Well, summer is upon us and those of us that are looking for some time in the wilderness will most likely do so on foot.
People are talking about hiking and camping and backpacking since the coming of the warmer weather in most of the southern states lately. But have you ever thought about hiking a portion of the Appalachian trail?
The southern terminus of the trail is located in beautiful Amicalola Falls state park outside the historical town of Dahlonega Georgia.
But this is not the beginning of the Appalachian Trail, in fact you have to climb this incline of a trail all the way to the top of Springer Mountain where you will find the trails beginning. Some of this part of the trail has steep grades of at least 25 percent, so there is no doubt that most hikers of the AT skip this portion called the Access Trail.
Once you reach the summit of Spring Mountain you will see in the rock a little metal marker. This marker tells you that you are at the summit of the mountain and then you see it…the white blaze. The first white blaze of the AT can be see here on the rocks as well as one of the trees. But before you start off down the trail take a moment and rest at the newly built Springer Mountain Appalachian Trail shelter. This is the first shelter you will encounter on the actual AT.
Fresh mountain spring water
According to what time of year you are hiking there will most likely be plenty of water along the whole stretch of this 78 mile section. If you are hiking on a spring time, all the snow in the area is just melting, so there should be an plenty of fresh mountain spring water. This water is actually pure and filters through sedimentary of limestone and sand as well as other porous rock found in the North Georgia Mountains.
So you will not have to worry about carrying extra weight in water. Just bring two water bottles and keep them filled from the springs that you will notice often in this area. Along every step of the way you will see that there is also an excess of wild life in this area. There is no shortage of delicious berries and even some wild herbs that can be made into a warming tea.
Know the Plants
We suggest, that before you set out on your hike, you purchase and bring with you a book about the wild edible plants in this area of the trail.
A hiker that can live off the land will surely have a more enjoyable and meaningful trip.
Shelters along the Route
About every 5-7 miles of the trail there will be what are called AT hikers’ shelters where you can stop to rest, eat lunch or even stay for the night and rest as you plan your next day in your AT journal.
There is so much to see and learn out on the Appalachian Trail, it is truly an experience that you will never forget. Once you are on the trail you will quickly see that it is a place that is not attached to society or civilization in any way. There are different rules out on the trail, you are no longer be at the top of the food chain so please be careful.
Once you realize that you can live side by side with nature and all that lives in nature you will be so much more relaxed on the trail. Take the time to see the sights, don’t just hike on by as fast as you can. Many hikers make this mistake thinking they have to finish the trail at a certain time, this is far from the truth and will only limit your experience on the trail. Keep hiking and have fun!
For more information:
Read about thousands of AT hikers experiences online
The official site of the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservatory)
Map of the whole Appalachian Trail