Today is the big day. Or at least, the first big day. Today I set off from Amicalola Falls State Park for the next nine days to take a quick walk up to North Carolina.
For those I haven’t told, I’ll be doing this trip in two legs. (And also on two legs. Get it?) Today I’ll be starting from the AT Approach Trail, and hopefully making it across the NC state line before I have to come back. I’ll be back for a week or so to attend an inaugural banquet at my alma mater, take care of the house while my parents are on vacation, make any final gear adjustments, tie up any and all remaining loose ends, and leave again somewhere around my originally planned departure date of April 20th.
Some of y’all may be wondering, and rightly so, why I’m re-hiking approximately 100 miles of ground that I already covered on my trip last November instead of starting off from Deep Gap, North Carolina like a sensible person would. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, for a thru-hike to “count,” it has to be completed in one calendar year, not one consecutive year. So all the hiking I did in 2015 doesn’t matter if I want to get that coveted “2,000 miler” patch.
A lot of people are also wondering why I’m choosing to hike the approach again. For those of you who don’t know, there’s an 8.5 mile long approach trail that leads out of Amicalola Falls before the actual Appalachian Trail starts. It’s not part of the AT, and not necessary for the completion of a registered thru-hike. But there are two reasons I’m still doing it. For one reason, I like it. I love seeing the Falls, especially this time of year, and the approach is a nice section of trail. For another reason, it’s bragging rights. Southbounders coming from Maine will have hiked the approach to the Katahdin Summit in Baxter State Park, and I’ll catch crap from them if I didn’t do the approach to Springer Mountain on my end as well. Immature and childish? Maybe. Am I still doing eight and a half miles of unnecessary hiking in order to shut them up? Absolutely.
And so it begins. I’ll keep y’all updated as I can for this next week or so before I’m temporarily back and then the REAL trip starts. This is a gorgeous section of trail, so I’ll be posting plenty of pictures and maybe some video. Stay tuned and wish me luck!
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