James’ Dad posting. The first 1.5 miles was a hike up the side of the falls. Fairly steep. Here is the view from the top of the falls.
We hiked 8.5 miles and 2000 feet up from the start to reach the top of Mt. Springer where the Appalachian Trail starts. Tough start to a 2180 mile journey for Jamie when he is at mile 0 and his Dad is already exhausted. But here it all begins.
7.5 miles later we arrive at the Hawks mountain campsite.
The next day we stopped at Bear Gap on our way to the Gooch Mountain campsite.
People are starting to get their trail names. A hiker from California is a little heavy and bearded and he is dubbed Young Santa. Another hiker started out with 7 large sticks of pepperoni in his pack. They kept falling out so he duct taped the 2 foot long ones to his hiking poles. From then on he was Trekaroni. Jamie does not yet have his trail name.
Its commendable to see the range of people who start the AT with the intention of reaching Maine. Most of the “thru hikers” are in their 20s or at retirement age with very few between the ages of 30 and 55. When people asked Jamie’s Dad if he was a thru hiker he answered “Yes – 42 miles and then I am all thru hiking”.
A little sadness. A son and his 73 year old father had set out to thru hike – a lifelong goal of the father. At camp, the Dad had a massive MI. 2 hours until EMTs hiked in, where they gave heparin, Plavix, and nitroglycerin in the field. Amazing camaraderie as 12 of us took turns carrying the wilderness stretcher 1.5 miles to the waiting ambulance and helicopter. Took a little over an hour. Luckily he survived.
The next day was 8 miles to Lance Creek. Hikers encounter people (often church groups) handing out unexpected treats (Trail Magic) along the trail at road crossings. Today was a lucky Trail Magic day. Sausage McMuffins for breakfast and then hot dogs and brownies for lunch. Yum Yum!Here we are at the Top of Mt. Justus after Trail Magic but not quite at Lance Creek
My last day with Jamie was a hike over Blood Mountain – at 4100 feet the tallest point of the AT in Georgia. At the top of the mountain someone took Trail Magic to new heights. They had hauled up a 60 lb. keg of Pilsner. At 10:30 am we had the breakfast smoothie of champions – Beer!!! Mountain was fogged in so no views. Then it was down the hill to Neels Gap where Jamie’s Mom was waiting with more Trail Magic.