Originally Posted by louisfb
If we went in April it would need to be the second week. April 7 - 11th. Not sure I could drive all night Sat night and hike Sunday but we could always meet there Sunday at Amicolola Falls State Park. ($5 to park you car in a safe lot) Doing the approach trail from the state park to the top of Springer where the AT starts would add an extra day but save a $50 shuttle fee. Springer to Neels is 32 miles. Figure 10 miles a day would be good on this part of the trail.
Pulled my Pocket Profile of the area, and it looks like it wouldn't be too hard to do in a 3 to 4 day trip. Figure the approach trail (which, admittedly, I've heard bad things about; it's ~2000 ft of climb in eight miles or so) would be the first day (Sunday), ending at Springer. Honestly, I'd prefer to eat the $50 and just take the shuttle to the top, but...
Day two (Monday) we'd be able to either go to Hawk Mt. Shelter (7.8 miles), Justus Creek (13.8 miles), or Gooch Mountain (15.1 miles). Personally, I'd vote for Justus Creek; it seems pretty easily doable, especially after a day to stretch my legs first.
Assuming we start at Justus Creek on day three (Tuesday), we could hike to Gooch Mountain Shelter (1.3 miles), Woods Hole Shelter (13.2 miles), Slaughter Creek (13.7 miles), or Blood Mountain Shelter (no water; 14.5 miles). Personally, I'd vote for Slaughter Creek, as it has water and is the smallest hike out on day four (Wednesday).
Assuming we start at Slaughter Creek on day four (Wednesday), we would have a 3.3 mile hike to Neels Gap and then either get in the car (if parking is available at the Byron Reece trail head and we shuttle from one car to the other on the first day), call a shuttle (not sure who offers them there), or possibly get parking at Goose Creek Campground and then hike the 3.5 mile road walk down to retrieve the car.
If we skip the approach trail and start at Springer, our options change a bit.
The first day (Sunday), we can do a short hike to Three Forks campground (4.3 miles, mostly downhill), Hawk Mountain shelter (7.8 miles), or Justus Creek (13.8 miles). Personally, I'd vote for Hawk Mountain, just to get our legs under us and ensure that we have enough daylight after shuttling cars and such.
Assuming we start at Hawk Mountain, day two (Monday) has the options of Justus Creek (6 miles), Gooch Mountain (7.3 miles), Gooch Gap (8.7 miles), Woody Gap (12.3 miles), or Jarrard Gap (17.9 miles). Personally, I'd vote for Gooch Gap or one of the mountains directly thereafter (to avoid the traffic flowing through Woody Gap)--the issue is that my Pocket Profile is showing a stretch without water from Gooch Gap to Woody Gap. Don't know if you want to camp away from water or not.
Assuming we start at Gooch Gap on day three (Tuesday), we could hike to Woods Hole Shelter (10.5 miles), Slaughter Creek (11 miles), Blood Mountain Shelter (no water; 11.8 miles), Flatrock Gap (13.2 miles), or even Neels Gap (14.2 miles) itself.
Anyway, that's what it looks like right now. Thoughts?