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PeterS - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2012

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Peter Shaw
City: Rancho Palos Verdes
State: Ca
Country: US
Begins: Mar 21, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Mar 21st, 2012
Daily Distance: 16
Trip Distance: 16.0
Entry Lat: 34.653
Entry Lng: -84.034

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 849
Journal Visits: 49,061
Guestbook Views: 4,751
Guestbook Entrys: 94

Last PLB Location

Appalachian Trail Map

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The Start at Springer Mountain

Day 1

It was an uneventful trip out to Georgia - a little bumpy with the unsettled weather but nothing for this seasoned air traveler to worry about. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the temperature in Atlanta - it was in the low 80's and a little on the humid side. I made my way across the city on the metro and was picked up right on time by the hostel shuttle. It was a very nice hostel and the package was incredible because it included the ride from Atlanta, bed and breakfast, and then the ride to the trail, thereby solving all the logistical problems in one stroke. There were about 17 of us at the hostel, all planning on starting Wednesday morning. The biggest surprise was that the evening before I left I got a call from Hurricane who I started the CDT with last year. That morning I'd sent an email to him and other friends in New Zealand telling them about my upcoming trip. So I couldn't believe it when Hurricane tells me he has just arrived in Atlanta to start the AT and he found out from the hostel that I was arriving the next day. He said he just decided to do the AT on the spur of the moment so we both started the trail together this morning - just like the CDT.

Before leaving LA I had been looking through some of this year's AT journals and saw one from a girl who was coming over from England. Once we got going on the shuttle the driver told us he had to pick up one more hiker from a local hotel. As soon as she said something I knew she was English so I asked her if her trail name was Button and it was - the same girl whose journal I had read. Quite a coincidence - this surely is going to be a very social trail.

The shuttle ride was quite long over a forest road most of the way. We were dropped off at the parking lot and had to walk back up the trail nearly a mile to get to the summit of Springer Mountain - the official starting point for the AT. I was up there about 10:00 am but it took 20 minutes to send out my Spot message. While waiting I took a few photos and signed the trail register.

For the first couple of hours it was a real gentle trail but there were few, if any, photo opportunities as the trail was in the trees all the time including on the summits of the mountains. Then it got a little tougher with a nearly 700 ft climb to the top of Sassafras Mountain followed closely afterwards with a 300 ft climb up Justus Mountain. After those climbs I was starting to feel a little on the tired side and when Hurricane and I reached Gooch Mountain shelter we decided to call it a day. The camp sites were all taken but there was actually room in the shelter itself. So I decided to give it a try. I'll tell you about the experience tomorrow.

There was a hiker there who was celebrating her 50th birthday and she celebrated with a miniature of American whisky. Her trail name was Mouse but I've no idea how that came about. A little later she was telling the group that she had forgotten her headphones so she could not listen to her iPod. I grabbed my free ones from American Airlines and gave them to her as a birthday present. She thought I was joking at first but when I convinced her I was serious because I carried them but never used them she was overjoyed. It made my day.

That's about it for first day highlights.

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Journal Photo

Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Part Trois

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more:


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