We all had an incredible last weekend with Andrew aka Murph in Georgia. The Murphy clan headed to Amicalola State Park on Saturday Morning caravanning alongside Jim McKay, Brandon Moore, Linwood Strickland and yours truly, Warpzilla. Lodging was taken at a cabin inside the state park where we were met by Raleigh native and current resident of Atlanta Tyler Gillespie. The evening was spent grilling burgers and dogs, listening to music, and a “shakedown” of everything Murph was going to be carrying with him on his journey from Georgia to Maine (GA>ME).
Brandon (who goes by the trail name El Perro) and myself have thru-hiked the trail already, El Perro in 2011 and I in 2007. We are partially to blame for Murph’s undertaking and accept full responsibility. Murph is our prodigy. His pack and gear proved to be one of the most well prepared and thought out collections of equipment either of us had ever seen. As we patted ourselves on the back there was no mistaking Andrew was ready. You could tell he was anxious and primed for walking.
After staying up later than we probably should have, Andrew awoke to the last breakfast of bacon and eggs he could have for sometime. We then packed the wagons back up and headed around the mountain to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain. Overcast clouds hindered the unimpressive view from the top. A much more rewarding landscape awaits Murph at the Northern Terminus in Maine. There were a number of hikers starting the trail, including some coeds, which delighted our young journeyman. Strolling back down to the Parking lot from where Andrew would carry on solo, we joked and laughed the entire way down.
It was heartbreaking to say the least to see Murph say goodbye to his four legged mate Hazel Mae. I don’t know who will miss who more. I remember taking those first strides out of site of my loved ones when I hit the trail eight years ago. El Perro and I wanted to run off with him. What I think everyone can be envious of is the time Andrew is able to take away from it all and do something so incredible. Stay tuned for more updates, it could be a rainy week for Murph, so do your sunshine dances people.