Mr. Hub and I went hiking in Shenandoah National Park today and while it was absolutely gorgeous, rejuvenating and soul-satisfyingly wonderful to hike in the woods with my hubby... it was a huge mistake.
As soon as we stepped onto the Appalachian Trail, we both had Springer Fever instantly. And then spent most of the hike reminiscing about CDT and PCT shenanigans and speculating on our strategy for hiking the AT. We are thru-hikers after all, and once you're a thru-hiker you're always a thru-hiker -- there is simply no going back. You will spend the rest of your days trying to replicate that experience, or saving your pennies and planning your life around future hikes. It's pretty awesome. Do not be surprised if I end up hiking some of the AT this summer, I would have to quit Spanish class to do it... but it may be worth it...
Most AT thru-hikers start their summer-long journey in Georgia on Springer Mountain. Springer Fever is a feeling of bodily need to load up your pack and hit the trail, usually experienced in early spring when the hikers start migrating towards Georgia.
We were lucky enough to borrow a friend's car for the trip. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to drive to Shenandoah National Park, cost $30 for the annual pass, and we got about 8 miles of trail time in. The forest on the ridge was still brown and twiggy, but we could see spring slowly creeping its way up the mountain with the tips of all the tree branches dipped in light green leafy buds, and a few early wild flowers poking through all the spongy leaf litter on the ground. We lunched near a cascade (eastern for waterfall) and drank deeply at a pristine icy-cold spring.
The day was sunny and warm but still crisp, and the trails were dry and lined with soft baby blades of grass.