It’s about time

Good morning everyone! I can actually write a nice post about my hike. It’s about time, I know.  I might even have time to write a couple different ones. 

We started our hike, boots on the ground March 9, at Amicalola Falls State Park, GA at the ceremonious unofficial arch about 9:20am. We climbed the 8.9 mile approach trail, which included over 600 steps past a waterfall. Weather was cloudy but warm. It was a very nice hike. We reached Springer Mountain, Ga, the official southern terminus of the AT that afternoon. It was very exciting. 

We made camp just in time for it to start raining, which it did for the next 3 night and 4 days. There was maybe a day in there without rain, maybe. All was warm though until we entered Neels Gap. By the time we got into Mountain Crossings at mile 31.7 we were cold, wet, hungry and tired. Thank God for Trail Angels. Our friends Jimmy and Sheri met us and Drove us to Gainsville where we met up with Bruce at a hotel to dry out, eat, shower and sleep. We took a zero day the next day with Jimmy and Sheri in a cabin back at Mountain Crossings. 

Next couple days we were blessed with good weather hiking was easygoing. For the most part I have found the trails to be easy. A few steep slopes but nothing like what we have in Maine. As we sit around the shelters and campfires to talk about the days hike it is fun to hear everyone’s perception of the trails difficulty. Blood Mountain is the tallest peak in GA and the morning we were to climb it, the talk was all about its strenuous climb. When Gilligan (Andrew’s trailname) and I got to the top we both commented, “this is it?”  The downhill for me was quite slow as my knee was acting up. It took me an hour and a half to descend. 

Our first hostel stay was at Top of Georgia Hostel about mile 69.9. It was a fabulous stay. The staff were great. The place was clean and neat and very comfy. For $36 you got a bunk with mattress, breakfast the next day, free shuttle to town and to trail and they do your laundry. Upon check in they give you a basket, a towel and a set of scrubs to wear while they take your trail worn attire to be washed. So for the next several hours the place looks like a psycho ward, minus the drilling. We were towards the end of the group checking in so we got to wear our fashionable new duds into town to eat and grocery shop. Town is about 35 minutes away and most of the residents are clueless that a National footpath leading from GA to ME is in their back yard. Eric, a worker at the hostel said many think the hostel is a cult because “weirdos” are driven around town in a van wearing scrubs and doing meanial tasks. They just don’t get it. 

Last night we stayed at a new hostel here in Franklin, NC. As I was lying in my bed, actually on a futon in the living room (I gave the last bedroom to Gilligan and Skipper), it dawned on me that we so easily got into the car of a complete stranger who offered a good place to stay at a good rate. He picked us up at the trail head, brought us to the grocery store which was a mistake. All mom’s know to never go grocery shopping when hungry. Well, NEVER NEVER NEVER go directly to the market after spending 4 days out on the trail. I bought enough to feed Gilligan and myself and also the hostel owner and two other hikers, for $10 each. 

Well, it’s time to start packing up and make plans for the day. Stay tuned there is much more to come. Haven’t even shared some of the funny stories yet. 

Happy Hiking

Black Bear / Ursa Minor

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.