Sunday: First Hike Up

The Appalachian Trail begins at the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends at the top of Katahdin in Maine.

We started this sabbatical hike at the Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park on a beautiful sunny day. This 8.8 mile trek climbs 1,982 feet to the top of Springer Mountain, which stands at an elevation of 3,782 feet.

The journey of a lifetime begins with a single step… or literally a whole slew of steps up a waterfall.

Then down from the peak to Springer Mountain Shelter Stover Creek Shelter (2,916 feet) where we took our packs off, ate dinner, and then slept in the bottom bunk with a hiker from Australia by way of Scotland, Scotty Roo, on the opposite bottom bunk and a couple other hikers in the loft. After a total of 11.6 miles of hiking, I slept well.

Highlights of the day:

  • The waterfall, its mist, and the 600+ stairs up – what a feat of engineering
  • Chatting with Louise, an octogenarian out for a constitutional
  • Top of Springer – the history as well as the view
  • Learning I should keep my mini Sayer water filter in the tent or sleeping bag so it doesn’t freeze
  • Helping a less-than-prepared hiker with her piezo-igniter stove (I had mixed feelings about touching her stuff after she barfed next to the shelter – Yay Dr Bronner’s!)


This post was updated to reflect the correct shelter. Apparently, confusion is indeed one of the first signs of hypothermia.

Today we hike!

We drove about 1,100 miles from TX to GA in about 17 hours to get in position. We stayed in Helen, GA and today we drop the car at up the trail and a dude picks us up and drops us at the state park in Amicolola.

Highlights from the drive –

  • Bridges along I-10 – it’s no wonder that interstate shuts down so much. It was actually still closed for a brief stretch in Houston.
  • Swanky gas station privies
  • Gorgeous moon rises – huge full moon all orange and mesmerizing
  • Listening to the Bruins pull out a win the Habs in overtime