was back in the car, down the bumpy gravel forest service road, and on the road headed back home. Just like that, a half of a morning of hiking, then hop in a car and headed home. It doesn't really sink in that your done done.

Zucchini said it well in the log on top of Springer Mountain: 'I tried to think of all the things that this trail meant to me but I could only think of nothing.' But then again, it never was about the ending.

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Journal Photo

Appalachian Trail - 2015

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is approximately 2,189-mile long footpath stretching through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 by Benton MacKaye as a refuge for city-dwellers, the A.T. was first completed in 1937 and traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.

 

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