ATKO: Appalachian Trail Kick Off Weekend
“You become like the people you spend the most time with” Jim Rohn
That is just fine with me. I spent the first weekend in March at the Amicalola Falls State Park. The park is the location of the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail – on Springer Mountain. The ATKO (aka The Appalachian Trail Kick Off) was being held this first weekend in March at the lodge within the park. My hubby and I drove 6 hrs to be there along with vendors, speakers, hikers & the hiking community.
I booked us a spot at the campground within the park. There was also a “tent village” area close to basecamp where some hikers were staying at a very reasonable price, but with my reluctant camping hubby, I “treated” us to a private site with water and electric. I brought my thru hiking gear, never missing an opportunity to practice using it all. My lightweight Nemo 2-person tent (is NOT really a 2-person comfortable tent) so my hubby brought the family “Taj Mahal” tent which looked massive next to mine. Didn’t matter that he had an electric blow-up mattress with a lamp inside on top of a table. I was so happy to have him there supporting my hobby. More like a passion at this point. I know he would have preferred to stay at the warm and cozy lodge where all the activity took place.
Listening to the presentations, seeing the recommended gear, meeting the people – gave me all the feels! I asked questions, bought merchandise and became like the 5 people I surrounded myself with that weekend. I obtained social media info as well as pictures of these impressive folks. I felt at home and supported already. This community is so supportive that there were 2 hikers there that both thru hiked the trail in 1973, Yes 50 yrs ago! Warren Doyle & Mic Lowther
Before heading back home, I stopped by Basecamp. This is where hikers starting their Northbound Journey (NOBO) sign in, get their tag, listen to the Leave No Trace speech before literally starting their walk. I watched 2 male hikers get their bags weighed: 29 and 42 lbs. they also had their pictures taken. It was great to see it all before my actual launch date – a bit reassuring. There was a hiker box there (discarded items that hikers decided they didn’t need in their packs) and I was able to snag something I could use. Thanks Hiking Community!
One last thing was to climb the stairs leading up to and parallel with the beautiful Amicalola Falls. It was a beautiful sunny day for it. Just a couple of more weeks before we are back for the official launch. We DID book the lodge this time – it’s a big milestone! This is really happening.
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It was a great weekend and I was glad I could be there to support your passion. I know you are ready for this and can do it. As a hiker supporter it was also reassuring for me to see all of the other good people of the hiker community that will be doing this with you.
Wife, dog, and myself retired here in Virginia last summer from Wisconsin.The AT is like in our backyard. We thought that we would like to be ? ? of some sort. When you cross into Virginia,(Troutdale, Sugar Grove, Marion, Highland State Park, Mnt. Rodgers, Whitetop Mntn.), let me know if I could help. Supplies, lunch, bottle of wine. Want to hear of your adventures. Good luck on your trek! Remember, 1 foot in front of the other.
Thank you so very much John for the offer. Can’t wait until “crossing into VA” becomes my reality!
any further news?