5/29/16

Hiking the #AT {Appalachian Trail}



It's been 2 weeks since we returned from our 3 day hike on the Appalachian Trail.  I had planned on posting this much sooner, but there's been so much going on that I decided to wait until I could really focus on it. To be honest, I don't think words can express what I felt out there and maybe just pictures will do. But then again, pictures don't do it justice either.

When we first began talking about hiking it, I insisted on starting at the beginning of the trail.  Although we are technically going to be "section hikers", I just don't see the point in jumping around when we live right here in Georgia where the trail starts. Plus, it'll be easier to keep up with our progress and pick up where we leave off each time.  I'd like to at least hike all the way through Georgia and North Carolina. 


The top of Springer Mountain is where the trail begins and it's marked with a plaque and a white blaze.  There's also a plaque with the trail route and a metal box inside of a big rock that holds a book for hikers to sign to document their hike.    

Dillan signing the book


I have to say, it's strange taking so many pictures without makeup.  But who has time for all that on the trail? Not to mention, my pack was already 25 lbs.  I didn't need anything else adding to the weight. It was so nice not having to worry about putting on makeup and fixing my hair every morning! 



Follow the white blaze

The plan

You are surrounded by so much beauty all along the trial!  You're also pretty much in the shade the entire way of the first 20.1 miles to Woody Gap. That was nice for sure.  No worrying about getting sunburned or having to wear shades.



There's lots of neat crossing to walk over along the trail.  Some are logs, but others are more like small bridges.  And of course, there are plenty of rocks to act as stepping stones.  I had to channel the old gymnast in me at times lol!  Walking over the water like that is one thing, but carrying a 25-35 lb. pack will make it a little more difficult for you!





Scott  worked so hard to research everything before we left, so we would be prepared for what we encountered along the way.  The only thing we really didn't' expect is how cold it got one night.  This spring our weather has been very abnormal, but you wouldn't expect 40 degree weather in May.  But we all had frog togs in our packs in case of rain, so that kept us warm that second morning when the wind was still blowing 15 miles/hour.  By mid morning, though, it was perfect hiking weather once again.


Long Creek Falls is the only waterfall on this first section of the trail.  It's only about 150 steps off the trail and a nice place to take a quick break.  Some people like to hike the approach trail to Springer Mountain which starts after Amicalola Falls, but by the time you hike those falls, you won't get far on the trail before having to stop overnight.  Unless of course, you're a pro....and we are not lol!  So what we did was catch a shuttle ride from Woody Gap where we left our car.  We didn't want to do the approach trail so the only way to get to the top of Springer was an old dirt fire service road.  He dropped us off in a gap where we had to hike about a mile up to the top of Springer to see the plaque and sign the book.  Then we hiked right back down the same way, went across the gap and picked back up on the trail.  I highly recommend doing it that way because you can't get to the approach trail unless you climb Amicalola Falls. We plan to actually go back in July and hike Amicalola as well as some other water falls in the area.  



There weren't many scenic overlooks along this portion of the trail, but we did catch a few glimpses of the surrounding mountains.





Scott & Austin taking a break

This was a really cool spot along the trail.  This is Justus Creek and we stopped here to filter more water.  You have to hike down the steps, cross the creek on the rocks, and then climb the steps on the other side to get back on the trail.  Had we had time, I would have loved to camp here!



Scott filtering water at a smaller creek 

Looks like I'm doing a commercial for Propel.....lol!

The trail is very defined most of the time.  You never have to wonder where it is although the terrain is much different at times.  Also, the white blaze marks are along the way to help guide you.


I had packed a couple pair of cute shorts I bought for the hike, but wound up not wearing them since the mornings were so cool.  And I didn't want to change later in the day when it warmed up.  But I was perfectly comfortable in the leggings I packed in case of cooler weather .  Needless to say, they came in handy!



Here's our crew: My step-son, Austin, Dillan, Me, my Uncle Mike, and Scott
This photo was taken on the top of our last mountain that Sunday, Ramrock Mountain. It definitely had the best view for this leg of the trip!

When we reached Woody Gap that Sunday right after lunch, we were exhausted but so happy for our accomplishment.  We learned alot and met some really nice folks along the trail.  Some were "thru hikers" and headed all the way to Maine.  Others were like us and just doing sections.  At the gaps along the trail, there were always more people because of the access for day hikers.  


After getting back home and getting a good night's sleep in my own bed, I woke up missing the mountains.  I've always loved them and being able to see them in a completely different way makes me love them even more.  And because Scott and Dillan loved it as much as me, we are already planning our next section hike to pick up where we left off.  We thought we'd do a section each year, but I don't think I can stay away that long!  The trail has a way of calling you back to it.

By the way, Dillan took lots of photos with his camera and also did a post about our trip on his blog. Go check out Section Hiking the Appalachian Trail in a weekend over at Moore Than Style.

Happy Trails to you!!!!!!!!!!!!

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