Just a quick trip report on my first section hike on the AT! Hammock style!
Arrived Monday night and the Amicalola Falls visitor center was closed so signed in at the after-hours board. The steps on the approch trail really get your attention! Great views of the falls and mountains with the fall colors. Very excited to be there.
Only made about 3 miles the first night and set up camp with my GT Nano and WL Tadpole tarp. Awesome weather in the 50s but coyotes howling all night kept waking me up!
On Tue had a great hike and was suprised to walk up to the plaque so soon. Hung out awhile and talked to the others there. The weather rolled in around dark and hung on the side of a hill in Horse Gap by a road used by huge Army trucks. Rained off and on all night and only had a few drips. Need to seam seal a few more spots but was happy with the tarp and d-rings.
Packed up Wed in the windy rain and hiked to Gooch shelter for lunch. The rain then stopped but still cold! Got hazed alittle by 6 sobo thru hikers but that was fine. They were making time! Camped at Miller Gap and got to 39f but was toasty in my WM Summerlite and WL down 3/4 UQ (thanks AScott!)
Thur morn hiked to Wood's Hole shelter for lunch and to get out of the freezing wind! Could not belive how far off the trail it was. Blood Mnt had a good dusting of snow and was very fun to see but some other hikers were bummed out. Very cold but really enjoyed the hike. Was excited to get to Neels gap and just hang out for lunch and look around. Best $3.50 hot shower I've ever had and the bunk house was set-up nice. Very clean. I've read about it and seen it in the '2000 Miles to Maine' dvd. Everyone there was really nice too.
It was only 2pm so did not want to quit hiking so got Ron the shuttle guy to take me back to the top of Springer. This time I had a camera and got some pics. Hiked back to Black Gap shelter and camped up the trail. Only got down to 39f this time and the sun woke me up in the am.
Friday for fun took the Hike-Inn trail to check that out. Neat place. LOTS of day hikers on Friday and they don't care who sees them poop in the woods. Walked up on 2 different people in the act! How about walking OFF the trail a ways people!
Made it back to the visitor center to look around. Tried to take a shower there but the on/off handle came off in my hand and got soaked in cold water just like some bad Chevy Chase movie!
Super fun trip and talked to lots of nice people. The shelters were cool and the trail well marked. This was a shake down for my 2012 thru and was very happy all the gear worked out great. Only one small rub on the back of one foot. Was glad to hike in the cold/rain/snow as I have not been able to test that yet and found I'm fine with it. Was easy to find nice trees to hang from too.
Looking forward to doing Neels to NC next time before doing the whole thing in 2012!
Some extra notes...
There is LOTS of trash at some of the shelters. Two had huge kitchen bags full of trash hanging from the bear cables.
Meet several people that had bad blisters after only a few miles and one dude who got sick and was in trouble on the second day. Out of water and a huge pack. Others could not do the cold and wanted to go home.
Water was dry in places but still was able to find enough no problem.
Only saw one deer and 3 grouse. (we don't have these in my part of SC). Owls hooting every night was cool too.
Here's some pics... http://s936.photobucket.com/albums/ad206/SnakeSession/