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stuffheavystuff
04-23-2004, 21:01
I am ateacher S. of the ATL and looking to hike the Georgia portion of the AT this summer. Can do about ten miles under full load now while training at Blood Mtn, Trey, Cahutta, Pine Mountain, etc.

I need advice on how to set up a GA portion through-hike. (Car drop offs, gear recs for summer, estimated time, crowds, etc.)

Any advice/comments are welcome.

2Ply
04-23-2004, 21:12
I also live in Ga and teach school. There are three of us at http://www.georgiahikes.com that are planning a June 1 start on Springer and heading north to Bly Gap. Check out the thread on 04 AT hike.

Happy 21 working days! :banana

flyfisher
04-23-2004, 22:23
There are a number of people who offer shuttles near Springer that could work out the details with you. The Companion (ALDHA) has many of their names, as does the shuttle list at the ATC site.

Parking is free, once you get into Amacola Falls. One of the Shuttle providers could shuttle you from there to Deep Gap (82 m north of Springer) in NC, I'm quite sure.

They may know good parking in Georgia too. If you want to park at the north, there is (I think free) parking at Deep Gap.

snuffleupagus
04-23-2004, 22:54
I did a similar hike last year from Springer Mt, to Franklin NC.
To start with, there are two approaches you can take to the summit of Springer Mt. Both are reasonable out-takes, IMHO. Firstly, you can take the approach trail from the Visitor Center at Amicalola Falls State Park. Itís about eight and a half miles long(pretty steep and rocky). I believe most people find it a good warm up hike, and it will give you some idea of what you are up against. Or, you can have someone drop you off at the at the parking area via USFS road 42. From here you will have to hike about a mile and a half southbound along the AT to reach the Springer summit to sign the first official registry. From this point youíre off and running. At a ten mile a day pace, which is somewhat ideal for most, youíll reach Walasi Yi Hiker Hostel at Neels Gap, about four to five days from Springer Mt. From Neels Gap itís another four to five days to the NC state line. Now again, if you are only hiking the Ga. section, you have two options. Hike on seven miles northbound to Deep Gap at USFS rd 71, where you can wait for your ride, or hike back nine miles to U.S. hwy 76, to wait for your ride. In either case expect to carry an extra days worth of food. In all, thatís about a ten to twelve day hike (for a ten mile a day pace) give or take a day. For such a hike (summer heat), I would pack light, carry four to five days of food to Neels Gap, and re-supply for eight or ten days at Walasi-Yi center. Water is fairly abundant along the trail. Bugs may be a problem so pack accordingly. The larger groups of thru-hikers run from late Feb thru the middle of May, but Iíve read that this section of trail gets a lot of use during summer monthís. Be prepared for a lot of social interaction. Your gear selection is totally up to you. I wouldnít expect night time temps to reach lower than fifty or sixty degrees in summer. A nice tarp, or star gazing tent may prove quiet worthy on clear nights. Other than leaving your car at Amicalola Falls State Park, I really canít advise you on this. Maybe someone else can be helpful in this matter.

Youngblood
04-23-2004, 23:15
I am ateacher S. of the ATL and looking to hike the Georgia portion of the AT this summer. Can do about ten miles under full load now while training at Blood Mtn, Trey, Cahutta, Pine Mountain, etc.

I need advice on how to set up a GA portion through-hike. (Car drop offs, gear recs for summer, estimated time, crowds, etc.)

Any advice/comments are welcome.

SHS,

I need to clarify a few things before offering comments or suggestions, so here is my barrage of questions:

Are you talking about hiking all of Georgia in one trip, or are you wanting to do it over several trips?

Are you going solo and need a shuttle or are you going with someone and have two vehicles to use?

Do you want the southern terminus to be Springer Mountain or at Amicalola Falls State Park (this includes the 8.8 mile approach trail)?

Do you want the northern terminus to be Dicks Creek Gap in Georgia or Deep Gap in North Carolina?

What gear do you think you need that you don't already have?

What does your full load currently weigh, not counting food and water?

Does your current ten mile training hikes include several climbs?

Do you have any medical conditions that would effect your hike?

Sorry about all the questions but without knowing a little more I have to make too many assumptions.

Youngblood

hpowers
04-28-2004, 22:27
When I did the Springer - Franklin, NC trip, I left my car at Rainbow Springs Campground and had them shuttle me to Springer for the start. The best part of this is that you are walking toward your car.

