Hey Georgia, I See You (and my first 69.3 miles)

I’m going to kick this off with a big ‘ole shout out to the state of Georgia. I’ve spent plenty of time battling traffic in Atlanta but admittedly have overlooked the northern part of the state, which is quite a peach, if you will. As a resident of western North Carolina, I’ve never really felt the need to check out Georgia’s mountains. Now that I’ve become intimately acquainted with them, I realize I’ve been missing out.

My new found love affair with Georgia began on Wednesday evening at Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge. Most park lodges that I’ve experienced in the past have been just fine, but this one blew them all out of the water. Amicalola Falls Lodge is NICE. Gorgeous views of the mountains, beautiful rooms, and most importantly, a breakfast buffet. What’s the best way to start a thru-hike? If you said unlimited waffles, eggs, and grits, I’d agree wholeheartedly.

The infatuation with this state has grown over the past several days as I’ve hiked nearly 70 miles from Springer Mountain to Dick’s Creek Gap. I’ve met some wonderful people who work extremely hard to help out hikers as best they can. I spent my first night on the trail at the Hawk Mountain shelter, where I was greeted by Warrior (aka Tom). Warrior is a Ridge Runner, meaning he monitors a certain section of the AT to make sure it’s in good condition. He was incredibly welcoming as I settled in, and helped relieve some of the anxiety that comes with the first day of any journey.

The next day, I experienced my first Trail Magic at Gooch Gap – hot chocolate, coffee, and apples provided by a church group from Nashville, TN. It was a welcome treat on a cold, foggy morning! On Sunday, I experienced Trail Magic yet again at Unicoi Gap (which I now refer to as “Unicorn Gap” because it’s magical). Another church group from St. Petersburg, FL provided quite a feast for hungry hikers. They had veggie burgers (I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful this was since I don’t eat meat), cookies, chips, fruit, soda, etc., etc. etc. The food was awesome, but getting to sit and talk with these folks was what made it really great.

In four days on the trail, Georgia has provided quite a range of weather. I’ve seen rain, lots of fog, snow, a severe storm, and tons of sunshine. We’ve had some very cold nights (lows in the teens), but I’m happy to report that I stayed warm. I’ve also stayed pretty dry, which is mostly because of my awesome tent (I’m using the Tarp Tent Moment DW – I highly recommend it!).

There have been many highlights so far including an early morning climb of Blood Mountain. As I hiked up, the snow cover increased and I felt like I was entering a winter wonderland. The view from the top was absolutely beautiful.

Trail life is quite wonderful thus far. I’m falling into a simple pattern – wake up, eat, hike, eat, arrive at a shelter or campsite, eat, talk and laugh with new friends, and sleep. What a great way to live! I spent last night in Hiawassee eating a ton and hanging out with my great friend, Whitney, who came up from Atlanta to visit. We’ve had a blast! In a few minutes, I’ll head to the trail again and bid farewell to Georgia as I cross the state line into my home state of North Carolina.

My next stop with likely be at the Nantahala Outdoor Center or Fontana Village. I’m really looking forward to hiking through some familiar territory and catching up with good friends along the way. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time there to write a proper blog post. Until then, all the best!

Yellow Bird (aka Liz)

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Comments 2

  • Robert Maddix : Apr 7th

    Hi Liz,
    Its Robert, the cashier from Trader Joes ! You bought a bunch of snacks the day before you left. You are doing great! Keep having fun !

    Reply
  • Nathan Bowers : Jan 4th

    50 miles from beginning my own journey, in Roswell Georgia at this message moment, hiked from Savannah to here to the trail head next. can’t wait to begin.

    Reply

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