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  1. #101

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    Here's a question....

    I know there's a registration process at the ranger station at near the start of the Approach. If you start at the top of Springer instead (and backtrack to the first blaze) how do you 'register' as a thru-hiker?

    tf
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  2. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle Feet View Post
    Here's a question....

    I know there's a registration process at the ranger station at near the start of the Approach. If you start at the top of Springer instead (and backtrack to the first blaze) how do you 'register' as a thru-hiker?

    tf
    Not really sure??????? I guess so long as you register here, with Mountain Squid, you should be good to go!
    Don't Die Before You've Had A Chance To Live!

  3. #103

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    register at neels gap

  4. #104
    Registered User WaitingInTheWeeds's Avatar
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    Default Helps to be flexible...

    Grumble, grumble...looks like I have to push back my start date a teenie bit. My dad is coming home from Kuwait and wants to spend some time here before he has to go back. On the upside it gives me a chance to spend some time with him and collect an extra paycheck. On the downside it gives me less of a margin of error if I want to make it to Katahdin on time before the park closes...I swear if I get there and the park is closed I'm gonna punch a moose in the face; wait didn't I see that somewhere before.... My new tentative start date is April 14th or 15th.
    "Smile if you have crusty undies!" - My Mom

  5. #105
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingInTheWeeds View Post
    Grumble, grumble...looks like I have to push back my start date a teenie bit. My dad is coming home from Kuwait and wants to spend some time here before he has to go back. On the upside it gives me a chance to spend some time with him and collect an extra paycheck. On the downside it gives me less of a margin of error if I want to make it to Katahdin on time before the park closes...I swear if I get there and the park is closed I'm gonna punch a moose in the face; wait didn't I see that somewhere before.... My new tentative start date is April 14th or 15th.
    I wouldn't give finishing a second thought, when you haven't even started.

  6. #106
    Registered User BOATS's Avatar
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    I agrree with most. I did the Georgia section a couple of weeks ago. Stated at the falls even though I told myself that I was not doing Blue's. I did not want to miss the falls and am glad I did the approach. It is not a hard hike but it is not easy either when packed with winter gear. Stayed the first night (started late afternoon) on Frosty mtn and made it to Black Gap shelter first light next AM for breakfast. Water was a little scarce. Trail from black gap to the terminus is nothing but up hill but not bad. There is also a reason why they call a hill Blood Mountain. The scabs on my knees are proof. Had to get back home for family reasons and postpone my thru hike for now Good luck!!!

  7. #107
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    after reading all these, I've decided I'll do the Approach Trail. With all the miles we're going to do anyway, what's a few more? And it makes it easier on my driver...

  8. #108
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    Since I am paying a friend gas money to get me there and back, It is cheaper for me to do the approach trail. Plus, what is one extra bit of hiking when there are 2k+ miles left to go?

  9. #109
    Registered User WaitingInTheWeeds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muzzy View Post
    Since I am paying a friend gas money to get me there and back, It is cheaper for me to do the approach trail. Plus, what is one extra bit of hiking when there are 2k+ miles left to go?
    ..agreed..and who wouldn't want to start the trail w/ a waterfall.

    Like many others, for me its a matter of convenience. My plan is to leave my car at Amicalola until I can get back to it in October. I realize the potential for vandalism exists, but does anyone know if it is really a problem at Amicalola? If so, I many need to rethink things. (sorry my ? is a bit off topic)
    "Smile if you have crusty undies!" - My Mom

  10. #110

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    I thought I already put my boyfriend on the list for 2011 NOBOs yesterday. He started on the 13th on the approach trail and just finished the Smokies. My post from yesterday seems to have vanished. His name is Rockhound and he is having a great hike. Could you add him to the list Mountain Squid?

  11. #111

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    I am doing the approach trail. I like the idea of starting the AT from the top- with out back-tracking. I am in no hurry- so why not?

  12. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by DapperD View Post
    You can do anything that you feel, it's your hike! I think the trail from the visitor's center at Amicalola was changed to a series of stairs that need to be ascended in order to reach the top of the falls. I think from what I understand something like 425? I guess some say it is really not that hard. If you don't want to begin by having to climb all those stairs right at the start, from what I learned if you are being driven to Amicalola you can bypass them by being driven to the top of the falls and you can then pick up the Approach Trail from that point, and begin your journey to Springer Mountain from there. You can also backtrack to Springer. The choice is yours. If you are not worried about not beginning at the stone archway at the visitor's center, and don't worry about what other hikers think, begin where you choose to. The official Southern Terminus for the AT is at Springer, so it really doesn't matter which route you choose to get there.
    The old approach trail is now called the east ridge trail. The new trail goes up the waterfall 729ft. There are 604 stairs to climb to get to the top of the waterfall.

