[at-l] Four Years Ago Today

Allen Freeman allen at allenf.com
Mon Mar 18 06:50:39 CDT 2013

Four years ago today, I woke up at The Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega,
Georgia, ate a big breakfast, got a shuttle to Amicalola Falls State
Park, signed in, checked out Earl Shaffer's backpack and boots that
were on display there, and started up the Approach Trail to the summit
of Springer Mountain.

This year I've got Springer Fever really bad. It's actually making it
difficult for me to get my work done every day. My wife tries to
understand, but she doesn't really get it.


Wednesday 3/18/2009
AT Miles = 2.8
Other Miles = 8.8
Total Miles = 11.6

Today was a perfect day to start a thru-hike. After days and days of
rain, today was warm and sunny with a bit of haze. After a hearty
breakfast at the Hikers Hostel in Dahlonega, six hikers piled into the
truck to be shuttled to the trail. Only two of us had chosen to hike
the Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park. The trail starts
at the stone arch behind the Visitors Center, then follows the paved
trail up along the falls, which includes seven hundred and something
stairs. Whew!

After I got out of the state park the trail turned quiet and lovely.
It is quite different than New England, which I think of as mud,
roots, and rocks. Here the trail was dry and smooth for easy walking.
It was only the elevation gain that made the hiking hard.

I left Amicalola Falls at about 10:20 and arrived at the summit of
Springer Mountrain at 1:50, much faster than I expected. I hadn't yet
picked a final goal for the day. I could have stopped at the Springer
Mountrain Shelter just 0.2 miles from the summit, but with about 6
hours of daylight left it seemed that pushing on a little further made
sense, so I continued on the 2.8 miles to here, Stover Creek Shelter.

It's about 6:30 now. We've got blue skies and a gentle breeze, and the
evening is starting to cool off. My hammock is hung out behind the
shelter, and I think it is going to be wonderful sleeping weather
tonight; fresh and chilly.

There is a fire going started by one of the other hikers. There are a
half dozen hikers in the shelter, a few in tents 50 yards away, and me
in my hammock.

The weather forecast I saw this morning before leaving the hostel
called for a 30% chance of rain tomorrow, then sunny and warm for the
rest of the week.

While hiking today I was thinking that so far this feels like just
another weekend hiking trip. I wonder how long it will be before it
starts transitioning from a hiking trip into a life-style.


Allen F. Freeman
allen at allenf.com

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to
the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the
-Edward Abbey

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