Youngblood
04-29-2004, 10:52
Today is 4-29-2004.

This is general information related to hiking the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.

For reference, here are some mileage points of trailheads along the way:

Amicalola Falls SP; 8.8 miles south of Springer.
USFS Road 42 parking area; 0.9 miles north of Springer.
Woody Gap at GA60; 20.0 miles north of Springer.
Neels Gap at US19; 30.7 miles north of Springer.
Testnatee Gap at GA348; 36.2 miles north of Springer.
Hogpen Gap at GA348; 37.1 miles north of Springer.
Unicoi Gap at GA75; 50.7 miles north of Springer.
Dicks Creek Gap at US76; 66.8 miles north of Springer.
*GA/NC border (not a trailhead); 75.4 miles north of Springer.
Deep Gap, NC at USFS Road 71; 82.4 miles north of Springer.

There are many ways in which people hike the Georgia section of the AT and there are numerous options that effect the length of the hike. Where one starts and finishes is a personal choice and usually determines the length, but not always. For instance, some folks end the hike at Dicks Creek Gap because of the logistics of leaving a vehicle at Deep Gap in NC. In this case they could hike on to the GA/NC border and then backtrack to Dicks Creek Gap or they could just end their section at Dicks Creek Gap. A similar situation occurs at the other end of the Georgia section, some folks drive up the forest sevice road and start nearer to Springer Mountain while other folks prefer the logistics and safety of leaving a vehicle in a State Park and start from Amicalola Falls. These are some of the first decisions to be made. A quick look gives 67.7 miles for hiking between the parking area near Springer to Dicks Creek Gap and 91.2 miles for hiking between Amicalola Falls SP and Deep Gap in NC. That is a 23.5 mile difference, so put some thought into those decisions. It's your hike, you get to make those decisions.

Whether you hike it on weekends or two trips or in one trip, those are the principal trailheads. However, they are not the only trailheads. There are lesser used, lesser known trailheads that are typically on USFS roads or even on unimproved dirt/gravel roads. These are best used by folks that are experienced on traveling on these types or roads and have the appropriate vehicles. I believe that the trailheads I listed can be reached with passenger vehicles- only the ones listed as USFS roads are unpaved and the two I mentioned are routinely traversed with passenger vehicles, but be careful as there are pot holes, washboard sections and other hazards that require your undivided attention; also be aware that the conditions of the USFS roads can quickly change, especially in heavy rains or snow- it is very disconcerning to come across holes filled with muddy water where you can't see how deep the hole is when you are in a low ground clearance passenger vehicle.

If you only have one vehicle to use, you will most likely need to arrange a shuttle. The cost may surprise you, keep in mind that they have to come from somewhere, pick you up, take you where you want to go and then return from where they came. What all that means is they typically have to drive a long way on some narrow, twisty and steep roads- it takes a lot of time. The logistics of it is not like taking a taxi in town. There are people who provide shuttles for this area and a few of them post on this web site. If you are interested in a shuttle service, just post asking for information and I suspect you will get enough answers... I don't personally have experience with shuttles but do know of a few people who provide them.

The last time I was at the parking area near Springer Mountain, they had removed the $2/day parking fee, don't know why or if it is going to be permanent. My understanding is that the trailheads that have parking fees accept cash and/or personal check. You will need a pen to fill out some of the parking envelops. The parking fees where $2/ day, where the day is defined as midnight to midnight, so if you leave it there on saturday at 3pm and remove it on sunday at 8am, it is two days or $4. The trailheads that I recall having parking fees are Amicalola Falls SP, Woody Gap, Neels Gap and Dicks Creek Gap. (Amicalola may have a flat $2 fee for AT hikers, I have not done it that way but have heard that if you tell them you are going on the AT that they don't charge you a 'per day' fee for leaving your vehicle.)

Resupply in route is best done on the trail at the outfitter at Neels Gap (Mountain Crossings). They are located on the trail. They have gear, backpacking food, hostel, washing machine, shower and knowledge of the trail and trail related things- they have lots of knowledge, use it. All other food sources/towns are located miles from the trail.

Daily mileages vary... alot. If you don't know have a good idea what your daily mileage should be, then my observation has been that most office workers who are in good shape and get out once or twice a month for 10 mile hikes in the mountains shouldn't count on but about 8 to 10 mile days when backpacking. About backpacks, they tend to be heavy. The heavier they are the more work they are to carry. You will notice this most when going uphill... there are lots of uphill on the Georgia AT.

