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  1. #1

    Default North Georgia road sitrep 2/7-12/06...

    Okay, I've planned to leave to go to Georgia tomorrow, for my last bit of preparations for my thruhike starting next weekend. My mother and sister are freaking out over the possibility of some snow and ice on the roads in Atlanta (and GA points north, such as access roads to Amicalola) over the span of Tuesday Feb. 7 - Sunday Feb. 12th. They think it will likely be undriveable and/or the GA State Highway Patrol may even close some highways. Now, I've lived easily 8 of the last 11 years in Minnesota & Wisconsin, doing much driving/walking/living in snow and subzero temps, so I think they're grossly overreacting. Can anyone living in and around Atlanta/further north in Georgia weigh in here with a realistic assessment of whether or not I'll have a road access problem to/in Atlanta, and to Amicalola during the 2/7 - 2/12/2006 time period? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Doting Membrane Skidsteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    Okay, I've planned to leave to go to Georgia tomorrow, for my last bit of preparations for my thruhike starting next weekend. My mother and sister are freaking out over the possibility of some snow and ice on the roads in Atlanta (and GA points north, such as access roads to Amicalola) over the span of Tuesday Feb. 7 - Sunday Feb. 12th. They think it will likely be undriveable and/or the GA State Highway Patrol may even close some highways. Now, I've lived easily 8 of the last 11 years in Minnesota & Wisconsin, doing much driving/walking/living in snow and subzero temps, so I think they're grossly overreacting. Can anyone living in and around Atlanta/further north in Georgia weigh in here with a realistic assessment of whether or not I'll have a road access problem to/in Atlanta, and to Amicalola during the 2/7 - 2/12/2006 time period? Thanks.
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    ...Or is it Hiker Trash? Almost There's Avatar
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    Well, I am supposed to be up there with Dances to send you off, and while there was snow today up that away, I don't think the roads will be unpassable. It is supposed to be sunny the rest of the week and in the 40's. There may well be snow or ice on USFS 42, but if there is it will probably only show itself within a mile of the Springer Lot, in other words, we won't know until we head up on Saturday. Hopefully someone closer to Springer will chime in, but without having been up there that is my best guess. FYI no schools closed in Georgia today, which means snow wasn't that bad.
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    Registered User Dances with Mice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    ... I think they're grossly overreacting....
    Could that be a family trait? Whatever is the basis for their concern? They appear to have information unavailable to the general public.

    AT & I were planning to meet at Springer Sat afternoon & arrange a shuttle between us. We'll meet you at Black Gap or the Springer summit or somewhere. We'll figure it out, it's a long but not very wide trail.
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    Registered User awol's Avatar
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    I assume based on you previous posts you are gonna hike the approach to Springer. The road to Amicalola will be no problem. Once you hike up and get above about 3000 ft it may all be melted or it could be a beautiful winter-wonderland! I drove up and walked about in mid-Dec to the Springer lot and was much surprised to find 1/2 to 3/4 inch ice covering everything. But it was beautiful and made my weekend stay more interesting! The ATL is famous for tremendous over-reaction to winter precip.

  6. #6

    Default Thanks, Almost, Skidsteer...

    Uh, BTW, Almost There, I'm planning on leaving from Amicalola. It's fairly important to me as a HMOHer and a purist that I do every foot of the Trail if at all possible on my thruhike, considerihg the Approach Trail as part of the AT, as it indeed once was. I had thought you and Dances With Mice would do something along the lines of hiking with me to Black Gap or Springer shelter the first day, and then to somewhere near Hawk Mtn. shelter the second night. BTW, could you PM me with either your or Dances' phone #?

  7. #7
    Registered User awol's Avatar
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    I also may be up there hiking about this WKND, maybe I'll see y'all, I look kind of like my avatar!

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    You'll be fine on those roads, MN!

    Good Luck!
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    Uh, BTW, Almost There, I'm planning on leaving from Amicalola. considerihg the Approach Trail as part of the AT, as it indeed once was.
    There is some snow and ice up here but no problems getting to the Park. The road to Springer I will report on tomorrow. I am driving it in the A.M.

    As to the quote. Does anyone have a map or know how the old trail went. I have heard the above a few time as of late. But over the years and in talking to the rangers at the park, have been told that the trail in the park was not part of the old trail. I was told it tied in around the shelter on the approach trail. Just wandering.
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    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    I believe you are correct that the approach trail is simply that - a trail to get you to the current beginning of the AT. The AT once started on MT Oglethorpe, a bit SW of Springer and quite W of Amicolola.

    One does the approach trail out of a desire to share the tradition of lots of other hikers, since Oglethorpe was closed. There is nothing really purist about it - unless you really just have to follow in the footsteps of Bill Bryson, the ultimate purist.

  11. #11
    Cool Change - Donating Member drsukie's Avatar
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    Hiking the approach trail is nice, and admirable, and an extra day, but gorgeous at any time of year. Especially if you take the time, hike over to the Hike Inn, stay the night, and head on to the AT the next morning.

    I've done it full once, and parts of it twice - and on NYE this year, with 60 degree temps. I've "blue-blazed" it -- started once at the "real start" at the bottom once, the second time starting at the Lodge after a wonderful brunch. It is NOT part of the AT and never was....

    I consider it gravy miles -- although all of us who have hiked it realize, with a full pack, it is not gravy, and as such, I do not mind NOT hiking it for my thruhike this Spring! Sue
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    Registered User Dances with Mice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PROFILE
    There is some snow and ice up here but no problems getting to the Park. The road to Springer I will report on tomorrow. I am driving it in the A.M.

