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Day 1: Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center (Mile -8.8) to Long Creek (Mile 4.7); 13.5 miles

Periodically on the Pacific Crest Trail we crossed paths with an energetic guy named Young Geezer. It turns out that Young Geezer and his wife Patricia live in Atlanta near the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus. They offered to be our first AT trail angels. They were awesome. Yesterday they picked us up at the train station, shared a big dinner with us, and let us stay in their spare bedroom. Today they not only drove us to the Appalachian Approach Trail, but hiked the first few miles with us.

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We signed in at the Amicalola Falls State Park visitor center as AT thru hikers #351 and 352 for 2013. Then we set out on the 8.8 mile approach trail to the official beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

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We soon passed Amicalola Falls, towering and gorgeous. The 604 steps to reach the top of the falls were a reminder that thru hiking is breathtaking in both senses of the word. Our hearts were pounding by the top, but we were thrilled to be out hiking again.

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The wind was fierce and at times quite chilly. Spring had not yet arrived in Georgia’s mountains. The trees were bare which allowed long views of rolling hills fading to blue in the distance.

In the afternoon we reached Springer Mountain, the official start of the Appalachian Trail. This photo shows our first white blaze with a plaque describing the trail as “A footpath for those who seek fellowship with the wilderness.”

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We continued to follow the AT’s white rectangular blazes past numerous creeks and over forested hillsides. Winter’s chill was visible in the form of icicles clinging to rocks.

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In the evening we set up camp, met a few other thru hikers, journaled, and reflected on our first day on the AT. It felt good to be back outdoors, relaxed and aware, especially after so much intense work on the book over the last five months. Our legs felt strong and our muscles eager to walk. The creek’s gentle flow and the rhythmic croaks of frogs urged us to sleep.

See Our Location

Every day (if cell service allows) we’ll update our location on an online map. Click “Tracking” in our blog’s navigation menu to follow our progress.

52 comments

  1. It’s good hear you guys got off to a great start. A couple of weeks ago my son and I did an over night trip from Springer Mtn. to Hawk Mountain Shelter. We met some really great people at the shelter. They were all starting their thru-hikes as well. I think you guys will be in great company on the trail. Safe travels.

  2. I thought you would wait for warmer weather! You are brave and well-equipped in all senses. . We’ll be eagerly reading your blogs and enjoying the vicarious pleasures of being in wilderness. Travel safely.

  3. So awesome to see the beginning of your journey! Would love to be trail angels for you in VT. We met Young Geezer in NoCal, but that spry fellow was WAY too speedy for us! So cool that you were able to meet up. We are excited to watch your progress!

    -Shivers & BAM

  4. All of the above! We are soooo jealous, but wish you the best and look forward to your reports..
    We celebrated our anniversary on Mt. Hood this past weekend and were close to the PCT and thought of you two and the beginning of another adventure.

  5. Awesome! I hope you both have a great trip! I’m super jealous, but thankfully I’ll be heading out for my own hike in just a few weeks. So not as jealous was I would be. Have an amazing hike!

  6. North Star and Shutterbug, we’ll go with you the easy way again — via the blog — and hope for another spectacular book after the AT like “Pacific Crest Trail- a Journey in Photographs”.

  7. Congratulations, Anna and Chris. You are doing it! This one will be easier in terms of elevation gain and altitude. I hiked a few miles of it through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia back in the late 1970s and 1980s, and actually stayed in some of the cabins built by residents who were evicted when the land became Shenandoah National Park. When you go through Shenandoah National Park, be sure to climb Old Rag mountain for a great view.

  8. Yay! . How wonderful for you two to be off again and see spring come to the southern Appalaichans. The spring bird songs will be lovely i hope. All the best for another wonderful journey. And thank you so much for going to the effort to share your experiences with us. The book has been shared at work and all find it wonderful. We will get another map started on the cubicle wall to help remind us of what we are working for. Cheers!

  9. Safe travels you two! Jim and I are thinking of you and look forward to your blog posts! Happy trails! Xoxo

  10. Have a great hike. Morel mushrooms have already been reported in Georgia – probabably lower elevation. Google to see what they look like. Once you find them slice them in half vertically. If they are completely hollow from top through the stem, they are edible cooked & delicious. Saute in butter with salt & pepper. Enjoy!

  11. Yippee! Have fun out there! We will be stalking you as you get closer to the smokies, especially just after Easter weekend when we hope to do trail magic with my folks, who we gave a copy of your book to! Have fun!

  12. Howdy, Shutterbug and North Star! You guys passed by me on those stairs like the wind on Wednesday morning. When I was huffing and puffing, taking a break on the stairs, I could see that bright green jacket getting closer and closer. lol. My brother and I met ya’ll again at Justice Creek as we were getting water on the second day and you gave us your cards. We were doing a from Amicalola to Neels.

    Just want to say good luck to ya’ll. Enjoy each and every mile, and approach every mile as fresh as the first one with renewed vigor.

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