Day 1: Easing in with an Amicalola Near-o

Day 1: AT Approach Trail to lodge

My husband, Muskrat, and I got dropped off at the lovely Amicalola Falls Lodge yesterday evening. After crying over the amazing three-story AT map, and the fact that we are finally here, and eating a huge meal with our friends, we turned over our car keys and watched our wheeled transport’s tail lights fade into the dusk.

We retired to our luxurious room for a shower and to fill our water bladders for the early start we planned to make. The only problem was that when we turned on the faucet for that ever reliable first world convenience, absolutely nothing happened.

The front desk assured us that the building engineers were working on restoring running water to the building, but they didn’t know how long it would be.

Of course that was the trigger for me to be simultaneously thirsty and in need of a restroom for both purposes. I wondered if I should go out and dig a cathole in the woods near the parking lot or if I should wait it out or find a toilet that wasn’t in my room!

We waited, watching the clock and the open faucet in our room, debating what we would do if we couldn’t fill our bladders. We consulted our guide for water sources, tried to figure out if there would be breakfast at the lodge, and made contingency plans.

When the news came down from the engineers that there would be no water for the night, and likely none until late morning, we decided to delay our official start by a day. Yes, it means we will be hiking the first day in the rain, but it lowered our stress level immediately.

We stayed up a little later than we would have, enjoying the clear starry views off the porch at the lodge. I found a restroom and stealthily took care of business. The desk handed out bottled water, and we decided to explore the park the next day.

This morning, the lodge gave us a big buffet breakfast, complete with cowboy coffee, more bottled water, and 50% off a second night! It turns out a 16″ pipe had burst beneath 6′ of concrete, and they had crew working all night to restore water.

We hiked down the East Ridge Trail to the visitors center, met some other thru-hikers, took some photos, and signed the register. Then we took the very scenic AT Approach Trail back up past the falls to the lodge, where water was again flowing from the faucets!!

We showered and set our rain gear out for tomorrow’s official start, and are now relaxing on the porch enjoying the view!

I’m sure there are people reading this and our personal blog thinking that we are silly for delaying by a day, but I’m actually really happy that we had the chance to explore some of this beautiful park at a leisurely pace. I’m glad we held out for the start we wanted!


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Comments 1

  • sbSpencer : Dec 4th

    I suspect a lot of would-of-been thru-hikers wouldn’t have quit on the first or second day if their start had been similar to yours: walk half-way up that butt-busting approach trail; turn around and go back to the lodge for the night; start the thru-hike the next day already knowing what the real first day is going to be like.

    I’ve enjoyed reading some of your posts, and send my best wishes for your 2016 endeavors, whatever they may be.


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