  13. #113

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    I posted the wrong way sorry. The old approach trail goes around the waterfall and comes out at the top of the waterfall. This trail is now called the East Ridge Trail. The New Approach Trail goes up the 729ft waterfall and has 604 stairs to get to the top. I hope that clears things up for everyone.

  14. #114
    Registered User art gypsy's Avatar
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    I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it. I have hiked it twice and have some beautiful pics posted on trail journals. I hiked it in the snow in Dec. Since it will be raining this time and I have already delayed my start by 4 days, I will skip it this time.

  15. #115

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    So, for you purists, think about this: If you ride up FS42 and hike the .9 to Springer, you actually start hiking the AT at the parking lot.

  16. #116
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    Default my first post here....

    poking around on the internet can lead you to sites you don't originally start out for....which is how I find myself reading this topic today. I bet there are other older discussions on this same subject, but I just got here and haven't looked around too much yet.

    I have never thru hiked the AT. It's an appealing idea for me, but not something I can schedule to do. However, I have backpacked some over the years. Usually two, three, four day stuff. And I've spent some time in the area of Amicalola Falls State Park. Back sometime around 1975, two uncles took me there for my first experience. A section from the park (including the approach) on to Unicoi gap. Five days I think, maybe six. It was a long time ago. We left our vehicle at the park, and then hitch-hiked back there from Unicoi when we stumbled out of the woods.

    Since that time I've been back to north Georgia many times, spent many vacations camping in the area and riding around on the forest roads in my jeep. I've been to the trail head by way of the forest road and the parking area. That parking lot drop-off isn't anything remotely convenient for someone to leave a loved one standing, and then find their way back to asphalt pavement. So yes, I agree with the idea that it's much easier for your mom to take you to the park instead of the official trail head.

    About five years ago, I took my wife back to Amicalola Falls to camp. We packed for an over-nighter and went up the approach trail to camp by the bronze plaque on the summit of Springer Mountain. So, I've walked the approach trail up to the start of the AT twice. I don't recall any instruction about taking stairs. I went through the arch and up the switch-backs behind the visitor center. It still lead to the top of the falls.

    I read all the replies to this topic. I thought I'd add my impressions of what's been said so far.

    I guess some of the folks reading this discussion would not have ever been to Amicalola Falls State Park. The park exists for it's own merits and is only coincidently near the AT. The area used to be remote, but now it's really just the back yard for metro Atlanta. Hikers may have invested a lot of time and effort in planning a AT backpack. Some of them don't see the park or approach trail as a legitimate part of the AT. There's a few posted comments above mine that strike me that way. They don't impress me as having a good attitude about backpacking in general. But again, I just got here.

    I've always considered the approach trail as part of the Appalachian Trail system. I've always considered it THE way to get to the AT. I guess I can understand a difference of opinion. I would always recommend it as the way to plan a big hike. And for someone like me who doesn't like to feel hurried, it would take up my whole day "one".

    I'd bet the really experienced participants of this forum know very well that many novice backpackers take way too much load. I think a reason that the approach trail has a reputation (apparently) is because so many green hikers have their first experiences, with a heavy pack, on this section. Maybe some of them have only a romantic idea of what a multi-day (multi-week) walk in north Georgia is going to be. Maybe some of them don't really have the disposition to enjoy the actual doing. And as I recall, you start ascending immediately and continue that for the whole route to the plaque. If you're going to have a problem with gear, boots, or conditioning, or attitude, you'll very likely find out right away.

    For me, both back then when I was a young man, and later with my wife in middle age, the bronze plaque bolted to the granite outcrop....that says you've arrived at the terminus of the Appalachian Trail....is really cool. I bet nearly everyone has their picture taken there, standing with their hiking staff, looking out at the peaks in the distance. My old pictures have me looking a little worn out, but proud of my effort to get there.

  17. #117
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherrill View Post
    So, for you purists, think about this: If you ride up FS42 and hike the .9 to Springer, you actually start hiking the AT at the parking lot.
    Purists have no issue with hiking parts of the trail twice, we have issue with not hiking parts of the trail at all!

  18. #118
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    Default Sanctimonious Approach Trail People

    The approach trail is for suckers.

    If you want to count trails that aren't the AT as the AT, we should start counting all the miles I walked home from bars. And all the library visits I made to town. And all the long treks for water. And that time I got lost in PA. Why not count the shakedown hike I did in New Mexico? I also ran from the cops once when I was in college. That should definitely count.

    I would worry about walking the AT if your goal is to walk the AT. The not AT isn't really the AT.

    -The Face NOBO 2011

  19. #119
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quite a straw man you created there The Face.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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