    As to the quote. Does anyone have a map or know how the old trail went. I have heard the above a few time as of late. But over the years and in talking to the rangers at the park, have been told that the trail in the park was not part of the old trail. I was told it tied in around the shelter on the approach trail. Just wandering.
    I don't have a map of the route. The descriptions I find indicate the original AT was close to the present day Approach Trail to the Falls.

    From "Friendships of the Trail", 1930 - 1980, p. 189:
    "The following 'recommendation for changing the southern terminus' of the Trail was presented to the (AT) Conference meeting in May (1958) by Henry Morris:

    .... That the soutern terminus of the Appalachian Trail be changed to Springer Mountain, which is not accessible by road. That the trail from the summit of Springer Mountain south to Amicalola Falls (approximately 7 miles) be maintained as an approach trail with the blue blazes, and that the section from Amicalola Falls to Mt. Oglethorpe (approximately 16 miles) which is on privately owned land, be abandoned.

    From the same book, the GATC maintained a shelter on Frosty Mtn. So the footpath went from Springer over Frosty and past the Falls in the Park.

    So according to this source, the original AT covered 7 miles from Springer to the Falls, doesn't say top or bottom of the Falls. If we assume the top and add another mile from there to the Visitor Center, then you've got the present-day 8'ish mile Approach Trail. That doesn't mean the footpath hasn't been relo'd here or there over the years.
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  13. #13
    Registered User hacksaw's Avatar
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    Re: The historic AT from Springer Mtn to Mt. Oglethorpe (Originally Grassy Bald, the southernmost "Bald" of the Blue Ridge Mtns.. Renamed in the early 1930's by the Georgia Legislature to honor James Oglethorpe, the first English Colonial Governor of Georgia at the insistance of Sam Tate, local robber baron and owner of the Georgia Marble Co. Who comissioned and donated the marble obelisk that dominated the skyline from the late thirties until the mid nineties when it was removed ,restored and erected near the Pickens County Courthouse in downtown Jasper.)

    After much research on the original route of the AT from Springer to Mt. O. and having hiked as much of the route as I could find and get permission to walk, maybe 15 %of it, I think I can speak up here.

    The old section did indeed use much of the same treadway as the current Approach trail. It was not the same route that you walk today in many places, but that is mostly due to the practise of changing the route periodically to allow impact recovery on well beaten down areas.

    The 1948 version that Earl Scheaffer hiked left Oglethorpe and wandered aimlessly over 30 odd miles of cut over timberland in VERY backwoods Pickens, Gilmer and Dawson Counties to join the current aproach trail about a quarter mile from the falls near the current visitor's center at a point that is not currently used by either AT or Approach.

    Since that 30 miles is mostly in the hands of private landowners it is not practical to attempt to hike it, and since it is in NO WAY maintained, mapped, or in many instances even acknowledged to ever having existed I don't see how it (or the current version of the Approach trail) could be even remotely tied to a "proper" purist hike or considered as Thru Hike Miles. The Appalachian Trail's Southern Terminus is Springer Mountain and has been since 1958.

    I currently live about two miles from Mt. Oglethorpe on land whose sale to the first developer in part led to the relocation of the Terminus to Springer Mountain and that is primarily why I did the research. It was very difficult to find any printed reference materials locally, and I discovered that the best and most complete information was contained in the ATC guidebooks of the late forties and early 1950's. Even with a pretty fair Idea of the trail AND with some local knowledge I am only confident of about forty percent of the old route but as time permits I still work on putting the whole thing together but I am sure that a complete walking guide would not be possible. Private property ownership would not permit it even if one could find it.

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    Registered User Speer Carrier's Avatar
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    Default Snow

    I was on forest service roads 28, 42 and 77 in the Springer/Three Forks area today for trail maintenance. We encontered at most one inch of snow in the most shady areas at the higher elevations. It presented no problem for driving. You'll be fine.

  15. #15

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    If you're into hiking old AT, there's lots of it out there, but you wont be considered a purist.

  16. #16
    ...Or is it Hiker Trash? Almost There's Avatar
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    Heck, the BMT up around Springer down to Three Forks is the original AT, if you look closely you can still find where the blazes were cut into the trees.
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  17. #17

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    Doesn't the Approach Trail make for a continuousness?

    It doesn't see right to weigh your pack and then skip ahead.

    Also, that archway is a nice spot to start.

  18. #18
    Registered User hacksaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lobster
    Doesn't the Approach Trail make for a continuousness?

    It doesn't see right to weigh your pack and then skip ahead.

    Also, that archway is a nice spot to start.

    Since the Appalachian Trail's Southern Terminus is OFFICIALLY the summit of Springer Mountain I don't understand how you can consider the Visitors Center at Amicalola Falls S. P. the actual starting point. To weigh your pack on the fish scale and then go on to Springer Mountain (By whatever means or method) seems no more like "skipping ahead" than getting off the Train, Bus, or Plane and catching a shuttle instead of going out your front door with your pack on your back and walking to Springer. (Considering that the AT has a recognised beginning and ending point, the beginning is the beginning, anything you do before that is exclusive).

    That said, the Arch IS a very nice spot to begin hiking, and (from my personal experience) the Approach trail is a very good training trail. I will use it several times before I begin a planned 2008 thru hike from Springer Mountain (which, by the way, is the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail).

    Hacksaw

  19. #19

    Default wheres lone wolf when you need a,who cares?

    who cares? the official trail starts in my house.

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