So let me just brief you on how this story ends, I get injured halfway through and don’t finish my AT thru hike…yet! But prior to taking a second go at it this year, I thought it nice to make a short series of my first long-distance hike spanning a little over 1,120 miles from Georgia to Pennsylvania.
The Road to the Appalachian Trail:
My husband, my awesome friend John, who drove us to the starting point of our journey from Maryland, and I made a pit stop at Asheville, North Carolina for some brews and good times (after visiting “Foam Hedge” first, of course).
After possibly p*ssing off the locals on the Saturday before Easter (us paired with beer doesn’t always equal “family-friendly”), we left our hotel which looked like a crack shack at first glance, but was actually very nicely renovated inside, and headed to Georgia.
Arrival to the Approach Trail:
We arrived at Amicalola Falls State Park on Easter Sunday (3/27/16) and stayed the night at Max Epperson Shelter. We met three soon-to-be long term pals there overnight: Pharmacist, Wokman, and Crank who has since been renamed, but I pretend it didn’t happen (Sorry Duchess of Slug, you will always be Crank to me)!
Approach Trail to Appalachian Trail:
First thing in the morning, we loaded up and headed up the steps of hell which start you on the ~ 9 miles of the Approach Trail leading up to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail (doing extra credit y’all)!
It took us 3 days once we started treading AT dirt to get to Neel Gap, famous for being the place where many thru hiker candidates call it quits (it’s rumored about 25% quit before finishing Georgia). My feet were f*cked as they swelled much more than expected, and I later replaced my shoes here (unfortunately with shoes a half size too large given most of the hikers had already raided the outfitter). The pain was eased a little with the help of some double IPAs and Boar’s Head Sandwiches left by (and thanks to) our buddy John. We had a hiker trash hotel party in Blairsville after getting a ride from Miss Janet (one of the best Trail Angels EVER)!
We gathered a drop box together in a “Fragile Eggs” box, and Miss Janet was going to drop it off at Top of Georgia Hostel for us. Unfortunately, this was delayed since some “Dude” apparently smashed her windshield and had to put her van in the shop, but we eventually got it down the road. Our original group reunited briefly at Tray Mountain Shelter which was freezing cold and windy as all hell. We met some new friends on the way, Brother Blood, Timon & Pumba, Pebbles, and Hollywood to name a few.
It took us about 1 week total (3/28/16-4/4/16) from Amicalola Falls State Park to the Georgia/North Carolina border, and we called it a night at Standing Indian Shelter.
Total AT Mileage: 86.3 miles
Number of Hiking Days: 7
Number of Zero Days: 1 (this # will get ridiculous)
Average Mileage per day: 12.3 miles
Longest Hiking Day: 15.9 miles (Gooch Mountain Shelter to Neel Gap)
Shortest Hiking Day: 11.5 miles (Neel Gap to Low Gap Shelter)