The Approach Trail
to Fontana Dam
The beginning of the trail was rough for me. I had way too much weight, very little experience with my gear, and only made it three miles on the approach trail (i.e. I didn’t even make it to the AT) on day 1. But it was all worth it. I kept my chin up and decided to adopt a mantra: “this is still better than where I was.” Repeating this to myself when my muscles ached or it was pouring rain helped me remember why I was on trail and helped me adjust to the vagabond lifestyle.
I was very fortunate in that I met a lot of very kind people and received a lot of support during this section. My sisters came and hiked with me, I was gifted lots of trail magic, and picked more experience hikers’ brains. Determined to learn the ropes, I sought out new skills and learned to give other hikers a chance to share with me their wisdom.
Total Miles: 87.3 / 2189.2
Hiking Days: 17 / 168
Zeros/Neros: 1 / 27
Average MPD: 10.3 / 15.3
Longest Day: 15.4 / 27.4
The approach trail: It’s worth it, in my opinion — hiking the approach should be everyone’s preamble to this trail.
The streams near three forks: I’ve always loved water; the streams set a certain mood for the beginning of my journey
Blood Mountain: There’s a certain vibration this mountain has that’s captivating - plus its a fun and technical climb downhill.
Addis Gap: Just one of the loveliest campsites on trail! Although it’s unfortunately becoming overused. Worth the walk!
Bly Gap: Such a special spot that marks your transition into North Carolina!