Hope this helps,
Youngblood

Jaybird
04-29-2004, 11:31
I am ateacher S. of the ATL and looking to hike the Georgia portion of the AT this summer. Can do about ten miles under full load now while training at Blood Mtn, Trey, Cahutta, Pine Mountain, etc.I need advice on how to set up a GA portion through-hike. (Car drop offs, gear recs for summer, estimated time, crowds, etc.)Any advice/comments are welcome.


stuffheavystuff


LOVE the trailname!

If you're in good shape (no matter what your age) & are free of any serious ailments...you should be able to hike the whole GEORGIA section in a week to 10 days with no problems ( to Deep Gap USFS 71= 81 miles) @ average of 10-12 miles per day. :D

My 2002 partner "TeePee" & i did this section in 7 days with no probs.
we both had 40lb backpacks (food & water included). We had a shuttle waiting for us @ Standing Indian Campgrounds (approx 4 miles of "Blue-blazing" on the Kimsey Creek Trail )

Good Luck!

Kerosene
04-30-2004, 13:25
Just another data point, Hikerhead and I started at Amicalola Lodge and finished at Deep Gap (actually 3.7 miles further down the lovely Kimsey Creek Trail to Standing Indian Campground) in 6 full hiking days (three 12-mile days to Neels Gap followed by two 18-mile days to Hiawassee, finishing with an 18+ mile day). We carried 22-30 pounds and had lovely weather earlier in April. We're in reasonable shape, but we're certainly not trailhounds although we're used to the rougher trail bed typical of the Mid-Atlantic states. It certainly helped that we didn't have any rain to speak of, the temperatures were fairly moderate (45-75 degrees daytime), we never carried more than 3 days of food, and we got to get a shower at the ends of days 3 and 5. Actually, I found the Georgia section to be quite a bit easier than the hikes I've done in eastern Vermont and central Virginia the past few years, but maybe I was expecting something tougher.

Youngblood
04-30-2004, 15:34
Actually, stuffheavystuff replied (by mistake) to my barrage of questions by private mail a couple of days ago. I am reposting them here so he can have the advantage of getting more than my opinion.

GA section advice

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Probably to NC to Walasi and then the remaining later. Open to ideas.

With a hiking friend and possible girlfriend too. Being that we live so far SWest of the Tral though we would look into a shuttle idea so we cna go up in one car.

Springer Mountain or at Amicalola Falls State Park? Not sure; advice?

Dicks Creek Gap in Georgia or Deep Gap in North Carolina? Not sure; advice?

What gear do you think you need that you don't already have?
Good pack, bag, poncho, boots, water purifier, stove, etc. We would be sharing a SD Alpha. Name anything you can think of; I am not offended by what may seem obvious.

What does your full load currently weigh, not counting food and water?
50LBS

Does your current ten mile training hikes include several climbs? Not the extent of this area. Did the 4.8 W. Rim loop at Cloudland yesterday. Yes, it was work. Not sure I ready. I usually do Pine Mountain because of my location (it is like 40 minutes away) but it is much flatter.

Do you have any medical conditions that would effect your hike?
No. 35 years old, former Marine, normal build guy. Runs 5Ks, kayaks, bikes, hikes on weekends, etc. Decent shape I guess, but not a fitness fanatic. Love to hike the Blood Mountain are with my girlfriend and we thought it would be cool to do something substantial for a challenge. We have also day hiked alot of VA areas where her family lives (near Waynesboro) If seem stupid for thinking of this, be blunt :) I don't want ot look like an idiot.

Thanks for your time and advice. supplies

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I just reread my response to on gear. I meant to say that I already have several pieces (my trangia stove, Lowa boots, smartwools, pack, bag, etc.) but am open for other ideas for the partial hikes of the AT. Realistically, I think I would like to hike the GA section in two trips

Red Hat
05-03-2004, 09:39
I planned on hiking this 75 mile section during Spring Break this year. Originally, I was going to the NC line and camp, then turn around and hike back to Dicks Gap to rest in Hiawassee. I started on Springer using 42. By the time I got to Hogpen Gap four days later, I was exhausted and needed a break. I got a ride into Helen, which was a fun place to relax for a day or two. If I had more time I would have gotten back on the trail and finished. But now I will go back and do the other part next time out. YOu can read about my trip at www.trailjournals.com/oldkathy. Click on the 2004 AT section. It was fabulous!