Well I suppose it’s time to let the adventure begin. A good former teaching buddy, Scotty Brooks, took a day off from his position as media specialist at Phenix City Intermediate School to drive Linda and me up to North Georgia today. Lisa drove herself up and met us in Dahlonega, where we’re staying the night. After a trip to Amicolola Falls State Park, where I signed in as official AT thru hiker number 590, we spent the duration of the afternoon walking around the tourist town, winding up at the Back Porch Oyster House for an evening meal.
On the square several vendors were setting up tents in preparation for an Appalachian Trail Fest, which begins tomorrow. I received a favorable weather forecast from a young man who was preparing an exhibit. After I informed the fellow that I was beginning a thru hike tomorrow, he stated that he had begun his thru hike four years ago on March 25. I felt that meeting Catfish, an AT 2000 miler, just might be a good omen. He wished me well as I walked on to catch up with Linda and Scotty who had headed into a chocolate shop.
Overall, the day has gone well. I’m packed, well rested, well fed, and quiet frankly, ready to begin walking north. Several times throughout the afternoon I thought that I’d really rather have gone ahead and started today. I need to be patient, however. There will be plenty of time for hiking over the next few weeks. Tonight it was important to enjoy special time with family and a good friend.
I thought about Don many times today. Brent called to wish me well. He loved his dad dearly, just as Don loved him. Many people sent text messages; others commented on Facebook; some called. I appreciated all those who reached out to offer support and prayers. I will need them every day as I make my way north.
So it’s late and I need to sleep. Morning awaits as do the 2185 miles of the Appalachian Trail.