Georgia AT 2010

Mary and Keith hiked most of the Georgia por­tion of the Appa­lachian Trail back in early May 2010. We stayed at the Hiker Hostel near Dahlonega each night and drove/​shuttled to and from the trail­heads each day. So, we were slack­pack­ing, which is the best way to hike the AT if you can do it. You get a hot shower and a soft bed every night.

The scenery in northern Georgia doesn’t com­pare to that in the Rockies. The most memor­able aspects of this trip were the good people we met, includ­ing the six from Frank­lin­ton, Loui­si­ana, with whom we hiked every day.

As usual, click on a photo to enlarge it.

Day 1: Sunday, May 2

We were fortunate to have six great hiking com­panions from Frank­lin­ton, Loui­si­ana, who hap­pened to be do­ing the same hike we were do­ing. The first photo shows the Gang of Six at the top of Springer Moun­tain, where the trail begins. Clock­wise from the upper left: Robby, Bill, Glenn, Steve, Fred, and Raymond.

Top of Springer MountainRaymondFredSteveGlennRobbyBill End of first day, Horse Gap

As I recall we hiked 10 to 11 miles the first day — a good warm-up.

Day 2: The weather forecast predicted thunder­storms for Monday; so, Mary left her camera behind. The weather that day was prob­ably the best hiking weather we had all week. No storms. No rain at all after we started the hike.

Day 3: Tuesday, May 4

The third day included a strenuous climb up Blood Moun­tain. At the Blood Moun­tain shelter we en­countered a through-​hiker called Ladybird, with whom Mary struck up a con­versa­tion. Ladybird (Ashley Ravestein) is an ultra-​runner from Los Angeles, who runs 50-​mile and 100-​mile races. She is only hiking the AT this year because she knew she couldn’t finish the Continental Divide Trail in time for her sister’s wedding. Mary and I drafted behind her on the way down to Neel’s Gap. Our six friends from Frank­lin­ton were sur­prised at how far ahead of them we finished that day, but we were really moving to keep up with Ladybird.

Bill, Steve, and Robby Great View Near top of Blood Mountain Blood Mountain Shelter Keith climbing rocks Ladybird Neel’s Gap

In Colorado two years ago we encountered an interest­ing Australian fellow on the trail but neglected to get his name or take a photo­graph of him. I was think­ing of him as Mary chatted with Ladybird, and I didn’t make the same mis­take again.

Day 4: Wednesday, May 5

Day 4 was a short day, which left more time for play in the after­noon. All of us cooled our heels in a local creek, and some of us cooled more than our heels.

Keith and Mary near Hogpen Gap Bill, Steve, and Raymond Robby gets wet

Day 5: Mary chose not to carry a camera on the fifth day. So, we have no photos, but we walked about 14 miles.

Day 6: Friday, May 7

Day 6 was our longest day — 17 miles. It’s good to save the long­est day for last, be­cause you get stronger each day you hike. It would have been a really good day if the tem­pera­ture had been 10 °F to 15 °F cooler.

Day 6 was also the day when we encountered the most inter­esting wild­life: a small timber rattle­snake, which Bill nearly stepped on. Later that day while Mary and Keith were hiking ahead of the group, Keith heard another rattle­snake buzz once off to the left, but neither of us saw it. A few steps farther down the trail, Mary saw the word RATTLER scratched into the dirt. A little later we met the hiker who had scratched out the warn­ing. He told us he had had an experi­ence there almost iden­tical to Bill’s.

View of the trail View of the trail with guys Rattlesnake Rattlesnake Robby Robby, Bill, Raymond, Fred, and Steve Steve