View Full Version : SPRINGER TO NEEL'S...in 2 1/2 days

06-09-2011, 14:19
Well, I got back last Wednesday from doing this trip with my dad and bro-in-law. I am glad to say I made it, but it was tough. I wanted to share a few things from our trip that would have been helpful to me. Some of you experts probably will laugh at some of this, but hopefully it will help some. First of all I will start by saying none of us are avid expert hikers. That being said, we all have ran multiple marathons, and exercise regularly. We are 30, 34, 54 yrs old im the 34.
We started at springer mtn parking lot. Shuttle from wes wesson was great and affordable. we had went from amnicola to top of springer and back down all in one day last summer. Thats 17.6 miles so we thought we were ok to do the 13 or so a day to neels. Once out, we hiked from parking lot, back to top of springer and back down and then started NOBO. 1st day was great, it was super hot last week, highs in the 90's, but we were ok. The falls at 3 forks (i think thats it) was nice, not fall to walk and good lunch spot. That evening we were planning on hiking to top of sassafrass MTN and camping. We knew that there wasnt water on sassafrass, but thought that there was some betweem hawk mtn and sassafrass, we were wrong. Hawk mtn shelter is last water until 4 miles past top of sassafras. Now about sassafras. Before going, we had read and heard about Blood mtn being tough. IMHO, sassafras makes bllod seem tiny. Going north bound, sassafras was by far our toughest climb of the trip. Views were nice at the top, but bugs and gnats were aweful at the camp site. Next day was fine, up and down all day. Like I said, we went up and down springer in one day, that didnt come close to comparing to the hills in this section again IMHO. Camped on Big cedar mtn night 2, this was also a tough climb coming out of Woody gap. Camp sites were ok but to great, not alot of level places for tent. During day 2 we met a ridge runner and talked to him for a while. We had been using the filter straws to drink, I asked him about drinking the water without filter. He told me that ATC says to filter everything. However I noticed he wasnt filtering and he said he didnt. So here was mistake #1. We stopped filtering. Everything was great until the night we got back home. 2 of us were sick for 4 days. IDK if it was due to water or not, but i'll never chance it again. Anyway, back to the trail. Blood mtn was beautiful from the top. We talked to a couple of GATC members who were with a group getting ready to restore the shelter on top. Had some nce stories. Coming down the north side of blood was very rocky. can see how thru hikers starting in march would have trouble navigating in wet or icy conditions. Oh yeah, btw, I woke up the last morning to find the straps of my back pack chewed into. We hung our food up everynight, but left our packs down. neither of the other 2 packs were bothered. We used duct tape to make a homemade strap for me to carry pack for ne day, it broke about quarter of a mile from neels. So I suggest hanging ur pack also, and definitely filter all water. We ended up averaging right at 13 miles a day counting going for water and all the extra stuff. It was a wonderful experience, and I think the AT is something everyone should experience. However, dont take water for granted, and there are no small mtn climbs!!!! they are all tough, and coming down can be as bad. I am over the stomach problems, but now have a rash of some sorts spreading over my body. DR has me on 4 meds and says not sure what it is. Biggest thing to reember IMHO is pace urself. Dont push urself to hard early and dont forget to stop and smell the roses. Hope I didnt ramble too much.

06-09-2011, 14:28
Sounds like you had a memorable trip. :-) And an educational one.

The flies and gnats were a huge annoyance last week in NC too. I don't remember water being that hard to find in GA but that's always subject to change. I'm using Aqua Mira most of the time. If it's a piped spring I didn't always filter.

The best solution to overcoming a lack of level places for a tent is to get off the ground. I love the flexibility my hammock provides. I can stop damned near anywhere there are trees.

Red Hat
06-09-2011, 14:55
The longest stretch in GA without water is between Hawk Mountain and Justis Creek. (the one after Sassafrass) You are right that Sassafrass Mtn is harder than Blood. Not sure why Blood has the reputation, other than its name. The ridgerunner probably said that the ATC recommends either filtering or chemically treating your water. Your stomach problems are still more likely from dirty hands than dirty water. The rash you have is most likely poison ivy, since it is profuse in that area now.