Days 1-3: AT 2017
DAY 1: My hiking partner, Baskets (@gripempire), and I met at the visitors center at Amicalola Falls State Park around 10am. We laughed about the journey we were embarking on and doubled over with laughter at how crazy this endeavor really is…. then we saw the stairs. Our laughter stopped. SERIOUSLY?! This was an “approach” trail?! More like, “make your ass fall off before even hitting dirt” trail. We made it. We were at the top of the Falls and as we looked back at the very small ascent we had made, we knew the future climbs would surely suck, but nothing we couldn’t handle by pushing each other through. About halfway through the approach trail we came across another guy who was being dropped off in some random gap… our trail family was born. It was now me, Baskets and Justin. We made it to the top of Springer Mountain around 3:30 that afternoon and then camped at Springer Mountain Shelter for the night. The approach day definitely will have you wondering if you’re up to this challenge, but it was FUN!
DAY 2: We woke up in the loft of Springer Mountain Shelter much later than we wanted to (almost 9am!), scrambled down to start our morning routines of hygiene, breakfast and salutations. We started hiking toward Hawk Mountain Shelter around 10am. It was a BEAUTIFUL day on the A.T.! High 60’s and not a cloud in the sky! We made several stops throughout the day as we are still developing our trail legs, but still made it to the next shelter with plenty of day light to spare. Still pumped for this new adventure, we decided to have dinner at Hawk Mountain Shelter and then continue North for a night hike into Cooper Gap. We didn’t quite make it that far. We DID make it to the top of Horse Gap and Sassafrass Mountain though and tent camped at the top. I have never seen such amazing views of stars and they will only get more vast and beautiful as we head further North (I’m stoked!).
DAY 3: I freaking woke up ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN!!!!! Wow… it was so awesome… a little cold with the wind but worth every second nonetheless! We made our way down into Cooper Gap and then continued on to Gooch Mountain Shelter for a 1-2 hour lunch break and to the let the rain subside that had been falling all day! The rain didn’t stop, but neither did we! We packed up, decked ourselves out in rain gear and then proceeded towards Gooch Gap. Once we reached the gap, we referenced our AWOL guides and decided that pushing through to Woody Gap was our best option for the day… BIG MISTAKE!!!!! How many times can a past thru hiker tell a novice NOT to over do it during your first few weeks? WE. ARE. HARD. HEADED. Well, after FREEZING all day in the RAIN and not being able to stop because if you do you FREEZE in a minute, we decided to get a ride into Dahlonega, Ga to stay at a motel for the night. Now, I’m sure others have gone MUCH longer before their first trip into town, but this was AMAZING! Hands down the best shower and Mcdonalds Chicken Nuggets and fries I have EVER HAD!
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