March 25

Week one.  It'll be interesting, it always is.  We are hitting the trail this morning in Shenandoah NP.  We are starting off kind of slow for the first week for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost,  we were a little too ambitious in 2008 when we started the trail and were quickly humbled by the immensity of our endeavor.  Second of all, since we will be hiking through the national park we are only allowed to stay in the shelters.  Meaning we can't just camp anywhere we want after doing how many ever miles.  All the shelters except for one in Shenandoah are spaced about 8 to 10 miles apart, so our options are to do 8-10 miles a day or 16-20 miles a day.  Probably needless to say, we are going for the first option, 8-10 miles a day.  In 2008 we learned very quickly in the first week that we weren't going to make the mileages we had planned or hoped for right off the bat.  Therefore, we'll take it slow the first week and try not to hurt ourselves too much!  Hamburger feet will be here sooner or later...that's where your feet literally feel like ground up burger meat!  We are starting out carrying six days worth of food because we won't be able to resupply until next weekend when we exit the park and head into Front Royal, VA.  Andrew's parents dropped us off this weekend and are actually meeting us in Front Royal to hang out for a night next weekend.  During our first trip on the AT they mailed us all of our pre-bought and pre-packaged food drops, but this time they are personally delivering them!  Fun, fun!  Other things in our packs:  tent, rain-fly, poles and stakes (each of us having two of those items), sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing (because of the time of year we are planning on hiking in shorts and a t-shirt, but we are carrying a light smartwool long sleeve shirt, synthetic puffy jacket (mainly for sleeping in if the temps drop real low), smartwool long johns, zip-off hiking pants, rain pants, and a rain jacket), light gloves and hat, bandana (mulit-use item), baseball cap, water filter, jetboil stove, fuel, cook pot, mug, utensil, very little toiletries, first aid kit, toilet paper and hand-sanitizer, knife, fire starters and matches, cell phone and ipod with battery charger, water bottle and water bladder, and camp shoes (its so nice to have those at the end of the day).  We haven't weighed our packs, but I'd say they weigh between 35-40 pounds with food but without water.  The temps have been in the 70s and 80s in TN and they dropped to the low 50s today as we entered VA.  Plus, there is a 60% chance of thunderstorms for today as we start this morning.  Good times ahead!