Felt all the feels at once. Pumped, nervous, scared., etc. Anyways, what a beautiful day to start out! Recieved a shake down from Park Ranger Bill. Very informative. Good tips. Went hard for a good while…those steps on the approach trail were so rough climbing up…I think there were a good 400+ steps. Met another hiker maybe a mile after Springer Mountain, Kelsey…now called Gazelle. We had similar hiking speeds so we hiked for a good two days together before I realized that 16ish miles a day was not a good way to start. Gazelle by the way is the first and only Ultralight backpacker I have met thus far. She was carrying I believe a 8 pound base weight bag…even probably less now! She is also very unique: wears sandles to hike in, going stoveless (no hot meals), does not filter her water but carries the the water filter anyway…and a couple of other things that are just not coming to mind right now. Memorable conversations…Learned a good deal from her while I was able to keep up. I hope to meet more people like her ahead, maybe even catch up if I can.