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  1. #1
    Senior Member L84toff's Avatar
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    AT section hike GA Q's

    Hey all, wife and I are planning on section hiking the AT section of the AT in 3 weeks (May 7-14, 8 days of hiking). Everything I read says hike back to your car, so the plan is to arrive at Amicalola Falls State Park on Mon May 6th, stay overnight and catch a shuttle to somewhere on the NC side of the AT GA/NC border and hike back.

    We're both very stoked about this trip and I was just about to book a night at the lodge but I thought it would be better to do the lodge at the end of the trip rather than the start. I'm hoping some knowledgeable members can help answer a few questions (or offer any general advice):

    1. Camping at the AFSP, any issues with hanging? Is there any specific sites to book/ask for (if that's possible)?

    2. Anyone here on HF offer shuttle service from the falls to the GA/NC border?

    3. Temps for this section during first couple of weeks of May? I'm trying to decide on which UQ's to pack for this section. 20* full length or a 40* Phoenix (3/4 length). I know this is a personal one to answer, I guess I'm wondering what all y'all have done or what you would take?

    This is essentially a shake down hike for us for next years thru-hike.

  2. #2
    dakotaross's Avatar
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    If this is a shakedown for the thru, then I would take both quilts, with the purpose of seeing how you do with the Phoenix only, and then having the other just in case. If you're only going to take one, then I'd suggest the full-length 20 just because there is always the threat of lows near freezing through early June. Most likely, low temps will be in the high 40s, but you won't be too warm with the bigger quilt.

    I think staying at the lodge the last night is a great idea. Not sure about the AFSP campground, but I can't imagine it being an issue if you can find a site with trees. Might stay at the shelter at the bottom of the approach trail (0.1m past the arch)... not in the shelter, of course, but should be plenty of trees around. Another option for that first night is the Hiker Hostel which runs shuttles.

    http://www.hikerhostel.com/index.php
    "If I weren't so weird, I wouldn't be so normal" -- scope

  3. #3
    Member Trudge's Avatar
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    GA AT in May

    Temps should start to get moderate by then, but rain and wind are more of the wild card. SOBO from Winding stair or Deep gap/NC should be a good 8 day hump. Note the Bearbag/fire restriction around blood mountain. If you call the store at the AFSP they have a list of shuttles and prices.

  4. #4
    Senior Member L84toff's Avatar
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    AT section hike GA Q's

    That's great. Thanks for the replies. Quilt wise I'm currently thinking about picking up a 20* Phoenix for the thru, I like the smaller form factor when packed but love the toast(iness) of the full 20*. I realize I could simply send one home and have the smaller one shipped when the weather warms up (during the thru), just not sure it will be worth the hassle for the amount of time it will be hot at night.

    I was hoping to get away with the Phoenix but will bring the full Zeppelin instead for this trip, I suspected as much. Not enough room for both the UQ's in the bag.

    Bear canister is mandatory only for about 5 miles there iirc so we'll stay on either side of there.

    I'll check the link and store in the morning. Wife and I did 25.5km today on the Bruce Trail (our mini version of the AT here at home with 885km in total length) with total elevation gain of 2600m (today not the entire trail). That's the longest she's done so far. We're not only trying to get into trail shape but also want to see what's going to be realistic for us to do on the AT over only 8 days.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Senior Member L84toff's Avatar
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    Deep Gap is actually where we were thinking of starting. After some discussion I think we're going to stay at the lodge the first night also. We have a 13hr drive just to get there and the Mrs. said something about wanting to shower before heading out for several days

  6. #6
    dakotaross's Avatar
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    shower

    Quote Originally Posted by L84toff View Post
    ...the Mrs. said something about wanting to shower before heading out for several days
    Unlucky bugs!

    But seriously, I doubt you'll find bugs to be an issue in the Ga mountains.

    Ya know, if you're thinking of taking the Phoenix on your thru, and you can only take one now, then I'm thinking you get more out of this "shakedown" trip if you take only the Phoenix and just see how it does. Chances are good it will be fine, but you'll want to be prepared in other ways that you can. Hot water bottle works wonders, just might have to be prepared to fire up the stove during the night, which is totally worth doing by the way. You just want to have everything ready to go so you're not fumbling around for stuff.

    That way, this trip should give you a real good idea of how low you can take the Phoenix, and that will help with figuring your initial gear and start date, and then potential gear switchouts.
    "If I weren't so weird, I wouldn't be so normal" -- scope

  7. #7

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    1. No issues with hanging at the AFSP campsite - last Fall, anyway.

    2. Shuttles - Joyce Monroe and Sally Smith 706-896-9339. Prompt and safe.

    The Lodge has a good buffet, so you'll hit the trail stuffed.

  8. #8
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Shuttles - Joyce Monroe and Sally Smith 706-896-9339. Prompt and safe.
    ditto..very nice ladies. used them twice last summer.

    My wife and I plan to be section hiking about the same time. As the wife has bad shoulders and can only carry a small day pack we plan to stay at the Hikers Hostel and let them shuttle us to and from the days hiking sections.

    As wife has not been to Springer before we will start there and work our way north.

    If plans change then I will be going by self backpacking and will see how far I can get in a week. Figure about 10 -15 miles a day but I will be happy with what ever distance I can cover.

    Plan to get to Murphy NC while I am up there as there is a BBQ place I have to try (Herbís Pit BBQ)
    Merchants Mill Pond SP Swamp Hang

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    Warbonnet BB 1.7 and a whole lot of other great gear from the vendors on HF

  9. #9
    Senior Member L84toff's Avatar
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    I actually remember checking out the Hiker Hostel before but it just seems like an unnecessary additional cost of getting picked back up at Amicalola to go back to the HH.

    Thanks for the # and plug for Joyce and Sally, will definitely check them out.

    @ dakotaross - that's an excellent point about bringing just the Phoenix. We were discussing that last night. I will keep an eye on the weather reports and see what's been happening just before we leave. If it's around 40* overnight, then we should be good with that. I used the hot water bottle trick on an overnight here at home once, put it right between my thighs (femoral artery) and was roasting in the hammock, I was stunned at how much heat I got from that. That with either our sit pads or a relectix pad for the legs should keep us toasty.

  10. #10
    Scout620's Avatar
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    I'll be doing a 4 day GA AT shake down hike May 3-6 in prep for a SOBO thru hike starting July 1. I like your plan to end at the Lodge. Never stayed there but I've heard it is very nice.
    Shuttle: You may want to start with the Lodge and see if they offer a shuttle service and will let you leave your car on their property while you hike 800-573-9656.

    I used Joyce and Sally last June for a section hike from Springer to Unicoi Gap.
    You can park your car at their house in Hiawassee and they will shuttle you north or south to start your hike and will pick you up at the end and bring you back to your car. (I compared their prices with 3 other services and all were within $10+-). I will use their service again this year and highly recommend them.

    Enjoy your hike!

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