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[at-l] One year ago today...

One year ago today I woke up in Atlanta and hoped that my tent would arrive 
with Grace, my shuttle ride to Amicalola.  (For those of you waiting for 
Nomads, I got mine on the way to Amicalola - somehow Kurt did get it to me 
before I started  :-).

At park headquaters, I set up my tent on the lawn in front of the main 
building, to check it out at least once before I took it out on the trail.  
The park building finally opened and I could register to begin my thruhike.  
I then weighed my pack (42 lbs including 2 quarts of water and 6 days of 
food - the most it ever weighed on the hike) had the obligatory pictures 
taken at the plaque and the arch and was on my way.

It was at the arch that I met the first thruhiker of my hike.  (I had met 
Doc the day before on the train from DC to Atlanta) Checkdam and I hiked 
together on and off for the day.  It was a great day for a hike and the 
approach trail made for a good start to the hike.  I knew I was getting 
close to the summit of Springer when I heard voices and harmonica music.  
There was practically a party going on as I arrived.  There was quite a 
crowd there, most of whom did not hike the approach trail and were planning 
on going further than the shelter at Springer.

Once again, I stopped for the obligatory pictures, signed the register and 
recognized a few names from email lists, talked with the other hikers there 
- most of whom thruhikers, and then made my way to the shelter.  I met an 
incredible crowd of people that night.  From what I can remember, they 
included(mixing trail names and real names): Trail Trotter and Whittler, 
Cassiopeia and Freak Dog, Sir P-a-lot, Christopher Robbin and Tigger, Alan 
and John - both from CT where I grew up, Papa Bear, Checkdam, Sky and Raven, 
Serpico, Candleman, and probably a few more - (the Redhead still has my 
notes  :-).

As I look back, it's amazing to think about how many of these people made it 
to Katahdin.  From the start, both Alan and John knew they might have to 
leave the trail to tend their businesses and so it was.  Papa Bear, missing 
his wife, is now a section hiker and will start again this year at Kincorra, 
where he left the trail last year.  I believe everyone else made it to 
Katahdin with just one blue/yellow blazer in the bunch (but he had a lot of 
fun :-)

Actually, does anyone out there know if Christopher Robbin finished?  Last I 
saw of him was at Rusty's.  I know he continued from there but I don't know 
if/when he finished.

So needless to say, I'm really missing the trail right now.  I definitely 
should have taken today off from work.  Oh well.

Just thought I would share my thoughts with you this morning.

I'll be getting off the list this afternoon for a couple of weeks until I 
get back from a business trip to Mexico.  At least I'll be taking some time 
for myself while I'm there and expect to find some backpacking.

Wondering what I'm doing sitting at a desk, ...

Stitches, GAME99

P.S.  My best to all those starting out today and this year.  If you're 
looking for a contact in MA or NH, just let me know.  I'm not usually there 
on weekdays but often on/by the trail on the weekends.  Hope to see you out 
there.  -MF

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