Amicalola to Neel Gap
We know you have been waiting very patiently for a post from us as we are on the trail. Wel, here it is!
Our trip to GA was fairly uneventful except for nearly getting into a car crash when someone was going 25mph on the freeway in front of Renee at one point. Good thing for anti-lock breaks! We also visited Russ and Christina Dyck at Jubilee Partners in Comer. That was a fun time reconnecting and aclimatizing to the GA weather. Sticky and warm. Super.
On April 4 we drove from Dahlonega to Amicalola Falls State Park over very windy roads. Once there we registered as thru-hikers and weighed our packs. Alison’s was 46lbs and Renee’s came in at a whopping 49lbs. Ouch. We decided we needed to eat all the way up the mountain in order for us to make it. Unfortunatley we weren’t very hungry. 😦 After settling in we stepped under the archway, took pictures, gave hugs and then shed a few tears. Are we really doing this?! Dad would have taken us up to Springer Mountain if we would have said the word. (yes, you can drive there too. seems unfair)
The first part of the climb was nice and easy…and then came the steps. There was a sign that said 175 steps. We thought: ‘okay, we can do that’. We stopped at nearly every platform. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves when we read another sign…425 steps. WHAT?? You mean 425 MORE steps? As we stepped up every last one of those steps we could see the falls. It was so gorgeous we decided maybe the steps were worth it. We used the real restroom for the last time for awhile and met some section hikers. A mother and daughter.
At 7.3 miles we came to our shelter – Black Gap Shelter. It was a welcome sight. We ended up staying in our tent and several other hikers stayed at the same place, but we didn’t really talk with anyone. The trail to the water source was steep, but we needed water to make supper and breakfast. We have found that filling our 4 liter plastic water tank along with our bottles gets us through the breakfast the next morning and we have some to start the day. We feasted on Knepp noodles that we brought from Schmeckfest. To spice it up we put a power gel in it. Mmm!
The next day we had 1.5 miles to the official start of the AT on Springer Mountain. At the top we took pictures and met some other hikers. Now we will see the white blazes!! (on the approach trail the blazes were blue) Now instead of just up the mountain we were doing some down too. Kinda nice. We stayed in the Hawk Mountain Shelter with about 12 other people. We had a nice chat with Jerry and met John from Australia. So cool. Alison started getting blisters this day. Every toe has it’s own blister. We’re all about equal opportunity here.
The next night we stayed in Gooch Shelter with about 15 people. Included were 3 from New Hampshire. They worked at one of the huts in NH that we will be possibly staying at when we get there. They led hikes last year for youth. They are really nice people. There were about 3 from Maryland we think. They left their frisbee in a parking lot and were missing it at the shelter. We had some food envy as we made our turkey trail dinner for supper. This is also where we discovered that we don’t really like deydrated eggs. That’s too bad cause we have a lot of them! We told mom to take them out of our mail drops.
Because we don’t have a bear canister (basically a bear proof container, not a canister to keep a bear in) we camped short of our goal for the next night. Lance Creek had tent platforms (a raised sandy platform) for us to pitch our tent. We stayed with the same people we were with the night before. It’s amazing how once you stay with people for 2 nights you’re like family. We were so ready to get there, that we collapsed on our tent platform for a few minutes before getting situated for the night. We even had a visit from the Easter Bunny in the morning. We had hoped to get to a service on Easter, but some chocolate from a lady with bunny ears was a pretty close second. 🙂 We did read the crucifixion and Easter stories from the Bible while snuggled in our sleeping bags though.