The Beginning For Better Or Worse

The Beginning

After a delay in Rochester, NY for snow, we made our way to Atlanta. A shuttle from the Marta station to Amicolola Lodge via the visitor center from Ron’s Appalachian Shuttle concluded our trip.  After a night at Amicolola Lodge to calm our nerves and prepare, aka drinking wine, off we go to Springer parking lot.  Up Springer and back to the parking lot to head up the trail! On top of Springer, we were warned of Norovirus on the trail by Ridgerunner Chris. Norovirus is not something to scoff at due to the quickness of onset and severity of symptoms. Diarrhea and vomiting while in a tent or shelter, no thank you!

Weather Makes The Hike

First day was great, sunny with great temps, remember folks we left in the snow!  We planned to camp rather than get near any shelters…. can you say Norovirus??!!  Because we were warned about Norovirus and we saw a hiker heading off trail due to it, we took it seriously. Extra soap packed and no touching anything or anyone cause people are gross!! Fingers crossed, we have avoided it so far.  We stayed at Hawk Mountain campsite, which was great, but our sunny day quickly turned to rain. Rain ended in the morning and the wind aided in drying out gear so a great start to the day. Good day hiking and made it to Justus Creek, which was perfect! We stayed there rather than Gooch due to the noro out there. Our first freaking cold night, down to the low 30s!! Frosty condensation in the tents and a frigid start to the morning so we got going quickly! Onto Woody Gap where we planned to get a shuttle to a warm bed overnight.  After a shuttle back to Woody Gap we headed to stealth camping short of Jarrard Gap due to not having bear canisters. Weather still sucky since the wind has only increased throughout our day. Hiked over our first “little” mountain Ramrock which tested our legs. We are slow but still got the job done. Set up camp and awaited the nasty weather coming in overnight. Weather is literally the driving force out here. Will our gear hold up, will we freeze, will our rain gear keep us dry LOL, or will it all go to shit?? Well, we woke to rain and high winds. Packed up quickly and started hiking. Today was the day to climb and descend Blood Mountain. In case you all forgot, I’m old and my hiking partner is older!

Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain is the highest point in Georgia, and we faced it with resolve and laughs. Did you know that mountains can be climbed in 30 step increments?? Count to 30 and rest! Oh yeah, we climbed that thing in torrential rain and gusty winds! Quick stop at the top, mostly to call for shuttle from Neel’s Gap to anywhere warm and dry! Once I had phone service, both were arranged and off we went down the mountain. I seriously cannot convey the amount of water traveling down the mountain along with us but at some point, surfing seemed to be an option! Did I mention how the damn wind kept blowing along the rocks the whole time, about 45 mph?!?!  Open heights are not my thing, but didn’t notice them because the clouds blocked the views and the torrential rains hindered my vision which was focused on finding the ever-elusive white blazes.  The sounds of Neel’s Gap rose out of the trees and there it was finally! We crossed the road cold and wet but so happy that the day was done. Our resupply boxes picked up and a quick hello to the cat, of course, and off we headed to the Inn.  Sidenote, Booger Hollow is a real gas station on the way to Blairsville, GA!

Rest and Dry Clothes

We took a zero, total day off without hiking, in Blairsville at the Seasons Inn and dried out all of our stuff. Amazing what can hold water and how long it takes to dry waterproof gear! Tomorrow is yet another day on the trail, but we have literally weathered the storm and come out of it victorious!

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Comments 2

  • Dana Edgell : Mar 28th


    Nice to see someone from the Rochester area on the AT.

    How did you get from the lodge to the springer parking lot, is there a park shuttle or did you book an outside shuttle (or did you hike up?)

    Thanks, I hope to do the GA loop starting from Springer in the fall.
    Fairport, NY

  • Mike : Mar 30th

    Hello No Shit! My daughter and i enjoyed talking with you guys at the shelter while we ate lunch. Loved hearing your stories! Have a great hike!


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