by, 03-19-2010 at 03:38 AM (267 Views)
19 March 2010, Hawk Mountain Shelter
Over the past couple of weeks Josh was having some issues shuttling hikers to the Springer Mountain parking lot because over the last month Georgia had been getting record snow falls. With the melting of the snow it caused the forest service road to the parking lot to turn in to nothing but muddy ruts. He has been warning hikers that it might come to a point where he could not drive them up into the parking area; this would mean starting at the Approach trail. The Approach Trail 8.8 mile that precedes the Appalachian Trail (AT) and is not part of the AT, which means it is extra mileage that does not count towards the AT. There are also the much dreaded steps that climb up and over Amicalola Falls. There are over 250 wooden steps, I cannot remember the exact number but it is more miles and steps that I want to climb up just to get to the start of the AT.
The first day I only hiked 8.8 miles to Hawk Mountain Shelter. I could have not asked for better day weather wise. Today Hopper, Mad Mike, Geo, Gypsy Girl and I played leap frog throughout the day until we reached the shelter. The trails here are like highways compared to the trails in New England. At the shelter we ran into other prospective thru hikers, Lobsterman, Dave, Uncas, and Trooper. We counted about 18 people in and around the shelter tonight. After settling in for the night Hopper and I went down to the stream for filter some water. At this time I discovered that my water filter was plugged. Hopper let me use her filter to filter my water.
The trail marking got a little tricky for me around Three Forks. After passing through Three Forks I had a little trouble with the trails branching off from the AT and the Benton MacKaye Trail. The markings too far and in between or I was just missing them.
My left foot started bothering me and I noticed that my hiking boots (old boots) laces had no more room to tighten them. They had become too stretched out. When I pointed this out to Hopper she offered to bring me to REI in Atlanta tomorrow if we could get a ride back to her car. From there she would slack pack me to help me catch up to Mad Mike, Geo and the others. This would also give me time to break in the books before I went back on the trail with a full pack. The term slack packing refers to hiking without a full pack. Usually it is hiking without a pack or with a day pack with the bare minimum of what you need to get to the end of the day where you will get picked up and taken to town, hostel, motel or where ever you are staying or camping. Slack packing is easier on you because you’re not carrying your full pack with it weight and you can usually walk faster and cover more miles.