It is absolutely not that way on the Appalachian Trail. Having been on the trail for 9 days I've experienced more cold, wet, windy and treacherous weather than all my months on the PCT combined. I love it. It makes this whole new trail that much more of a mental challenge. I am so thankful for the experiences and learning I did while hiking the PCT, because I feel light years ahead of most of the thru-hikers out here on the AT. This is their first thru, most have 20+lbs more gear than they need, and putting up with the conditions as well as a pack that you absolutely dread throwing on your back is an issue I don't have to worry about. I'm trying to let these folks with huge packs HYOH, but am also trying to give them some pointers to reduce pack weight. They say you carry your fears on your back. That can mean anything from way too many extra clothes, to pounds and pounds of extra food, first aid supplies, I even saw a girl pull out almost 2lbs of fire starter material. Yikes. My base weight (no food or water, just pack and gear) is about 12lbs. I've seen some people with 45+lb base weight. It's gonna be a long summer for them!
It's crazy nuts out here in the South. The hospitality is Georgia was unreal. And Franklin NC was an awesome town I hope to be back through someday! I am currently at the Nantahal Outdoor Center, an awesome ropes course, kayaking/wwr site, zip lining, the works. It's where River Rats and Hiker Trash combine for one awesome time.
I am about 2 days away from entering the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and reaching Klingman's Dome (AT Highpoint 6643ft) later this week, then into Gatlinburg for a quick resupply before making it to Hot Springs NC. So I will be crossing into Tennessee while in the Smokys and then back into NC before heading into Virgina.
Super thanks to Lindsey and Ron at Outdoor76 and Becky, Anthony, and Jesse at Mulligans for being so kind and showing me a good time! Can't wait to come back!