We woke up at Black Gap Shelter at about 8am.  We were the first ones in the camp to start moving about.  It was bitterly cold.  Everything was covered in a blanket of freshly fallen snow.  

We were so thankful not to have to pack up snow laden tents.  We rolled up or sleeping bags, packed everything up, filled up our water containers, ate a quick breakfast, and stepped off toward Springer Mountain.  

The cold was a motivator to move!  It didn’t take long for us to arrive at the top of Springer Mountain.  

We have made it to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.  All of our planning and  dreaming became a reality in this very moment.  

We signed the log, and took a selfie in front of the Appalachian Trail plaque.  Then our friend Foggy came along, and offered to take a picture of all of us near the starting point of the trail and the first white blaze.  

Quickly, our thoughts moved from arriving to deciding if we should continue.  We hiked a short ways to the Springer Mountain Shelter, where we ran into our friend Carl, and met Bear (a chaplain from Washington) and Daniel (a legally blind man attempting to solo hike the trail). 

We looked up the incoming weather report and realized sub zero windchills were incoming.  All of our gear was keeping us warm, except our gloves.  We decided that the most prudent thing we could do was to leave the mountain.  We tried to find shuttle rides, and rooms, but my mom’s friend Mrs. Jane Frazier came to our rescue, along with her friend Kenny.  We drove through a winter  wonderland down the mountain to Blairsville, and to Ms. Jane’s house.  

First order of business was to take warm showers and get rid of the stink.  After showers we went to eat pizza at a local all-you-can-eat pizza place.  We all ate our fill of pizza, salad, and breadsticks.  Then returned home to play games.  I cannot even express what a blessing all of this has been.  

We’ve heard tales of trail magic and the kindness of the trail angel.  We have experienced both in one with Ms. Jane!  

We slept like babies, snug as a bug in a rug!!! 

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