Will We Flip Or Flop…..
In May of 2013 for some wild reason I forget, Larry and I got in the car and headed to Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. We had been there before and knew it had a very nice lodge, trails and wildlife. We had attempted in the past to stay at The Len Foote Hike Inn a 5 mile hike from the lodge. Two times we had made reservations only having to cancel due to deaths in the family. Spooky, right? This time with no reservation and nothing to lose I walked up to the visitor/hiker check in and asked if Hike Inn had room for the night for two more hikers. After a call to the inn the answer was yes! OUTSTANDING, FINALLY!!!
Up the trail we hiked to the inn where we met two of the most wonderful groups of people. The Len Foote Hike Inn Staff and The Second Tuesday Hiking Club. Unlike us they were real hikers. The club had reserved the entire Inn but had two in the group that could not make it. How lucky for us! They were so gracious to include us in their group. Unknown to us at the time, they had given permission for the inn to allow us to come up. Like I had mentioned earlier these people were “REAL HIKERS”. They had hiked all their lives. The Second Tuesday Hiking Club comes to Len Foote Hike Inn each year. When a member passes away during the year they bring their ashes to the inn to scatter. They were thankful that this year no member had passed. We heard such interesting experiences of hiking the AT and many other hikes from them.
The people of the Hike Inn staff were amazing! I would encourage anyone to look them up on line. An Appalachian Trail thru-hiker spoke to the group that night complete with pictures from his hike.
We had a delicious communal supper and breakfast the next morning. What an experience!
Ok, so now you’re thinking this is the end of the story.
NOT YET. Now on fire about hiking we talk to a young man working at the inn. (Not knowing at the time, I now think he may have been a work for stay hiker.) We asked him about hiking on to the top of Springer Mountain 4.4 miles. If we hike to Springer we would then have to hike back to Amicalola Falls Lodge where our car was parked. This would put us hiking The Appalachian Trail Approach Trail in reverse adding another 7.3 miles back, making a total of 16.7 miles in 2 days with the last day being 11.7 miles. We had plenty of food and water in our packs so we thought, why not. Saying good-bye and thank you to everyone at Len Foote Hike Inn off to Springer Mountain we go! Up and down, up and down for 4.4 miles at one point Larry said “I’m not going over another mountain” but he did. We made it with little difficulty. Time for a rest, food, water and a few pictures.
Not prepared to camp the night it was time to head to the car 7.3 miles away. We hiked down and up, back and forth, down and up again and again. My shoes started to really rub me the wrong way. My feet were bothered by every rock and stick I came across! I was wearing Keen Whisper shoes. We met two north bound hikers and asked how much farther to the lodge? They replied “about 2 miles”. Rejoice! I can make it that far. So we hiked and hiked down and up back and forth again and again until we met two more north bound hikers again we asked how much farther is it until we reach the lodge? They replied “2 miles”. I burst out laughing (better than crying) but this time it was 2 miles. We made it to the parking lot. Tired, my feet killing me, but miracle of miracles no blisters. Talk about baptism by fire!!!! We were inexperienced to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, we did some things right. Number 1 we had plenty of food and water. Number 2 we are both very healthy and strong individuals. Number 3 we had walked the 11 mile loop around Cade’s Cove not long ago, so why not this 11 miles? Notice, I said walked not hiked there IS a difference. Problems: Number 1: Our packs had other stuff in them that was heavy. Number 2: I had on Keen Whisper shoes. Great shoe but not for hiking.
Once we were back home and rested our thoughts were “How could we have improved our hike?”. We found out that most beginners only hike about 6-8 miles in a day. How amazing are we? From that moment we continued to unknowingly plan a Thru-Hike of The Appalachian Trail until we could not help but acknowledge to ourselves the inevitable adventure in our future.
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Good luck! I’ll be following you!
Good luck! I’ll be following you!
I am actually planning on doing this exact hike this weekend! I have my reservations at LFHI and everything. Reading your post makes me even more excited to go!
I know your hike to LFHI was great (with the right shoe of course)!!! So glad you enjoyed the post! Sorry it took me so long to get back been away from my computer.