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  1. #1
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    Default 2 day 1 night trip in Georgia advice needed

    Hi all, looking to start backpacking the Georgia section of the AT and need some advice for a short trip. We would drive up early Saturday morning and start hiking after dropping vehicles and/or catching shuttles (hopefully start hiking around 9am and stop Sunday evening). I am looking at the following starting and stopping points below, but nor sure how to break this up. We will be coming from NE Atlanta.

    A. Approach to Hightower (park 1 car at each location)
    B. Springer to gooch (park 1 car and grab a shuttle)
    C. Approach to cooper(park 1 car and grab a shuttle)
    D. Springer to woody (park 1 car at each location)

  2. #2
    Registered User ElCid94's Avatar
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    10-04-2015
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    Who is "we?" Woody Gap is a more scenic finish than any of your other options and 21 miles is not too much for two days, but you would likely stay at Hawk Mountain Shelter leaving 12.3 miles on the second day. Without knowing you condition or the composition of your party, it is difficult to venture a guess as to whether you would enjoy that 12 miles. If you try it and find it is too much, you could always drop your packs near USFS 42 (you will cross it 3 times after Hawk Mountain Shelter) and then slack pack to the car at Woody Gap before driving back to retrieve your packs. I have no experience with the approach trail. Saving it for a future thru.


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  3. #3
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    "we" is me and my wife, we're both in good shape, just new to backpacking. I would like to complete the Georgia section by the end of summer, but know that we should start small hints the 2 day/1night. This would also be preparing us (hopefully) for an upcoming Half Dome hike in Yosemite later this year.

  4. #4

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    I'd say do the "D. Springer to Woody (park 1 car at each location)" option with the qualifier that being in good shape and being in hiking/backpacking shape are two different things. As an alternate you could also park at Woody and shuttle to Springer.

    You stated that you and your wife are new to backpacking, and that you are from Florida. Your current pack-weight comes in to play. Also, there are precious few places in Fla that are as challenging as the terrain you will be covering whichever section you choose to do. Just something to keep in mind.

    Good luck! My wife and I hope to finish the GA portion of the AT by the end of Feb (we're to Unicoi Gap so far).

  5. #5

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    My son and I did Gooch Cap to Amicalola last summer. You can park at Amicalola and shuttle to Gooch Gap. Day one hike to Stover Creek Shelter, 13 miles. Day two climb Springer, then down to Amicalola, 11 miles. Nice hike, not too strenuous. The downhill from Springer is tough on the knees but not bad.

  6. #6
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    How much did the shuttle cost?

  7. #7
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    I'd just drive to lil further and do the standing Indian loop. 24 mile loop no shuttle needed...


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  8. #8
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    Sounds like you really want to start "at the beginning" as the first step towards completing the Georgia AT, then continuing north. I felt the same way. I started at the Approach Trial in 2007. Last July I made it to Damascus. IE, I'm pulling for you. Plus, I grew up in Florida, though I've lived in Georgia since 1979.

    You are 31 and "in good shape." Those are good statistics, compared to some of us! But walking uphill for long distances with a pack in rain or under a tough sun can be a demoralizing experience, especially to a newcomer. If you are the stronger hiker of the two - and if you want to err on the side of maximizing the chances that your spouse will enjoy the experience, begin at Springer and end at Woody Gap. The first part of the trip is just wonderful - downhill, a waterfall, a fun shelter (Stover Creek) to take a break in, etc. The second part is tougher, but that's what you're here for!

    I did that same section two years ago in May. We fixed dinner at Hawk Mountain Shelter but then hiked further north, camping at Horse Gap, to get away from the crowd. That worked well, though Horse Gap is not the loveliest place on the planet. There are plenty of good tenting sites all along the trail in that part of Georgia.

    Part of the fun of a backpacking trip is talking to your companions to and from the trail. So I'd prefer to take one car and set up a shuttle. There are many, many good shuttle services around.

    Have fun!

  9. #9
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    Not sure where Florida is coming from as I'm from Louisiana and currently live in Atlanta. I would love to do Springer to Woody, just worried about the timing with an early Saturday morning start and Sunday evening finish. Would have to cover about 11 miles/day

  10. #10
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    My first overnight on the AT was a 2 day section hike from Woody Gap to Amicalola (~28 miles).

    Day 1: I parked my car at the top of the falls lot and took a shuttle to Woody Gap. Hiked 15 miles and camped at Long Creek Falls.
    Day 2: Hiked 13 miles from Long Creek Falls back to the top of the falls parking lot at Amicalola.

    I loved camping at Long Creek Falls since usually its packed with day hikers and for once I was able to enjoy it by myself once all the day hikers left late in the day.

  11. #11
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    I might suggest choice E as you are working out locations and gear for this trip. Springer to Justus Creek. It's a little shorter, gives more time to work things out, but gives a really good sense of how FS 42 works. You could do this with 2 cars or a shuttle. Sure, you aren't "knocking out" as much of the trail, but this section takes a little figuring out and is worth the time. The parking for Justus Creek is just east of Cooper Gap about a mile or so. There is a turn out to the left that has some parking and a bar blocking a fire road. There is a trail that comes from the Justus Creek campsites.

    Start at the Springer Parking lot, hike the mile to the top, explore the plaque, the view, walk over to the shelter, the spring below the shelter and check out the Springer campsites. Then back to the parking lot. Head down the trail, enjoy the hike to 3 Forks, maybe take the side trail off to the falls, then on to near Hawk Mountain. There are lots of areas around Hawk Mtn, it gets a lot of use. The next day is a trail forward hike to Justus Creek. Hike up to your car, continue east on FS 42. Stop in Gooch Gap to check it out then on to Suches. Right (south) on GA 60 takes you to Woody Gap where you may want to get out and check out the picnic area. Continue south on 60 to Dahlonega and beyond.

    I'm suggesting a little less mileage and more exploring for future trips. If you get off the trail early enough, you could turn left in Suches and head over to Lake Winfield Scott. This park has two trails heading out to Jarrard Gap and Slaughter Gap for a future next section trip.

    Are you coming from 985 or 575? This can determine how you get to FS 42. And don't underestimate how long it can take to set up your shuttle on FS 42. That can add a couple of hours to your trip.

    When are you headed out?

  12. #12
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    Thanks. We are planning on going one weekend in April, so there still time to figure out how to break it up.

  13. #13
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    I would love to hear how it goes once your trip is over.

  14. #14
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    I will report back. As of now i'm looking at one weekend in April. I think we're going to shoot for Springer to Woody, but things tend to change...

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