Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Approach Trail at Amicalola Falls State Park

Approach Trail to the A.T.

So on April 30th we begin the 8.5 mile approach trail at Amicalola Falls State Park where we set off for Springer Mountain on our 2174 mile journey to Maine.

This picture requires a bit of disclaimer, though. We registered at the trail head a day early an snapped this photo, so we'd have something to post back to the site. Our packs are also not loaded with the food we are bringing, so they are filled slightly less than they actually will be. Also, the sign is a bit outdated, so the distance to Katahdin, Maine is a bit slighted.

2007 Thru-Hiker Register

As hopeful thru-hikers, we were #596 and #597 who registered at the Amicalola Falls State Park Approach Trail, the traditional route to the AT's southern terminus. We're told that an approximately equal number of hikers get to the terminus via a .9 mile fire road trail and register at Springer.

That means only about 1200 hikers are registered this year, which seems to be a bit lower than normal.

When registering, we were surprised how many people had ginormous pack weights recorded by their names. Our packs came in at 9 lbs. before food, and in our quick glance of the register, there was only one other hiker whose pack was in the neighborhood at 12 lbs. The rest of the notebook was filled with 25, 40 and 55 pound packs. In the short time we were at the visitor center, we actually met 2 people who were ending their hikes with only a few miles on the trail. It seems like these monster packs can certainly make hiking tough. I can relate since that's exactly what I was carrying until 3 years ago.

Lauren said she thinks most people won't even take us seriously or will think we're not responsibly prepared just because it isn't difficult to walk under our loads. Even though lightweight backpacking gear isn't really all that new, I bet she's right.

Anyway, it's 1:35am on the eve of our hike, and I'm ready to rock! I need some sleep first though.

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