We woke up at 4:30 a.m. bleary-eyed and tired. Having had only 2
hours of sleep, I had a feeling of surrealism that never really dissipated
throughout the day.
On the way to the airport we were treated to views of lovely Newark
New Jersey in the pre-dawn light. While our mom was softly singing
“So long farewell” from the Sound of Music.
When we got to the airport we took our luggage out of the car and gave
our Mom a hug goodbye. The reality of the situation suddenly hit me.
“We were really doing this.” I thought, “ We were leaving to hike the
Appalachian Trail ! ”. We gave Mom one last wave goodbye and went
While waiting to board the plane I watched the sunrise glint off the
runway and the departing planes. My thoughts drifted off to the previous
We stayed up to 2:30 a.m. sorting food for mail drops, last minute gear
checks, checking travel itinerary, and laughing at things that only a
combination of stress, excitement, and sleep deprivation could make
Then my thoughts went back to all the things I had done in the previous
week. My last day at work, planning the first month of the trip, food
shopping for the mail drops, putting the finishing touches on a musical
album that my brother and I recorded, burning CDs the day of our
goodbye party / album release, performing our album live at the party,
last minute gear purchases, and tying up as many loose ends as I could
before putting my life on hold for 6 months.
I was snapped out of it by the boarding call for our flight. It was time to
go to Georgia.
We took the MARTA, which is Atlanta’s rail system, from the airport to
our hotel in the Buckhead / Lennox square section of Atlanta. Our hotel
happened to be a JW Marriott, which is a 4-star hotel. My brother had a
ton of Hotel points left over from his old job so we figured why not start
the trip in style. The look on the faces of all the businessmen and
businesswomen when we came into the hotel in our hiking gear was
On the plane to Georgia