AT First Sighting

I saw my first ever White Blaze.  It was so mesmerizing.

I’ve arrived at my AT base camp — the Best Western in Ellijay, GA.  

After a long 2 days of driving, we secured lodging at a great rate only 20 miles from Amicalola Falls where I’ll begin my trek.

Today’s events were interesting and enlightening.

  • We drove through – Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia.  
  • That’s 7 states in 2 days.
  • The roads were fun, but the traffic was steady.  
  • All NASCAR drivers should be required to drive in Nashville to get their pro drivers license.
  • And there is never, and I MEAN NEVER, a good reason to drive thru Chattanooga.

The coolest was the drive time discussions…myWife is considering hiking the Falls with me.  The newly crafted plan is — we slack pack the stairs up the falls on Saturday and then she’ll drive me over to the Springer Mountain trailhead to start my fully loaded hiking solo on Sunday.

Erererererrrerrreerrrr…screetching halt to that plan

After arriving at the AT base camp, we took a drive over to the state park to check things out.  Since it was late, we decided to check out the lodge.  After a 25% grade uphill drive — yes that is correct 25% — we found that the lodge was at full capacity for the weekend — no room at the inn — so we headed back to our AT base camp.  

However, I had the bright idea to check out the drive to the Springer Mountain trailhead.  With 6+ miles on Forest Roads, what could go wrong?  Hmmm, let me count the ways.

Well, after two long days of driving, my idea wasn’t well accepted and with good reason.  The sun was setting, we didn’t know the roads or area, after getting to the trailhead I have the great idea to hike the 0.9 miles to the AT Southern Terminus.  Yeah, just call me stupid!

I’m really not thinking too brillantly when I’m tired and excited!  My enthusiasm about my upcoming hike did not carry over to myWife.

After I persuaded her to hike to the terminus, the sun light began fading fast, way too fast by my perdictions.  I finally realized my watch sunset time was correct, but my actual time was still on CST.  So we were losing day light quickly.  Next, she reminded me that we weren’t prepared — no coats, no water, no snacks (we hadn’t eaten in 8 hours), no lights, no bug spray, not dressed for hiking and we were both really tired.  This was a disaster just waiting to materialize.  BUT…she still trekked on.

After a short hike up the AT toward the terminus, I realized I was an idiot so we turned around and headed back to the car to make the treacherous drive down the mountain in the dark.

Right before we got back to the trailhead, we heard a life flight helicopter flying close to the summit.  It appears the local EMTs we passed on the drive up the mountain on the forest road had secured their injured patient and was getting him off the quick way.  Then I here it like a voice from God himself only coming from myWife.  


Shes 100 percent right!  This thru hiking is serious stuff.  Every step could be fatal.  

I need to think, think, think while I’m out there.  No need in taking stupid risks.  I don’t want to be “that guy” who gets life flighted off the mountain top.

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Comments 4

  • Stephen Disney : Apr 29th

    Looking forward to following your adventure. Good luck and God speed!

    • Larry : Apr 29th

      Thanks so much. It should be…interesting.

  • Leo Yermo Adan : Apr 29th

    “myWife” Her sandals. Wow, what is the brand PLEASE?
    Great good post, Larry. Thank you
    Trek on . . . .

    • Larry : Apr 29th

      Keens. She loves them…


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