Getting to Amicalola Falls Park! Starting from the DC area, there was really only one way to travel. Train! I love a long train ride, who doesn’t! It has many benefits over flying, not the least of which was my pack. Not that I don’t trust TSA and the baggage handlers…who am I kidding, of course I don’t…does anyone? On the train, my pack was a carry on. Win! Then the leg room, oh the precious, glorious leg room, and standing room, and room to walk, and other cars to go to; it was most excellent. And the food. I had dinner reservations for 2000 and the guy sitting across the isle from me in business class (I know, not very Hiker-Trash of me…but it was worth it to be in business class!!!) was also eating at 2000, and he was a Philly guy! We had Steak, which was pretty good for a travelling meal, baked potatoes and gin and tonics! I was going to retire to the lounge car for more drinks but we had such a great time we closed down the dining car instead. Try that on a plane. That was Monday night. I arrived in Gainesville Tuesday morning, after a short night of sleep. It was very Agatha Christies “Murder on the Orient Express” minus the whole murder part. Good times!
Arrived at Gainesville Amtrak station about 0745. Got off, and waited for an old friend to pick me up. He wasn’t able to get me till about 1100, so I started writing my blog…which I summarily deleted by accident just as I was trying to save it after completing it. So you are reading my second attempt…there will not be a third! Will arrived, and we got some lunch and some snacks to take with me and he dropped me off at Amicalola, by the waterfall. I singed in, weighed my pack, got a pic with Will, filled up my water at the falls and started up the infamous Stairs at about 1245. Many people, I hear, skip them and go straight to the start of the Approach Trail. I did not find the stairs strenuous, but I did an insane amount of training on a stair machine for this hike. Excellent views, I highly recommend it!
Then the Approach Trail…8 miles-ish of trail that is moderately steep, but at least its rockey too, just to get to the start of the Appalachian Trail. Now this 8 miles does not count toward the total distance of the trail. So why do it? I have no idea!
A little less than 3 hours and 30 minutes later and I am at the start point of the Trail. So there is that. The Approach Trail…not recommended. I linked up with a few people at the Shelter just past the summit. After a quick diner and water refill, I am rewriting this blog. Now it is time for a fire, a cigar (Fuente Opus X), and a shot of Scotch to commemorate the official start of this Adventure!
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